This is your year: You finally committed to that adventure race, plunked down your registration fee, and have even started training—a little. But if you want to get the most out of your hard work at the gym, you’re going to have to change your eating habits, too. “Obstacle courses like Tough Mudder are an exercise in endurance and strength,” says Jim White, RD, an ACSM-certified trainer. “Your training will be different than for a typical run—and because it utilizes more energy, you need more fuel.” Three months out, he says, is a good time to start training for your event and adjusting your diet accordingly.

If the d-word sends you running for the hills, relax—we don’t mean “diet” as in giving up pizza in favor of three juice drinks a day. You won’t need to make radical changes or stick to a rigid routine in order to see performance results, but you do need to put more thought into what you’re putting in your mouth. Here’s a step-by-step training guide for what and how to eat so you feel your best on the weeks leading up to race day—and beyond.

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