Are you the person who is eating a Pop Tart on your way to a local race, or the guy who pulls out a Snickers bar for some quick energy right before the event?
Did you know that, all things being equal, proper nutrition can help you improve your performance and become a better athlete? Your body will thank and reward you for following some basic guidelines for race day nutrition.
The base to your nutrition should be some good organic vitamins. We suggest vitamins that have the extra supplements needed for your active lifestyle other than the typical one-a-day vitamins. We discuss more on this topic in the Vitamins for Runners article.
Now that we got your base nutrition out of the way let’s walk through a typical race day and what your nutrition should look like.
You wake up at 6:15 am to get ready and head off to your 8:00 am race. You usually eat breakfast in the morning but don’t want to upset your stomach before the race, so the best thing to do is grab an all natural energy bar. Using an energy bar as a meal replacement before your race is good because it will load you up with the nutrients you need for the race, and being natural will help your body digest it easily.
Pre-Race and During the Race
About 20 minutes before the race, as well as during the race if you are running or walking a longer distance, is a good time to give your body energy that it can use up fast. Gels, sport beans, chews, blocks, and other energy boosters are what you want to use to give you this quick energy, not a Snickers bar. During this time you will also want to replace the electrolytes that you are losing via a sports drink or water. If you drink water, make sure all the minerals aren’t filtered out or else the water won’t do you much good other than wetting your palate. If you are feeling creative, you can even mix your electrolytes with energy supplements to cover all your bases.
After the Race
Once your race is over, you want to continue to replenish your electrolytes as well as have a protein recovery bar. This is different than the bar you ate for breakfast because this one is loaded with protein to repair your muscles and aid in their recovery.
These are some basic guidelines to follow to set you on the path of good nutrition.
You can and should use a similar form of this plan during your training. It is a good idea to start testing your nutrition during your training so you can refine it over time to meet your body’s needs. Just make sure not so show up on race day with all your gels and chews without testing them first, because you won’t know how often or how much your body will require of them until you test them out in your training.
Complete Runners is your one-stop shop for all your nutritional needs, so stop by and see our wide variety of supplements to get you through each stage of your training and race.