Eric Heinrich is the executive chef at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, which was sold out and filled, at least up to 60% of its guests, with Boston marathon runners. Heinrich set breakfast and dinner menus for the runners, some of who have returned since the bombings in 2013. “You experience something like that, it’s, ‘What can I do to help you?'” says Heinrich. “Our guests become like our families. Something like the 2013 bombings changes everything.” These are Heinrich’s ideas for eating well at your race, whenever and wherever it is.
11. Vegetables are healthy, yes. However, they don’t offer long-lasting energy. Hence the phenomenon runners love: carbo-load. Eat your veggies. But make sure you’re adding protein to the mix. A carrot alone does not win the race.
10. Bananas, bananas, bananas. For the most bang for your buck, think bananas. It’s a good source of potassium, easy to digest, and your body processes it slowly—perfect for the marathon.
9. Baked potatoes are terrific. Here’s a tip, salt it and add olive oil to the skin before putting it in the oven. And cook it directly on the rack. The night before race day? Easy on the sour cream. A dab won’t hurt. But keep perspective.
8. Two biggest mistakes people make with pasta: a) they don’t salt the water; b) they don’t use enough water. When your pasta is sticky and clumpy, that’s a sign that you didn’t use enough water. Don’t be stingy. Soak that stuff.
7. Don’t overthink it. Rice, oatmeal, bananas, pasta. Not too many garnishes. Nothing spicy. Nothing to upset your stomach. Easy on the sour cream. Eat clean and eat light.
6. Going to bed early? Eat well before bedtime. If you’re racing early in the morning, eat dinner early. Give the food time to move through your system, get absorbed.
5. Breakfast, too. Eat two to three hours before your race. And eat the stuff that you’re used to. Bagel with peanut butter, generally, is perfect.
4. Oatmeal’s a grain, a perfect breakfast on race day. Basically, oatmeal is oatmeal is oatmeal, but stay away from the instant packets that offer sweeteners and artificial fruit. I add a little milk to steel-cut oatmeal, then add berries. You don’t need sugar if you use real fruit.
3. Anxiety eating before race day is common. My go-to snack? Almonds. They’re delicious. High in protein and high in fibre. Eat almonds if you’re going to snack. Or something like it. The trick is staying away from candy.
2. Peanut butter is great!
1. Know your limits and concentrate. Don’t eat too much or too little and eat slowly, be calm, and enjoy. Last thing to remember: barley and hops are good for the races, but not in the form of beer. . . until at least after the race.