Pre, Mid and Post Workout Fueling

by Sarah Goble via SkiPost

Pre-Workout

I usually have practice or go skiing in the morning, so I like to make sure I fuel myself with a good breakfast that will give me lasting energy for my workout. Recently I have been into greek yogurt with homemade granola, chia seeds, and berries. I started making my own granola in college because it’s super easy and yummy!

 

Sarah’s Granola:

4 Cups Whole Oats

1 ½ Cups nuts and seeds (I like almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds)

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp salt

½ Cup melted coconut oil

¼ Cup Honey

¼ Cup Maple Syrup

¾ tsp Vanilla

½ Cup Dried Fruit ( raisins, cranberries, cherries)

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350℉. Combine all dry ingredients except dried fruit and mix. Add wet ingredients and mix. Spread granola onto a baking sheet over a layer of parchment paper. Cook for about 20-24 min total, stirring after 12 min. Let the granola sit and fully cool, this will allow it to clump together some. Add dried fruit of your choosing and store in an airtight container.

Mid-Workout

If my workout is 2+ hours I generally like to have a snack to keep myself feeling good. My go-to is a JoJe granola bar. I like them because they have lots of different yummy flavors and sit well in my stomach as I continue to train.

Post Workout

Smoothies are my first choice after finishing a workout. This is a great way to refuel within the optimal post workout recovery window. To make my favorite simple blueberry banana smoothie, blend together:

1 frozen banana

Frozen blueberries

Greek Yogurt

Oat Milk

Protein Powder ( I like Sprout Living Pro Collagen)

 

Pre-Race Prep

by Reid Goble, SkiPost

 

One thing I have learned a lot more about this year and gotten better at is how I prepare for a ski race. Beyond the hours of training and prep you do all year long, there are a lot of small, but important things that can maximize your success for race day in the week before or even minutes before you cross the start line. If overlooked, it can mean all the time and prep you have done all year long means nothing. This is something I have especially put a lot of emphasis on this year as I felt like I was not great on it in the past. I honestly didn’t have a consistent race day warm-up routine or plan for how I was going to prep. This year with help from coaches and teammates, I have really dialed it in and have a plan for what I am going to do the week before and morning of race-day.

Before I get started on pre-race warm-up, there are a lot of other things off the skis you can do to optimize performance. In my opinion one of the most important things is sleep. Obviously, the ideal athlete would always be on top of their sleep schedule and be fully rested every day, but this just isn’t a reality with everyday stresses and things such as travel. One habit I try to very hard to do is even when I do not have any races coming up anytime soon, I still don’t let myself change my ideal sleep schedule I would use before races, such as thinking “I can stay up late for these few nights”. As we all know it is easy to throw off our schedule, making it hard to get good rest when the time comes that it is very important. The most common major disruption to my sleep is travel. I think it is smart to always expect a travel day (especially air travel) to be many hours longer than planned with potentially little to no good sleep. Although this is a bummer, I have gotten good at never being stressed about this since if you take advantage of sleeping well when you can (such as the week leading up to travel), you can afford that one bad day. This is the exact same for the night before a race. Whether it’s because you’re in a new bed, anxious for a race and just can’t sleep. The rest you have gotten leading up to that is way more important than that one night and you shouldn’t even have to worry about it on race morning! Sleep and rest are incredibly important, but never something to stress about if you are consistent and smart about.

The other major thing you can do off-skis to optimize performance is food and hydration. Beyond just eating pasta the night before a race (a skiers favorite meal), it is important, like sleep, to be fueling your body well the week before a race. It is actually proven that the meal two nights before your race is even more important, so don’t just focus on that night before meal. I also like to make sure I always eat a snack right after every workout I do as soon as possible, even if it is cheap and small (I bring a banana to almost every workout). Getting back to the night before the race, my coach Andy Newell always urges us to eat a protein loaded snack before we go to bed. His favorite is a bowl of cereal. Hydration goes along the same lines, it’s not just what you do on race day, the days before are just important.

