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Race nutrition: Race day food tips


Posted by Kate Percy of Go Faster Food under Nutrition on 22 April 2013 at 11:00 PM

 Kate Percy has already given us awesome advice on Race nutrition: Three days before race day, now she's taking on the all important race day food tips to get you to the finish line!

Top Go Faster Race Day Tips

  • to carry out your individual race day strategy 
  • to keep glycogen levels topped up to power you to the finish line and beyond

Race Day Breakfast.  With the taper and your pre-race diet you should be feeling full of bounce, ready for action! It’s important not to overeat on race day; you’ve done all the work now so all you need to do is ‘top up the tank’. About 2-4 hours before the race, eat a reasonable breakfast; porridge or cereal, toast, whatever you normally eat before a long session in training. 

Peanut Butter, Nutella and Bananas on wholegrain toast

Drink water to stay hydrated for exerciseDon’t be tempted to try anything new! 

Drink 500ml water, diluted juice or sports drink as soon as you wake up, or with your pre-race meal, and then sip on a further 500ml at regular intervals before the start. Not too much or it will be sloshing around in your stomach. 

Check you are fully-hydrated by doing the pee test: your pee should be a light straw colour. If it is dark, then have another drink.

Enjoy the Race! 

If you don’t top up your glycogen levels on a regular basis during a race of 90 minutes or over, then you’ll run out of steam and ‘bonk’ or ‘hit the wall’.  It’s important to practice your individual race day strategy in training. What suits you will not suit your fellow competitor! 

  • Don’t be tempted by all the new products on offer at the pre-event expo, stick with what you’ve trained with.
  • Aim to top up during the race with 100 calories of carbohydrate per 20 minutes, in the form of sports beans, gels, sports drink, bananas, energy bars.  
  • You need to find what works for you as an individual and your particular type of race.

For triathlon, for instance, you may want to try out different forms of fuel for each discipline; perhaps liquids and solids on the bike followed by gels and water or a carbohydrate-protein drink during the run. For a half-marathon or marathon you may you may find that one particular gel works best for you. 
Sports gels - which one is right for you?

Check out Go Faster Food's tips for picking the right Gel or Sports drink for your race.

Some final tips to make your Race day food choices:

  • Try to keep it simple! Your stomach comes under all sorts of stress during endurance events. Many competitors suffer gastrointestinal problems. The more gunk you put inside you the likelihood is that the more uncomfortable your stomach will feel! Test out different brands in training and work out your own personal combination.
  • Keep your electrolytes (minerals lost through sweat) constantly topped up, so try to choose brands containing electrolytes.  See Go Faster Food for more advice on how to work out your race nutrition strategy, including your individual sweat rate and home made sports drinks. 
  • Consider basing your race day strategy on the products offered on the course by the race organisers. This means you don’t have to carry, (or purchase!) your own.