Preparing for a 5K: How and What to Eat Before the Race

Last week, we shared some tips on how to begin preparing for a 5K. Today, we offer advice on the best foods to eat as you prepare for a 5K. Remember–the Mother Seton School Fall 5K Run/Walk is just around the corner!

Fall 5K RunBW

Join us for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk on Nov 8th. Visit http://bit.ly/MSS5K2014 for more information & to register!

Conventional wisdom has it that “carb-loading” is the best method for athletes-in-training to prepare for a race or other competition. While it’s true that runners need a full tank of energy, carb-loading is actually not the way to go about it. Too many carbs can have the unintended effect of slowing you down, especially if you pack them all in the day before a race.

Runners should instead aim to eat whole-grain and complex carbohydrate-rich foods in the weeks leading up to the race. A steady diet of moderate carb intake will provide the energy you need the day of the race, particularly if you are running a 5K, which does not require the energy and endurance that a marathon would. Livestrong.com recommends adults eat 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body fat each day, which would equal 480 grams of carbohydrates  for a 160-lb person. And make those carbs count–avoid starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, which eat into your carb allowance but don’t provide the same nutritional boost that oats or whole-grain pasta do.

As the race nears, you can increase your carb intake to store more energy away, but again, be mindful of the types of carbs you ingest. Food with a moderate to high glycemic index help your body release energy slowly and steadily.

A healthy yogury parfait with organic granola, blueberries and raspberriesOn the day of the race, eat a light, healthy breakfast at least three to four hours prior to start time. Yes, that may mean getting up extra early; but, this will allow your body enough time to break down the nutrients and start releasing those energy stores for endurance. Small amounts of caffeine may help improve your overall performance, but the small benefit should be weighed against the risk of dehydration or stomach issues. Do not consume energy drinks like Monster or Red Bull before a race. These drinks can increase your heart rate dangerously and dehydrate you. Your best bet is to stick with cold cereals, fruits, and whole-grain toast. Add a small amount of protein, like yogurt, cottage cheese, or a scrambled egg. And avoid high-fat foods, which will hamper digestion.

Of course, remember to stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it! For a 5K, it should be enough to stick to the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Once the race is over, your body will need some recovery time. You can help yourself by eating within the first 30 minutes to help your muscles rebuild their energy stores that were depleted during the race. Protein bars, a whole-grain bagel smeared with peanut butter, or fruits can help give your body that post-race boost it needs. A few hours after the race, you’ll probably want a more substantial meal. But take it easy–don’t fill up on high-fat and simple sugars.

Happy Running!

For a sample menu of what to eat before a 5K, check out this 5K Meal Plan from Women’s Running.

It’s not too late! Register for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk by October 31st to receive your tee-shirt!

Helpful Tips to Prepare for a 5K

Have you wanted to run a 5K, but didn’t know where to begin? Or has it been a while since you last donned your Asics for a jog, and you want to get back into it? Bridget McCarthy, an MSS parent and organizer of the annual MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk, offers this advice for beginners and those out of practice. Just in time for the 5K on November 8th!

5K-tips.1The best way to begin preparing for a 5K is to start with run/walk intervals. It is tempting to just go out and start running when you’ve decided on a 5K. You’re excited and it’s a beautiful fall day, and you may even feel good the first time out. But you’ll soon realize that running doesn’t feel so good.

The best plan to feel stronger, run longer, and stay injury-free is to add short bouts of slow running to your regular walks and gradually increase the amount of time you spend running. Start with 1 minute of running to 4 minutes of walking. (i.e. run for one full minute, walk for four, then run again for one minute, followed by four minutes of walking, and so on.) Slowly increase the time spent running over the next couple weeks until you are running/walking about 50/50. If you continue to be injury-free (sore muscles are to be expected, but there should be no real pain anywhere) continue to do more running than walking. Don’t be discouraged if, after a while, you are still including walking intervals in your runs. Walking is always a good way to take a break during a running workout, even during a race. The important thing to remember is that you’re out there doing it. That’s half the race right there!

Have fun!

To register online for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk, which includes a 100m Kid Dash, visit bit.ly/MSS5K2014. A small processing fee applies. For more information or to register via mail, visit our website.

October 7th: Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Oct7th-titlepicIn Catholic culture, October has historically been dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Rosary has been one of our most cherished devotions for centuries, and is an integral part of prayer life. So important is the Rosary that St. Pope Pius V attributes the 16th-Century Christian victory over Muslim forces to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, who was invoked by the faithful in Europe through meditation on the Holy Rosary. He declared October 7th to be Feast Day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and nearly five hundred years later it is still celebrated.

One of the many positives about being a Catholic School is that our students are taught the Rosary at an early age. In fact, during the May Procession, the school as a whole recites the Rosary together. It is a unifying force; imagine the power of millions of people all over the world praying the Mysteries of the Rosary together!

St. Pope John Paul II had a particular affinity for the Holy Rosary. In declaring October 2002-October 2003 the Year of the Rosary, he wrote:

“To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ…With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer…But the most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery…”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen testified to the importance of the Rosary as a part of our daily life, not to be relegated to nostaliga or mere tradition:

“The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.”

On this feast day, we encourage you to gather with your family to contemplate the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Here are a few resources to help you along:

How to Pray the Rosary

Printable Rosary Prayer Sheets

Make Your Own Rosary

Mysteries of the Rosary Coloring Pages

6 Reasons for Teaching Children the Rosary

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear

October is filled with many notable Feast Days. Today, October 2nd, is just such one. It is the Feast of the Guardian Angels.

Many of us learned this prayer when we were just babes, and our children probably recite it at bedtime. It’s a great little prayer to help ease your child’s anxiety over fear of the dark or storms, or bad dreams.guardian-angel-prayer

It’s also an important reminder of God’s love and how He sends his protectors to watch over us, to guide and nurture us. How many times have we come close to tragedy, only to inexplicably escape from harm? How often have we felt a word of caution advising us to “do this” or “don’t do that”? That’s our guardian angels watching over us. Pope Francis reminds us,

“How is my relationship with my guardian angel? Do I listen to him? Do I say good morning to him? Do I ask him to watch over me when I sleep? No one journeys alone and no one should think that they are alone.”

If it’s been a while since you’ve spoken with your Guardian Angel, today is the perfect day to say hello and thank you.

For ideas on how to celebrate this day, see Lacy’s post at Catholic Icing: 10 Ways to Celebrate