MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All this week, we’re looking at what it takes to get ready to run in a race like the Twin Cities Marathon. It’s tough to run 26.2 miles and requires proper training in every aspect, not just running.

Training for these races is not something you can do in just one week. While folks are training their bodies, we found out that they should also be training their nutrition.

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We spoke with a registered dietitian who also runs half and full marathons to find out the dos and don’ts of race-day eating.

Christina Meyer-Jax said that week before a big race, you have to be intentional about what you’re putting in your body. A week before is when you really start thinking about the race, she said, so hydration is key. You want to make sure you’re getting enough carbohydrates and that you’re eating whole, real foods.

Runners should also not skip meals because you have to bulk up your body with as many nutrients that your body can take so that it’s ready and most prepared for the race.

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Meyer-Jax said the last thing you want is to spend months training and then have a stomach ache on race day. Runners should practice what they eat just as much as they practice running. Carbs are important because they are your muscles favorite form of fuel. But you don’t have to just eat pasta to carbo-load, you can have quinoa, which is high in fiber and protein, or rice and potates.

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich can also be a good pre, post or mid-run snack. She said other alternatives can include hot cereals or granola bars, it’s all about what works for each runner.

Meyer-Jax said race nutrition is personal and that just because something works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. It’s a trial and error process that you should work on over time.

The No. 1 rule: Don’t eat something new the day before or of the race, just like you wouldn’t wear new running shoes at the starting line.

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