Fuel your run

24/08/2018 Tomatos and pasta

The food you eat before, during and after exercise can have a significant impact on your performance and recovery time. On the day of the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run you want to be able to relax, enjoy yourself and do your best without worrying about hunger pains, stomach cramps, additional bathroom trips or feeling sick.

We’ve put together the following plan so that you can get the energy you need to get the best result possible.


Dinner the night before should be a carbohydrate based meal – something with pasta, rice, or other wholegrains. However, don’t go overboard, you don’t need to carb load for a 5 or 10k run.

A good rule to follow when planning your meals is to fill half your plate with vegetables and legumes, one quarter with grains and then the remaining quarter with lean protein.

It’s a good idea to avoid spicy foods and things high in fat (cheeses, cream or anything deep fried) as these can take longer to digest and leave you with a heavy feeling in the morning. And don’t make any drastic diet changes the night before or the day of race. If you’ve never eaten flaxseed, the 24 hours leading up to your race is not the time to try it for the first time. You don’t want to be bloated or worse during your run.

The following recipe is a simple yet delicious dish that will please even the fussiest eaters. Plus it tastes great hot or cold.

Tomato + Basil Pasta

450g pasta, wholegrain

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 punnets of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

Large broccoli head, chopped into small florets

Handful chopped fresh basil

Handful chopped flat-leaf parsley

50g of pine nuts

Ground black pepper

100g of feta



  1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Gently dry roast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add pinenuts to a large serving bowl once they start to change colour and become aromatic.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan over a low heat, and gently saute the garlic for 2 -3 minutes (be careful not to overcook).
  5. Scrape garlic into serving bowl.
  6. Return pan to heat, increasing to medium, and saute the tomatoes and broccoli for 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat and leave aside.
  7. Drain the pasta, add to the serving bowl and stir through the remaining oil (adding extra if needs be). Add the tomato and broccoli mixture and the chopped basil and parlsey to the serving bowl and gently toss until mixed evenly through pasta.
  8. Season with pepper to taste, and top with a sprinkling of feta cheese.


If you want additional protein you can add chicken – see recipe below.

Lemon Chicken breast

2 chicken breasts sliced into strips


3 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken for 30 mins – 2hrs in the fridge
  2. Saute in pan for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear.




Try and eat 1 – 2 hours before you start, and keep it light.  A simple breakfast is best – avoid anything new or thinking you need an extra-large breakfast to boost your performance – it may leave you feeling sluggish or nauseous. Some simple ideas include:

  • Cereal with berries and banana
  • Porridge with raw nuts and fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter



Don’t drink too much water on event morning! This could lead to feeling sick and needing a bathroom stop at the wrong time.

A better approach is to focus on your hydration levels in the days leading up to the run. Drink small amounts frequently every day.

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