Pre-Race Fueling Tips
Preparing for a race can be nerve-wracking- choosing the right shoes, setting a goal pace, and training to get there. But one important element that can make or break your performance is your pre-race meal. The right combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fats can fuel your body with the energy you need to push through the finish line. However, selecting the best foods to eat, and the timing of these meals can be a bit tricky. In this blog post, we’ll give you some guidelines to follow on pre-race fueling to help you perform your best.
1) Types of food:
Experts suggest that athletes consume a pre-race meal containing easily digestible carbohydrates, with some protein and fats 3-4 hours before the race. Aim for low-fiber, low-fat foods and mainly focus on carbs that will digest quickly and give you sustained energy. These can include bagels, bread, pasta, oatmeal, fruits, and juice. Adding some protein into your meal, such as peanut butter, nuts, or yogurt can help you sustain energy levels throughout the race.
If you’re racing in the morning and don’t have the time to digest a full meal, aim for a 200-400 calorie snack that you can eat 30-60 minutes before the race. Bananas, energy bars, and gels, and liquid sources of carbohydrates such as sports drinks will help keep the stomach light, so you won’t have any gastrointestinal issues during the race.
2) Day Before:
The day before the race, make sure you have enough stored glycogen in your body by consuming an adequate number of carbohydrates. This will give your muscles the energy source they need to push through the race and avoid hitting the ‘wall’ before the finish line. Experts suggest consuming 7-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight in the 24-36 hours before the race, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Lastly, hydration is essential during the pre-race period. Drink plenty of fluids in the days before the race, and aim to consume at least 500ml of fluids 2-3 hours before the event. Do not rely on thirst to determine your fluid needs, as it’s easy to become dehydrated without realizing it. Sip water, sports drinks, electrolyte water or coconut water throughout the race to stay hydrated.
Choosing the right pre-race meal and drinking plenty of fluids can enhance your race performance. Ensure that you consume a balanced diet, including plenty of carbs in the day before the race and eat a blend of carbs, protein and fats 2-4 hours before race time. Aim for a lighter snack if your race is in the morning, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids. With these pre-race nutrition tips, you can help fuel your body for optimal performance and hit the finish line with ease.