Nutrition should always be top priority. Whether it's race day or another training session—your body needs the energy to maximize performance. Getting adequate energy from foods will also help you maintain body weight and health.
Training and racing intensity and duration will help determine how much energy you may need, however the key nutrition principles will remain the same for training and competition days.
The rules for an endurance athlete's nutrition intake, whether racing or training, are:
Carbohydrate intake should be 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 59 kilograms (130 pounds) you need 390 to 585 grams of carbohydrate per day.
Protein recommendation is 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Therefore, you need to consume 70 to 100 grams of protein per day if you weigh 59 kilograms (130 pounds).
Fat should be 20 to 35 percent of your total energy (calorie) intake for the day. For example, an athlete consuming 2,000 calories a day needs 400 to 700 calories from healthy fats.
Always choose healthy carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy products and whole grains, protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry, lean meats, tofu and beans and healthy fats from food sources high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat like olive oil, nuts and avocados.
Use the suggestions below to put a nutrient-dense meal together before you race or train.
Oatmeal is an energy packed whole grain that provides 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup of dried oats. It also has B-complex vitamins and iron.
Sweet Potatoes are carbohydrate-rich with 6 grams of fiber in one medium potato. They're high in vitamin A and C and a good source of potassium.
Brown Rice offers more B vitamins, potassium, and fiber than refined white rice.