Comprehensive Race Nutrition Strategy

Comprehensive Race Nutrition Strategy

Pre-Race Fueling Plan

To optimize your performance and ensure your body is adequately prepared for the race, adhere to the following pre-race nutrition guidelines. It is crucial to practice this fueling strategy at least three times before race day to acclimate your digestive system.

Week Leading Up to the Race

  • Maintain your normal diet but adjust your meals as detailed below to ensure your body is properly fueled:
  • Olympic and Half Marathon: Consume a substantial breakfast the day before your event.
  • Half Ironman and Marathon: In addition to the large breakfast, include a hearty dinner two days before your event.
  • Ironman and Ultra: Follow the Half Ironman plan and add a significant lunch two days before your event.

A "large meal" should contain 90-125 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein, and less than 25 grams of fat. Here are some meal examples:

  • Two days before: Sandwich or sub with pretzels or chips; pasta with red sauce, grilled chicken, and bread.
  • One day before (breakfast): Pancakes, toast, home fries, and two eggs, consumed no later than 9 AM to ensure full digestion by race day.
  • After your large breakfast, gradually reduce food intake throughout the day. Your last meal should be light and rich in carbohydrates but low in fat and fiber.

Carbohydrate-rich foods include fat-free fig newtons, pretzels, bagels, power bars, and sports drinks. Avoid fibrous fruits and vegetables.

For carbohydrate intake:

  • Olympic and Half Marathon: Follow the week's training volume plan; add 60% more carbohydrates (735-785 grams) the day before.
  • Half Ironman and Marathon: Increase carbs by 20% two days before (355-405 grams) and 60% the day before (735-785 grams).
  • Ironman: Increase carbs by 40% two days before (545-595 grams) and 60% the day before (735-785 grams).
  • Hydrate by drinking 105-115 oz of fluid daily for three days before the race, including water and sports drinks or Nuun.

Race Day Nutrition

  • Morning: Opt for a low glycemic meal without fiber or fat, and include 3-6 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Avoid oatmeal or peanut butter.
  • During the Race: Use products with essential nutrients only. Aim to drink every 10 minutes on the bike to meet hourly hydration needs. Adjust intake based on weather conditions, aiming to urinate at least once (Half Ironman) or twice (Ironman) during the event.
  • Fuel: A mix of high and low glycemic carbs (dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin) is recommended. Sports drinks should contain 40-50 grams of carbs and 500-600mg of sodium per 24-ounce bottle.
  • Issues: For bloating, increase sodium intake. For stress or sour stomach, reduce pace. Tingling fingers suggest a potassium deficiency; consider a banana as a substitute for a gel.

Recap and Specific Meal Plan

  • Thursday Dinner to Race Day
  • Thursday Dinner: Focus on simple carbs and lean protein. Incorporate a sports drink.
  • Friday Breakfast: Emphasize on simple carbs and protein, alongside a sports drink.
  • Friday Lunch and Dinner: Opt for smaller meals with simple carbs and protein, including a sports drink.
  • Race Day: Have breakfast 2-3 hours before the race and a gel 15 minutes before starting.

Adjust the plan as necessary for your race schedule, ensuring you maintain hydration and energy levels for optimal performance.