It’s race week! Besides making sure your bike and gear are ready to go, you might want to prepare what you eat as well.
How Much of What Will I Need?
The days leading up to the race are crucial. Adding more healthy carbohydrates found in fruits, veggies and multi grain foods like brown rice, and brown pasta will make sure you are not tired and empty once you line up for the start.
The mixed diet of an athlete should be made of 2/3 healthy carbohydrates and 1/3 lean protein. Lean protein examples are beans, grains, low-fat dairy products, soy products and chicken.
What Should I Eat BEFORE The Race?
Since some of the SEER races start later in the day, eg. 11:00 for the Grizzly run, you need a good breakfast to get you through the race. Focus on healthy carbs and lean protein, but stay away from larger amounts of fat.
Fat has a slow digestion time and the energy provided in the food will not be available for you quickly. It might even bother your stomach after your 5th time of picking up the bike… Save fatty foods for after the race.
What Are Healthy Breakfast Foods For Athletes?
Either a breakfast bowl or a bread with toppings are options widely used in the athletic world. Ideally choose items you are used to, and know that your stomach can handle them.
Breakfast Bowl Items
-) Fruits: banana, apple, berries, oranges and similar
-) Oatmeal or cooked whole grain cereal
-) Granola, low-sugar
-) Greek Yogurt, low-sugar, low-fat
-) Milk, skim or plant-based like Soy or Flaxseed
-) Nuts, Seeds
Sandwich/ Bagel Items
-) Whole grain bread or bagels
-) Low-fat cream cheese
-) Low-fat cheese
-) Chicken sandwich meat
-) Veggies toppings: tomato or cucumber slices
-) Egg whites
-) Nut or seed butter – no added sugars
If this is completely off what you currently eat every morning, you still have a few days to practice race day nutrition and get used to it!
What To Eat To Make All Grizzly Sections?
Together with the SEER track manager we put together 3 breakfast choices, depending on how far you want to make it into the race ;o)
If you want to make it to Guy’s Diner, a rocky section earlier in the race, choose the following:
-) 2 whole grain waffles
-) 1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
-) 1/2 cup berries
If you would like to make it to Sweet Baby Jesus, a tricky downhill later in the race, you might want to fuel up with the following:
-) 2 slices whole grain toast
-) 1 boiled egg
-) 1 cup skim milk
-) 1 large orange
And if you goal is to finish, eat plenty of food which will last for several hours:
-) 1 cup whole grain, hot cereal or oatmeal
-) 1 cup skim milk
-) 1 large banana
-) 2 tbsp of nuts or seeds
What To Fuel DURING The Race?
Number 1 priority: Bring your hydration bag. Without having water or electrolytes easily available, while you are riding, you are less likely to remind yourself to stop and drink enough.
Water is a good base, and ideally you top it off with electrolytes. There are plenty of options out there, here are my favorites I like to recommend to my athletes:
-) EFS Electrolyte Drink – lots of extra electrolytes, ideal for heavy sweaters and training/ racing in the heat
-) HEED Sports Drink
If you have a sturdy stomach, using a watered down Gatorade will do the trick as well. But if your stomach gets sometimes upset during a race, you might want to choose a different type of drink.
The two brands mentioned above are more expensive, but worth for those of you who had issues before and want to keep their stomaches happy.
2) Racing Snacks
There are plenty of options out there it depends on how fast/ hard you are racing. Eg. would you stop and take the time to get some food out? Or are you racing for the podium and don’t want to waste any extra time?
Here are choices if you don’t mind short stops:
-) Dried Fruit eg. dates, figs, mangos
-) Energy Gums
-) Pouch apple sauce
-) Fig bars
Ambitious racers trying to keep stops to a minimum need to make sure they have plenty of fueling in their hydration packs. Adding a quick gel in between eg. while picking a line is sometimes possible as well. Stay on top of your carb intake, since is the energy which gets you through the race.
Staying liquid is also the route for racers with a sensitive stomach. Solid foods could increase your gastro distress, so stay away from them.
Be Prepared – Get Ready!
Eat your race day breakfast 2-3 hours before your start. For the Grizzly run, this would be between 8-9 am. Leave plenty of time for digestion, and sip on some water between your last solid meal and the race start.
If you are worried that you will get hungry, eat a few bites of a banana, 1/2 of an energy bar or some dried fruit 1 hr before the start.
Get ready so you will have your bike, gear and yourself ready for Saturday!
Good luck ;o)