When it comes to actually putting the skis on there are many things to consider for pre-race. As a general guideline one should do some sort of intensity workout a day or two before race day to make sure the body is awake, but what you do and when you do it can change. My preference is usually to do intensity the day before the race. For this, a standard pre race I would do is 3-4min L2/L3, then 3-4min L3, and then another 3-4min L4, with plenty of rest in-between where I fully recover. Sometimes for a variety of reasons, such as conditions and timing, I may do intervals two days before. I like to make this interval set a little longer since I’ll have an easier day between this and my race. I usually do 2x8min L3, 2x3min L4, and 5x30sec speeds, focusing on some technical parts of the course. I’ll then keep the next day easy and maybe throw in a few quick speeds. Again, this is what I like to do and everyone is different so it is good to experiment around with something like this and find what works for you.

On race morning, as you know it is super vital to get in a good warm-up. For something like a sprint race I actually do a longer warm up and get in a decent amount of L4 so I am ready to go as fast as I can for the qualifier. An example would be at least 20min easy skiing and then 5min L2/L3, 5min L3, then 2x4min L4, with full recovery in-between these sets. I try to get this done with 15min left before the start and then I’ll do some short sprints in the starting pen on my feet and fire my muscles up with things like squats, jumping, pushups, etc. For a distance race, my warm-up is very similar, but I’ll do a little more L3 (such as 2x8min L3), then some shorter L4 intervals (such as 2-3x2min). Of course, it is important to realize that race morning doesn’t always go as planned and I often must change this routine if I am running short on time or races get delayed. Another thing I always do for races is take some caffeine about 30min before the start, my favorite is Science in Sport’s isotonic caffeine gel packs.

Stay warm,

Reid

Fueling for Training

by Gus Schumacher

Everyone knows you have to eat a little differently for training performance, right? I did, but I never really took the time to learn about what food and drinks made me feel and perform best on big training days. This spring I got to sit down with a nutritionist named Jessica at Bend camp, and ask her about all things fueling, especially for hard training. These are my takeaways.

PRE-TRAINING

Before training, you basically don’t want to go in hungry, so having a good meal well before can be a good way to prepare. If that’s not an option, something lower-volume, with a mix of carbs, protein, and fats can be good for a longer release of energy. Some examples I’ve been doing have been almond milk and cereal with some peanut butter in the morning, or toast and avocado or peanut butter, or fruit and nuts. The peanut butter and fattier stuff helps the snack absorb a little slower so glucose doesn’t spike and drop before you actually start.

DURING TRAINING

This is the big one. I’ve heard it so many times that I need to eat a lot while training, but I never really felt like it, and didn’t feel like it made a difference. I felt like I always had energy if I ate before, and didn’t really eat during training unless it was over 2 hours. Jessica told me more about the reasons behind eating during training, and how they actually relate more to recovery than to energy during the session. The idea is to make sure your body doesn’t have to burn a bunch of muscle glycogen to keep you going, because then when you finish, you have to restore it, and the energy it takes to do that is energy that could be going towards training adaptations. The crazier part about this (I thought), was that you can oxidize up to 1g/kg/hour of carbs!! This means if you’re 80kg, you can (and should) be trying to consume 80g of carbohydrates per hour!!! That’s a lot, and it’s really hard to actually do in practice. It also depends a little on your training intensity and if you ate right before. Trying to reach those numbers, or at least get close, gets more important as your training demand increases, as harder sessions can really deplete your glycogen stores in a hurry.

After learning more about the recovery aspect of this, I’ve really made it a goal to hit at least 0.5g/kg/hr of carbs, especially if my session is over 90 minutes, or I’m doing more than one session in a day. I’ve been doing it by mixing a strong sports drink, and having a pack of gummies or some fruit and a bar in my water belt. I really prefer fruit, but it’s a little bigger and less convenient sometimes. And you probably don’t need to go crazy about it, but it is amazing how much fuel your body can burn, even in easy sessions. Plus, having food throughout a workout can make you feel so much better afterwards.

AFTER TRAINING

I learned that a good mix of protein and carbs right after training is one of the best ways to start recovery. I guess I sort of knew that, but it means even right when the interval set is done, and before the cool down. The sooner your body has those building blocks, the sooner it can start the repair and recovery process, which is what you want. I’ve been a big fan of G2G bars lately (they’re awesome if you like peanut butter, so I love them). Also the ingredients are really basic, and they have a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat. After you get home, you want to get a good full meal too, and then you’re ready to reset for the next one!

I hope this information can be helpful to people. Don’t take it as science, it’s just my interpretation and application of an actual expert’s knowledge. And if you don’t totally believe me, just try mixing a strong sports drink and having some gummies during your next long or hard workout, and see how you feel. I also noticed my body started using that fuel better the more I ate during training, so sometimes it takes a little adaptation.

