The New York Marathon is this weekend, and tens of thousands of people are preparing to race through the five boroughs then collapse in a heap of exhausted accomplishment.
Hopefully these marathoners are fueling up their bodies to take on the 26.2 miles with the right stuff, so you neither run out of gas nor make yourself sick.
I talked to a previous New York Marathon runner, who also happens to be my husband, who emphasizes the need for carbs the night before the race and a little bit of protein. He cautions, "You don't want Indian food." In other words, nothing that's going to make you drop your pants in the middle of the race and poop in front of the thousands of fans cheering you on. Nope, you definitely don't want that.
The New York Road Runners host a spaghetti dinner for all the runners the night before the race, but if you want to stay home, here are some recipes to prepare you for the big day.
Amy, a 2010 marathon runner, says she's having spaghetti and meatballs the night before the race. My favorite meatball recipe I adapted from a Real Simple recipe, using ground turkey instead of beef. It's lighter in your stomach and better for that heart that's going to be pumping so hard the next day.
What you'll need:
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 slice wheat bread, crust trimmed, torn into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large egg 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar pasta sauce, warmed
Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, onion, bread, garlic, egg, parsley, oil, Italian seasoning, salt, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs (about 1/3 cup each). Place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the ricotta and the remaining Parmesan and pepper; set aside. Remove the meatballs from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon a few teaspoons of the ricotta mixture onto each meatball. Broil until the ricotta browns, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve on top of the warmed pasta sauce.
One of my favorite chicken and pasta recipes that I also cook with tofu comes from All Recipes. Basil Chicken Over Angel Hair is simple, has fresh ingredients, and won't leave you with a swollen gut.
Rachael Ray also has a Chicken Picatta Toss recipe that keeps things simple and the flavors tasty without offending your digestion. Again, a tofu substitution for vegetarians is a great way to go.
My husband also gives this advice about eating the morning of the race:
"There are enough free samples at the beginning of the race, so don't bother eating breakfast. There are Power Bars and bagels galore."
And what do you eat afterward? "Whatever you want," he says. Although, he advises not overdoing it because you'll get sick. My husband had a cheeseburger and fries and it did not make him feel so hot. Although, admittedly, he didn't know if something lighter would have made a huge difference. "Basically, you're a mess after the marathon and there's nothing you can do."
Good luck on Sunday marathoners!
Image via Cameron Cassan/Flickr