Nutrition Tips Series
This is the week we have all been preparing for â€“ Race Week!! By this time, you are about as ready as you will be, and should just focus on the details. As your training tapers and your activity goes down just a bit, your body has a chance to recover and refuel its energy stores. Remember the car gas tank analogy? This is the time to â€œfill your tankâ€! Old school carbohydrate loading (anyone remember downing big plates of pasta before game day?) is not necessary â€“ as you are resting, yet continuing your healthy training diet with quality carbohydrates, your muscles will be able to fill up their glycogen stores and be ready for action on race day. As an added bonus, water is stored in your muscles along with the glycogen, thereby helping you stay hydrated during the race. Be sure to choose carbohydrate rich foods at each of your meals and snacks, along with adequate protein, and be sure to pay extra attention to hydrating well this week.
On Friday, be sure to consume 3 healthy meals, with snacks as appropriate, aiming for the largest meal in the middle of the day. Eating a large meal on Friday night may not allow time for foods to digest and move through your system, leaving you feeling heavy and sluggish on Saturday morning and increasing the risk of GI distress.
On race day, wake up a few hours before the start time to allow enough time to eat (and digest!) breakfast. Make sure not to try any new foods or beverages that your body may not be used to. Breakfast should include familiar, low fat, carbohydrate rich foods that are easy to digest, like toast, cereal with milk, yogurt with fruit, or perhaps a small glass of juice. Depending on how your stomach feels, you may just opt for a light carbohydrate snack such as a banana or small granola bar. Listen to your body!
Donâ€™t forget to â€œdrink upâ€, with 2 cups of water (or coffee/tea, if that is your norm) a couple of hours before the race. Right before the race empty your bladder (be sure to allow time for long lines at the porta-potties!), and top off with another cup or so. Remember to stay hydrated on the course and consume carbs as needed to maintain your energy levels.
Best of luck to you and congratulations - weâ€™ll see you on the course!