How to Avoid a Nutrition Meltdown On Race Day

More: How to Fuel For your Workout

Bike Training: Practice taking in calories before, during and after your ride. On long rides, carry two bottles on your bike and use a different sports drink in each to prep your body for the possibility of multiple sports drinks given at events.

Run Training: Consuming calories on the run can be more of a challenge, however, just like on the bike, practice consuming calories before, during, and after the each run. 

Be consistent because the run leg at any distance is quite demanding, which limits your ability to absorb calories.  Your goal is to keep your blood sugar stable so you can maintain a solid pace.

Meal Planning 101

Never leave your nutrition to chance. Plan it, write it and review it on a regular basis. Test it out at least once or twice in training in the weeks leading up to the race.

MoreNutrition Basics for Life and Training

This means getting up at the time you plan to get up on race day, eating what it is that you think you'll have that morning, and going through the process of a simulated triathlon consuming the calories you plan to consume.

Build your plan by taking a lined sheet of paper and on the left side start with the time you intend to get up in the morning and in 15- or 30-minute increments write out what you are going to do leading all the way through the end of the race.

Make sure you have a plan for all three key components: your pre-race meal and snacks, your actual race nutrition, and your post-race recovery calories. 

Pre-race: Identify exactly what you're going to eat when you get up in order to minimize the drama. 

Plan in some snacks that you're going to consume in the hour or so before the race and account for any possible delays or extended waiting time that results from being in a late start wave at a large race. Be sure to pencil in what you're going to consume just before the race start. 

Three pre-race fuel rules to follow:

  • Liquid or blended is best.  This is easier to process on what may be a nervous digestion system.
  • Minimize the fat and fiber because they slow down digestion process.  Use smooth nut butter instead of higher fiber chunky nut butter, for example.  Avoid healthy whole grains and choose white bread, bagels, and rice instead.
  • Just a little protein. Protein powder in a smoothie or mixed with some apple sauce works well and maybe a little cinnamon to improve the taste.

More: Your Most Important Pre-Race Meal

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