Food is fuel!!

Gus

Source: EnjoyWinter.com

Why Carbohydrate is the King for Endurance Performance

By Ted Munson / Source: TrainingPeaks Training Blog

Proper nutrition is often the missing link between training and performance gains. There are a lot of nutrition philosophies out there on the topic, but in this article we’ll highlight the different types of carbohydrates and how they work to fuel your body during different activity intensities.

The Science

Carbohydrates travel quite the journey before they finally absorb into the bloodstream via the small intestines. Energy (glucose) can be stored in the liver and muscle (as glycogen) to be used as energy during exercise. Taking on carbohydrate during exercise delivers rapid energy to the working muscles and prolongs your endurance capacity. However, the effects of the energy you receive can differ drastically depending on the type of carbohydrate you use.

Different Sources

Carbohydrates come in a variety of forms. Sugars, including glucose, sucrose and fructose are all carbohydrates that you may have heard of. While they contain similar calories, they are all metabolized differently, affecting performance output. Maltodextrin, an alternative form of carbohydrate, is broken down into glucose, which is the base of SiS GO Energy products.

So what is the difference between sources of carbohydrate?

FRUCTOSE

  • Must be converted into glucose in the liver before they can be metabolized
  • Is oxidized at a much lower rate during exercise
  • Can cause stomach issues

GLUCOSE

  • Fast, readily available source of energy
  • Has a higher concentration compared to maltodextrin and may require water to aid digestion in high concentrations
  • Increased risk of GI distress

SUCROSE

  • Also known as table sugar
  • A chemical combination of glucose and fructose
  • Has been shown to digest quickly

MALTODEXTRIN

  • Made up of chains of glucose molecules and has a high GI, meaning that energy is available quickly
  • Oxidized quickly during exercise
  • Reduce the risk of developing stomach complaints during prolonged exercise

The carbohydrate source in many energy gels, including SiS GO Isotonic Energy gels, is specifically selected maltodextrin. The particular size of molecule balances the amount of energy delivered versus how quickly it empties from the stomach. This means that you will feel the performance benefits of taking on a isotonic energy gel far more quickly than when a non-isotonic gel is consumed and the risk of upsetting your stomach is much less.

Can We Combine Carbohydrate Sources?

The digestion rate of drinks containing multiple types of carbohydrate is higher than that of drinks with a single carbohydrate source. This means that, for example, drinks containing maltodextrin and fructose are less likely to cause stomach issues and can potentially deliver more energy to the muscles.

The Fat Vs. Carbohydrate Debate

There is a major split as to what should best fuel athletes. Here is a comparison:

Fat Carbohydrate
At low exercise intensities, you will mainly use fat as your energy source Carbohydrate is the main fuel for high intensity exercise
Fat store 9kcal per gram, versus the 4 kcal that can be stored as carbohydrate Muscle and liver glycogen stores can only last for around 90 minutes of aerobic exercise
Fat is oxidized much slower than glycogen, meaning that it does not supply energy rapidly Carbohydrate, especially that of a high GI provides fast energy to be used by the working muscles
Fat is less available for fueling high intensity exercise We can only absorb around 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour during exercise

Fuel For The Work Required

By “fueling for the work required” an athlete can potentially enhance the way they use carbohydrate and fat as a fuel source during prolonged exercise. Some sessions could be performed without carbohydrate (this may even take the form of having breakfast after and not before morning training) whereas for harder effort sessions and very long endurance sessions, carbohydrate intake is essential for performance.  Additionally, athletes should include “train as you race” sessions where a race day nutrition strategy is practiced. This can teach the muscles how to use both fat and carbohydrate as fuels. However, always ensure that harder training sessions are fueled to also train your gut to be able to tolerate the high carbohydrate intakes on race day.

 

ABOUT TED MUNSON

Ted Munson is the Performance Nutritionist at Science in Sport. He comes from a sports science background having worked in elite sport for the past four years. Ted has worked with athletes in football, rugby and tennis, most recently with Hull City FC as a sports scientist. Ted continues to provide sports science support for teams, alongside his MSc in nutrition and physiology, focusing on hydration markers in elite athletes.For more on training and nutrition by SiS Performance Nutritionist Ted Munson, visit us at scienceinsport.com.

