April 26, 2014 3:45 pm
Updated: April 26, 2014 3:57 pm

WATCH: What to eat before and after the Vancouver Sun Run


WATCH: Registered dietitian Desiree Nielson gives nutrition tips for runners

As thousands of runners prepare to lace up for tomorrow’s 30th annual Vancouver Sun Run, what they put in their bodies before, during and after the race can significantly affect their performance.

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Registered dietitian Desiree Nielson says nutrition training for runners should start with tonight’s dinner.

Nielson says because it is a 10-kilometer race, it is not necessary to consume massive amounts of carbohydrates.

“But you do need to up the proportion of healthy starchy food, which will help build the energy bank in your muscles for the run tomorrow.”

She recommends half of your plate should be covered with things like beans, quinoa, pasta, or starchy veggies.

Before you go to bed, a little fruit will give you carbohydrates for energy, but also anti-inflammatory chemicals to help muscles repair after the race.

When it comes to protein, Nielson says it is ok to have a small portion about the size of the palm of your hand.

In the morning, it is recommended runners stick to their usual breakfast routine.

“If you usually run on something small, perhaps a glass of organic soy milk and a little banana on the way will be enough so to not upset your stomach,” says Nielson. “But if you are used to eating something bigger, four hours before the race, you can have a full breakfast.”

Nielson says it is important to eat after the race to replenish the body’s nutrient storage.

“Your body is like a sponge for nutrition after the run.”

She says studies show that a bit of protein will help with the recovery. A post-run lunch containing curry and turmeric will help reduce inflammation.

A scoop of magnesium before bed will also help with muscle cramping.

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