Six-time Ironman champion, Dave Scott, has had years to perfect his race-day strategy. He knows what to eat—and how much; how to warm up—both physically and mentally; and what little things can make a big difference in transition and during the race.
Before you head to your first triathlon, take a look at his top race-day tips.
More: 5 Little Things That Make a Big Difference on Race Day
Rule #1: Start fueling for the race the day prior.
To set up for a good race, you have to start fueling properly 24 hours before the race actually starts. That doesn’t mean you should eat more than normal, it just means you need to pay extra attention to your diet.
You should actually reduce portion sizes, go light on the pasta dinner and be sure to include protein in all meals. Fish, chicken, beans, beef, turkey and tempeh are all good sources of protein,
and they should outweigh refined grains, sweets and sugary drinks at your
Also, try to finish your pre-race dinner 10 hours before you plan to eat your pre-race breakfast.
Drink water as you would on any normal day…when you’re thirsty.
Rule #2: Finish your morning meal two-and-a-half to 3 hours before the race starts.
Your pre-race breakfast should be comprised of 25 to 30 percent protein, 50 percent carbs and 20 percent fat.
If you have a sensitive GI system, should still take in a minimum of 60 to 120 calories. Your circulating blood sugar is low after sleeping, and the brain taps into your liver glycogen. Both of these are important for racing so, at the very least, you need to top off those two resources.
Yogurt and kefir are great options for the GI challenged.
Stay away from fat-laden breakfasts such as cold cuts and donuts.
More: How to Reduce GI Distress on Race Day
Rule #3: Don’t drink just because you’re nervous.
Leading up to the start, sip water to quench your thirst as necessary. Wait until eight minutes before the start of the race to start sipping on your fuel replacement drink, or to eat a gel. Those are calories that will be useful at the onset of the race.
If sweat a lot, you can take up to 12 ounces of your fuel replacement drink eight minutes before the start.
More: Dave Scott's Top 5 Race-Day Nutrition Tips