There are lots of different perspectives on race day nutrition and having done many races over the years I have come to know what works for me and what I need to change. I've read up on this topic over the years and put some of my knowledge into practice so this is EXACTLY WHAT I DO on race day. Every individual is different of course, but you can use this as a guideline for your own race. I am a Sprinter/Olympic Distance athlete, not an Ironman. That would be a totally different blog post and I will share that with you after I finish my Ironman Certification!
I usually wake up around 4:45 race morning and make my coffee. There are many different opinions on caffeine for race day, so I will just say that I drink about 2 cups to get myself going. After I put my race tattoos on, I toast a whole grain bagel and spread almond butter or organic peanut butter as a spread. I drink about 12 oz of Beachbody Performance Energize drink with cold water and ice in a shaker cup.
On the way to the race:
I snack on a protein bar- such as Beachbar just before I get to the race site to fill me up and give me energy for the race. I have a bottle of water on hand and I just keep sipping this until my gear and bike are all set up in transition. I leave one bottle of Beachbody Performance HYDRATE on my bike so that I have plenty of fluids and electrolytes during the ride. If it's a summer race, I freeze the bottle the night before and let it melt while I am setting up and moving on to the swim start.
Just before the swim start:
I ALWAYS take a gel or a gu before I get in the water.
On the bike:
I continuously sip Beachbody Performance Energize drink about every 10-15 minutes and if the temperatures are hotter, even more often than that. Rule of thumb- try to drink one full bottle per hour while on the bike. (16-20 oz) I always make sure to drink those last few miles of the bike so I have plenty of fuel for the run. You actually have to PRACTICE reaching for the bottle from your cage, drinking it, and putting it back. The key to doing this is to keep your core tight, your handlebars straight, and pedal forward with your eyes on the road.
During the run:
You'll want to eat something such as a gel or a gu before you leave transition. Hydration is KEY on the run, and making sure you have enough salt and electrolytes. You can practice this during your rides and runs leading up to the race to see exactly what your body needs. I personally don't like to eat solid foods while I am running so I focus more on the hydration. There have been races where I put a small piece of Snicker's bar in my shoe before I slip it on and chew it while I am running out of transition. Just be careful not to choke on anything! Hydration during the run- rule of thumb that I use is drink a sports drink (I drink Beachbody Performance Hydrate) every 15 min (at least every other mile) while on the run. If the temperature is high, then drink at each water stop.
After the race:
Usually I am too excited to go straight to the food table so I usually let my HR settle down and I walk for a good 10 minutes or so. Most races offer some sort of protein bar, bananas, oranges, etc for finishers. Protein is the key here for muscle repair and restoration after a hard effort. I bring a packet of Beachbody Performance Recovery in the chocolate flavor and sip that while I walk around. I have my shaker cup handy so that I can just add ice and water and shake it up.
I pretty much treat myself to a nice dinner that includes some sort of protein such as chicken or fish, but I never really hold back on this meal because it's usually a celebration! I feel as if I earned it! Yes you can have desert!