Your nutrition plays a pivotal role in your race day success. Knowing what to eat and when to eat it before you start will help you feel energized and ready to go! Here are some nutrition tips for fueling up beforehand.
The Night Before Your Event
Take time to eat a dinner the night before that is low in sugar, saturated fats, and alcohol. Eat until you are full and call it. There is nothing to be gained by eating as much as you can the night before. Keep in mind, your body will have to process all of this extra food. Moving your bowels right before your event isn’t the best use of your time.
The Day of the Event
Observing the 3-hour rule can make a difference in how your event unfolds. It is optimal to finish eating your meal no less than three hours before your event. This will help ensure that blood will go to working muscles and also help minimize intestinal distress. Furthermore, eating too close to your event can raise your blood sugar levels and reduce the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. You need your body’s stored carbohydrates (glycogen) for the event and burning through it more quickly will detract from your performance.
What to Eat
In a pre-race meal, it is optimal to have mainly complex carbohydrates and some protein in the make-up of the meal (300-500k/cal. for most). The purpose of your breakfast pre-event is to top off your liver glycogen stores after a time of rest. If you followed proper recovery protocol in the weeks before your event, the muscles (another place glycogen is stored) will be ready to go!
Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are all important for a healthy approach to eating. However, in a pre-event situation not going overboard with protein and fats (they slow digestion down) will help ensure that you feel light on your feet and ready to go for your event. Also, a focus here is that you should eat something familiar to you before your big race. Now is not the time to play dietary roulette but rather go with something that you have PRACTICED with!
If you’d like more nutrition tips on for endurance events, stay tuned for additional blogs in this series. Otherwise, you can schedule a nutrition consultation with me at Elite Sports Club-River Glen!Schedule a Nutrition Consultation
Written by Matt Bartz, Personal Training Director and Nutrition Coach at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Matt has a Master of Science (M.S.), Kinesiology and Excercise Science degree and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He is a certified Functional Strength Coach that specializes in functional resistance training for general health and all types of athletic endeavors. He enjoys running trail ultra-marathons, playing tennis, and spending time with his wife Jen and daughter Emma Carlin.
Matt started his career in 1997 and he joined the Elite team in 2012.