What to Eat On Race Morning
One of the most common questions I get asked from my athletes is what to eat on race morning. There's so much information out there on this topic so I want to set the record straight. I went straight to the source from which I am a certified triathlon coach- Ironman University. I like their approach to this topic because it is truly simple and leaves no option for any guesswork on how to eat race morning.
Pre-event meals should consist primarily of foods that can be easily digested such as carbohydrates and fluids. Examples of this includes toast, saltine crackers, low fiber cereals, white rice, bananas, applesauce, eggs, sweet potato, chicken, salmon, and jello. Protein should be consumed only in small amounts, and fat intake should be very low to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal upset. Practicing your nutrition regularly before the event is HIGHLY recommended and that way there will be less chance for stomach upset during the race.
3-4 HRS BEFORE Eat familiar foods - nothing out of the ordinary and easy to digest. If you are experiencing anxiety, break this meal up into 2 small meals. For example, cereal (Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes ) with almond milk, toast with jelly.
2 HRS BEFORE
If you’ve already eaten 3-4 hours before the race then this meal is not necessary. No more than 2g of carbs per kg of body weight.
60-90 MIN BEFORE
Only liquid or semi solid fuel sources such as gels, chews or sports drinks. This is because there isn’t much time for solid foods to digest and you don’t want to run the risk of gastrointestinal upset.
WITHIN 1 HR OF RACE
No more than 30g of carbs.
25-20 MIN BEFORE
It is ok to bring a gel to the start of the race - you can put this in your wetsuit and eat it before the gun goes off. It is best to take in liquids at this point so sipping a sports drink is fine as well.
High fiber foods and gas forming foods such as legumes, onions, cabbage, and fibrous cereals are not good choices as they may cause intestinal discomfort. Protein intake should be minimal.
Here’s a chart that will help you break down the amounts of fluids, carbohydrates, protein, and sodium before race start. Obviously you want to stay away from proteins as this can cause gastrointestinal upset.
As you can see, the best thing to do is to keep it simple. Bland foods that are easily digestible and high in carbs are best on race morning. Stay away from fruits, vegetables, legumes, high fat foods, and high protein foods.
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