22 Feb Nutrition Tips Before Your Big Race
In the 24 hours before you race no doubt you are feeling anxious and nervous, while at the same time excited. Especially if its your first time doing a triathlon. The more events you do, the more familiar it will become but that nervous feeling will always be there, so embrace it. They say getting anxious is good, so go with the feeling and use it to help pull you through the race.
Its normal in these 24 hours before you race to have a million things running through your head. Wondering if you have forgotten anything, what time to leave, will the weather be ok and what the actual event will be like. These things are all normal and it is part in parcel of stepping outside your comfort zone and it is this anxiousness which makes crossing the finishing line even more of a buzz.
With all these things running through your head it is important to make sure you plan your final 24 hours of meals correctly. The last thing you want is to be worrying where the toilet is due to something you have eaten and not just because of nerves!
The honest truth is there is no one perfect menu out there for every one because there is no one diet that suits everyone. With all the training that you have put in over the last few months you would of found what foods make you thrive and what foods don’t. The key is that no matter what you are basing your diet around whole real foods and that you don’t want to change anything leading up to race day. Listen to your body. It definitely doesn’t want you over indulge, it wants simple whole real food to fuel your body in preparation for the next day.
So no matter what sort of plan you follow, understand your body and fuel it correctly. To help you with this, I have put together some general rules to help guide you through the final 24 hours leading into your race.
Every single cell in your body requires proper hydration and one of the biggest issues which will negatively impact your race is dehydration. Losing as little as 1% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by a huge 10%. So a big priority before your race is to hydrate your body. Ensure that over the coming 24 hours you put proper attention into hydrating your body correctly. Check out my post I did here about the type of water you are consuming.
Eat Whole Real Food
In order for your body to thrive on race day, it needs to have the minerals and vitamins to provide your cells with the energy to perform. So ensure that the meals you are consuming are nutrient packed. Loaded with amazing nutrition to help you shine on the day. Avoid things that will slow you down, like packaged processed foods which are number one hard to digest but also slower to metabolize and therefore are going to slow you down. Keep your food real and make sure it is food that is easy to digest. You don’t need me to list these foods. You will know the foods that sit in your stomach for hours verses the foods that leave you feeling energized. Trust your instincts and listen to your body.
Your Last Big Meal
Time your evening meal so that it doesn’t impact your sleep. This doesn’t need to be a huge meal, but instead a well rounded whole real food meal that fuels your body. You want to have this 3 hours before bed so that you can get a good night sleep and a good 12 hours before your race. By doing this you will ensure your meal is completely digested and that you have got the best energizing sleep possible. Practice in the weeks leading up what meal you want to have the night before your race. A good night to do this is the night before you do your training long runs. Then you will know exactly what your pre race meal will be.
This is very dependent on the time of your race. If you are racing at 7am, you might want to priorotise sleep over getting up super early to have breakfast and instead have a light snack pre race. However if your race is later, your normal breakfast will be perfect. The thing is you don’t want to change anything and hopefully you have practiced training at a similar time to when your race is, so you are aware of what your best fuel is pre race. Timing is critical and so to is making sure your food is easily digestible along with hydrating. So a liquid breakfast pre-race is a great idea if you have practiced this before. For me personally a green smoothie pre race is my preferred option. No matter what you have, ensure it is 90 mins to 2 hours before the race starts. Then use the rest of that time before your race to hydrate.
There are so many little tweeks you can make that can make a big impact to your race, so the key is to keep a record. Write down what you did, what worked, what didn’t and fine tune it for next time. The more you do it the more you will understand your body and know what makes it thrive.
Most importantly enjoy your race! Go out there and enjoy moving that body, stepping outside your comfort zone and taking charge of your health and wellness.