In the last post, I discussed the importance of a hydration and nutrition strategy for your event, and offered some tips. I also discussed what to eat the week of your event, including the day before. In this post I will discuss what to eat the morning of your event, including foods to avoid.
The principles to follow during the hours before the start of the race
- In the two to four hours before your race, eat a meal with some protein and simple carbohydrates, and drink lots of water or sports drink. The more time until the race, the larger this meal should be. Minimize fiber and fats, since they can cause digestion issues. So, if you’re going to eat something like a bagel or toast, this is one time when you should go with white over wheat. Most importantly, don’t try anything new on race day!
- Some good pre-race foods: gluten-free bread and/or cereal, fruit, smoothie, almond butter (not too much though). The more liquid and easier-to-digest these foods are, the better.-
- In the hour before the race, don’t eat very much. Most experts recommend only water, sports drink, or energy gels at this point. I personally don’t drink much at this stage, to avoid having to use the bathroom during the race. Standing in the start corral already having to pee is no good, as this causes unnecessary stress and Porta Pots at the early aid stations will be jammed.
What to avoid before and during your event
- Sports drinks or solids that include fructose or malodextrin, these can cause gas, bloating, and GI distress. Also avoid wheat, dairy, and fermentable fruits, including apples and pears before your event.
- Artificial sweeteners and other chemicals including sugar alcohols, sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium
- Large amounts of caffeine
- Large amounts of fiber
What to eat before your event
- Blended and juiced foods
- Small amounts of caffeine – in research studies caffeine shown to improve endurance performance
- Easy-to-digest carbohydrates including white potato, sweet potato, yam, white rice
- Easy-to-digest fats including MCT oil and coconut oil
- Easy-to-digest proteins such as vegan protein (pea, rice, or hemp containing digestive enzymes), essential amino acids, or hydrolyzed collagen protein
In a future post, I will introduce future considerations as far as nutrition for your next event. These can help you better utilize fats more and spare the limited amount of carbohydrates you have available. Thus, reducing fatigue and enhancing performance.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.
Your friend and coach,
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Bob Seebohar “Triathlon Nutritional Strategies” USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification Clinic June 7, 2013, Englewood, CO.
Luke Humphrey with Ketih & Kevin Hanson. Hansons Marathon Method. Velopress, Boulder, CO, 2012.
Ben Greenfield. Beyond Training. Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas, NV, 2014.
Matt Fitzgerald . Marathon Roadmap The Plant-Based Guide To Conquering Your First 26.2.