“To fuel your body and your run, reach for complex carbohydrates like whole fruits and vegetables, dairy, whole grains, potatoes, and legumes. These foods provide a host of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, and calcium, that will help runners feel full and perform their best.” -Runner’s World Magazine http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/carbohydrates
A lot of these foods, especially fruits and veggies, can be kept outside in cooler weather. A big batch of potato salad is a winner with runners and the cooler temps will help keep it safe to serve outside (keep it in a shady spot).
Many people assume carb-loading runners eat nothing but pasta before a race. Experts warn against too much pasta beforehand, as it can tend to drag a person’s energy down and also cause some GI issues during the race. If you want to host a recovery picnic, though, pasta is a great option. Some runners agree the post-race carb load is the best part of running. You can definitely set out a buffet of pastas (don’t forget some healthier whole grain versions) on the patio along with a variety of toppings and sides.
Runner’s World lists other carb snacks like almonds, deviled eggs, sweet potatoes, and black bean salad. http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/the-best-foods-for-runners/slide/7 If you are looking for suggestions, ask the runners in your life for their favorites. Because carb-loading ideally happens over the few days before the race, you have a little flexibility in scheduling your “plump up on the patio” party for your favorite running mates. If your home is close to the finish line of a race, plan on having heat sources like a fire pit or portable kerosene heaters on the stone areas of your landscape. The runners will cool down fast as they are eating up your delicious offerings.
So invite the runners in your life to pound the pavement right to your patio. Tis the season to celebrate a healthy harvest and healthy hearts.