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Race Week: Pre-Triathlon Nutrition

August 24, 2011

Ok, so maybe switching my swimming routine with a night of wine drinking isn’t highly recommended by serious triathletes, but sometimes you need it. Anyway, now I am ready to focus on my nutrition for the week. Let’s eat!

Julie’s rules: Keep processed foods to a minimum. Eat ingredients you can pronounce (GU’s do not play nicely with this rule). Eat organic when its possible. Keep distance between you and your ingredient source to a minimum: minimize processing and eat local! Moderation really is key and, its ok to reward yourself.

I came across some tips from with some good tips for race week nutrition.

1. Hydration: This is key, but over hydration will cause electrolyte imbalance. A fluid replacement drink is recommended.

2. Eat Clean: Meals should be easily digestible!

3. Last Solid Meal: The last big meal should be consumed no later than 12 hours prior to race start!

4. Race Morning: Finish eating about 2 hours prior to race start then continue to drink water-down sports drinks up till race time.

I also collected some good tips from TriMarni, a dietitian and Ironman athlete. Here are some of her main points:

As far as loading up on carbs on race week, remember that you are cutting back your training volume (yet keeping the intensity with more rest) in order to properly rest your body. Because stored glycogen (carbs) aren’t being used in a high quantity to fuel intense and/or long workout, you have no reason to over-eat on carbs.

Focus on your daily diet calories (around 1800-2200 for women, 2400-2800 for men..all dependent on training volume and intensity) and add in more snack calories, rather than bigger “carbo-load” meals. Meals should be around 400-500 calories and snacks around 150-200 calories on a daily basis…Because no one wants extra calories to be stored as fat, portion controlled meals and small, frequent snacks will help promote glycogen storage rather than excess calories stored as fat.

Don’t forget the pre race dinner which should be high in carbs, but eaten 2 nights before race day morning (smaller dinner, of the same food, should be eaten the night before a race so that the smaller meal can be easily digested and the bigger meal will have time to pass through the body).

My lesson learned from my first half marathon was that: don’t try anything new on race day! Eat what your body knows!

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