This is a guest blog post written by Kaylee Jessen, Intern at Madonna. You can find more information about Madonna here.
How many times have you heard the words ‘carb-overload’ when talking about training for a race? Have you ever heard of fat loading? While carbohydrates are a nutritionally important part of training for a race, such as any in the Born & Raised in Nebraska (BRIN) series, other macronutrients, especially healthy fats, are also necessary. What are healthy fats? – Think of consuming equal amounts of omega 3s and omega 6s. Most of us consume too many omega-6s and struggle to get enough omega-3s. Good sources of these healthy fats include foods like nuts and nut butters, seeds, fish and full-fat dairy. Eating fast food or a bag of chips will not give you the same benefits!
Now that we have covered what we are talking about when we say fats, we can go into the benefits fats bring. Whether you are running a 10k for fun or for time, it is still important to make sure you are consuming the proper nutrients. You might be thinking that fats are what you should be avoiding leading up to a big race, but they are good for better fuel efficiency during long runs. This means that you will be burning fat for energy during part of your run which can result in less muscle fatigue. Fat loading has also been proven to reduce the risk of injuries among runners. More energy and fewer injuries, what more could a runner ask for?
In addition to benefits during the run, consuming more fat also helps reduce sugar cravings and high-fat foods (like those mentioned earlier) often are more nutrient dense than low-fat options. Many vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning that they need fat for them to fully absorb. So in order to get the most nutrients out of your pre and post-run meals, make sure to include healthy fats!
The most current research shows that the consumption of fat for anyone running a big race to be most beneficial 1-2 weeks prior to race day. Carb-loading the days leading up to the race is still recommended. Here’s to going further faster!