Pre-race dinner and morning of race meal
Getting your pre-race meal and morning race routine just right is crucial if you want to be at your best on race day. The key is to make sure you practice and fine tune your routine before the big day. Key workouts, small lead up races or even a long run can be a great time to work on it.
Below are the things I use in my routine leading up to big races. Each photo has a caption describing how and when to use them.
I usually have a dinner that is high in carbohydrates three nights out from my big races. Typically I have a pasta but any carb will do. This is mostly important for longer races such as the half or full marathon. This gives your body enough time to build your glycogen stores for race day.
While most people think that the night before your big race you need to eat pasta for the carbs this isn’t true. This doesn’t give your body the time to process them and turn them into energy stores. Also, I find pasta to be a bit heavy the night before the race.
I prefer to have stir fried tofu with a vegetable on a bed of rice. It’s important to find an easy to digest meal that agrees with your stomach. When I travel to a race I leave nothing to chance by eating out so I bring my food with me.
It is important to wake up at least two hours before your race. This gives you enough time wake up, get your blood moving and eat your pre-race breakfast.
Less is more when it comes to your pre-race meal. You want something that has a little protein (less than 10 grams) and that is light in fiber. Too much fiber will give you GI problems and you don’t want that mid-race.
I personally prefer a Nutri-Grain Bar but a PowerBar performance energy is good as well.
I eat this about two and half hours before the race starts with a lot of water or Nuun/sports drink if it’s a hot day.
For shorter races like a 5K, I sometimes go without any breakfast since it’s not as important.
For my daily runs, I usually drink about 16-20 ounces of water and eat a Nutri-Grain Bar about 15-20 min before.
Performance gel isn’t as important for shorter races. Typically ones that take under an hour. For races of 60-90 min, I would recommend consuming one 15-30 mins before with 8 ounces of water. For longer races, I would take one before the race and then one every 45-60 min during the race with water.
It is important that you experiment with different gels to find what works best for you. I prefer one that has caffeine but you need to make that it agrees with your stomach first.
Post race is it crucial that you consume at least 20g of protein within thirty min of finishing to start the recovery process.