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Race Week: Food for thought?

August 24, 2011

It is Wednesday before the race, have you thought about what you are going to eat before the race? During? After? This can help you have a great race instead of just a race. Nutrition and rest are as important to a triathlete as training. You need to keep your body fueled throughout a race to ensure you have the energy to push yourself and finish with a smile on your face.

Never try something NEW leading up to a race. If this is your first, whatever you have been training with stick with that, you know it works and won’t upset your stomach.

The night before I always try and eat a “Carb Load meal” and usually consists of carbs and protein so my choice is Chicken Parm with pasta and a side of bread and water. A day or two before the race I will try and drink water to hydrate myself. The night before a race I try and go to bed early so that I can get some rest (I am usually up at 4 for a race starting at 7) so I will try and be in bed by 10(ish). During the night your body is going to burn calories (may be anywhere from 500-800) and these will need to be replenished in the morning prior to the race.

The morning of a race I love a bagel with peanut butter (bagel will be about 250 calories and PB is about 180 calories per two tablespoons. I will usually have about three servings on my bagel. Once I get to the race I will usually drink a Gatorade Prime (Fruit Punch) or have a Honey Stinger Waffle (Vanilla flavor- my favorite). The Prime has 100 calories in it and the Honey Stinger has 180. Try not to eat too close to the race, if I am taking the Honey Stinger then I will eat that at least 30 minutes prior to the start, if the prime I will take that about 15 minutes prior.

A sprint distance race can range in time from sub one hour to two plus hours depending upon skill and distance. (Most sprints are about 19.35 miles (.25 swim, 16 mile bike, 3.1 run) but the bike can be shorter – 10-16 miles in length)

If you are closer to 60-75 minutes then you can effectively manage the race without taking any nutrition in if you eat your calories before the race. However, if you are taking longer than that you will want to consider taking in some form of calories during the race. (I weight @197 lbs. and will burn about 900 calories an hour on the bike and between 1000-1200 during an hour run. I usually try and replenish about 40% of those calories burned each hour on races longer than an Olympic distance. Good rule of thumb is two calories per pound of body weight.

I enjoy the Mixed Berry Carbo Pro 1200. I mix a few hundred calories with water in a bottle for most of my calories during a shorter distance race. If you need something during the run I would suggest (GU– flavor preference is on you, GU Chomps, Clif Bar Shot Blocks, PowerBar Energy Blasts, Honey Stinger Waffle (my personal favorite)(

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