How to Avoid a Nutrition Meltdown On Race Day

Imagine you've spent the last few months diligently training for your big race.

Suddenly, within a few hundred yards of the finish line your body shuts down and you can't take another step. Your energy is shot and your thinking is scrambled. 

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This can happen to all of us; in fact it happens all the time, even to the best.

Paula Newby Fraser one of the greatest Ironman distance champions of all time went through a full nutrition meltdown 400 yards from notching another win in a race she was dominating.

More: Nutrition Tips From Ironman Athletes

Here's a three-step approach to ensure this doesn't happen to you. 

Train Your Body

You must teach your body to absorb nutrition during training sessions. Start anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before your big race. The longer the race and the more sensitive your system, the earlier you need to start.

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A few guidelines first:
  • Incorporate a "nutrition" plan into each and every training session
  • Mix it up so you don't rely on the same type of calories day after day
  • If possible, find out what's being served on the course and build it into your training. This allows you to easily adjust when bad things happen, such as your gels falling out of your pocket.
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Swim training: Obviously you can't take any calories in the swim. But do take in some calories before every swim workout by consuming a gel.

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About the Author

Jay Zacharias

Jay Zacharias is a USAT-certified coach and licensed primary sports nutritionist. He's been involved with triathlon since 1981 and is co-founder of TriathlonExperts.com, the leading community for self-coached triathletes. Grab your free short and long-course training plans by visiting www.triathlonexperts.com.

Jay Zacharias is a USAT-certified coach and licensed primary sports nutritionist. He's been involved with triathlon since 1981 and is co-founder of TriathlonExperts.com, the leading community for self-coached triathletes. Grab your free short and long-course training plans by visiting www.triathlonexperts.com.

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