Thoughts on Nutrition When Preparing for a Marathon or Long-Distance Race Event or “Carbo Loading Strategy”

Q: My question is really about what/how to eat the week before, night before, and morning of a marathon to ensure my body is as energized as possible. I know carbs are important and also know that a certain ratio of carbs, protein, and fat are required to help your body optimize the benefits of each component. So, I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about how to eat for race prep, and maybe some examples.


A: When preparing for a marathon or long-distance race event, nutrition can certainly be a limiting factor. Muscle glycogen is the primary fuel athletes use in training and racing. Carbohydrate loading (the infamous, “carbo-load”) strategy has been shown to enhance marathon and long-distance performance by preventing premature fatigue.

For a well-trained endurance athlete, tapering exercise in the final days (36-48 hours’ pre-marathon) while maintaining adequate carbohydrate intake (10-12 g/kg/day) is a simplistic method for using nutrition to your advantage.

Sports nutritionists recommend that endurance athletes consume adequate carbohydrates to promote restoration of muscle glycogen between training sessions, for ideal recovery. Basically-make sure you are eating carbohydrates between workouts for recovery as well as to fuel your next workout. In general, endurance athletes should be sure that 60-65% of their daily calories come from high-quality carbohydrate sources, 12-15% from protein, and 25-30% from fat.

For a marathon (or longer) event, the last meal should be completed at least 3 hours before the start of the race to ensure that timing of energy release is ideal, and to avoid any gastro-intestinal problems. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates (bread, oatmeal, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes) However, some easily digestible fat and protein sources are also needed to help the carbohydrates supply a steady release of energy to the blood. A good example would be a bagel with nutbutter or oatmeal with nuts or butter, or nutbutter, giving you the carbohydrates and fat source.

Keep in mind, however, it is important to be able to supply adequate amounts of high quality foods without causing disturbances to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A pre-competition meal should not stray from foods that you normally eat in your everyday habitual diet.

Carbohydrate drinks have been loved and hated throughout the years. One camp claims that sports drinks before a race cause insulin to spike, and then drop during the race causing a “crash”. Studies more recently show these shifts in blood glucose are to minimal to cause a problem.

Hydration is of special concern for athletes who are exercising for extended periods of time. It’s not uncommon to forget to hydrate when training and racing, however, it is very important to have a hydration strategy in place prior to a race event and to practice regular and consistent hydration while training.

Be careful not to exceed ~700-800 ml per hour during a marathon, as high volumes have been shown to present intolerance problems.  It is key to have a hydration strategy to consume ~150-200 ml periodically throughout the race. If you know the course beforehand, look at the sections of the race profile where you can take a drink effortlessly.


Karmen M. Whitham
CXC Development Coach
karmen.whitham@cxcskiing.org

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Sergey Ustyugov About Training

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Sergey Ustyugov gave an extended interview to the “Ski Sport” magazine. Openski.ru is publishing the most interesting answers of Sergey about strength training, abnormal racing heartbeat levels, distance tactics, proper nutrition and selection of correct length of poles.

Is it necessary to control the heartbeat rate during training?

— Before I joined our regional team, I was training with my personal coach and we didn’t pay too much attention to the heartbeat rate, but we were still measuring it occasionally. When I finally joined the regional team, they gave us personal heart rate monitors and we were training, strictly controlling our heartbeat rate. We were severely criticized for any violation of heartbeat zones… Today main principles are pretty same, i.e. we pass an examination, which allow us to identify heartbeat zones, which we have to observe during training sessions in future. So, I think that it’s necessary to observe your heartbeat rate and use it as a reference point.

What is your opinion about training at high altitude?

— Each person has one great altitude value, which allows him or her to show amazing results and feel the pump after reaching it, but there is also altitude, which simply kills all your feelings when you reach it and you literally feel nothing. To tell the truth, I like to run after high altitude training camps and competitions, and all my best results were shown exactly after such high altitude mountain training camps. For example, before I won four out of four races during the World Junior Championship in Turkey, we were training in Bulgarian Belmeken. I was feeling great, even though Turkey had a pretty high altitude too. Another example, before winning the sprint race for the first time during the World Cup in the city of Nove Mesto, we were training at “Khmelevsky Lakes”, which is a mountain range located next to the “Laura” mountain ski complex in Sochi. It also has high altitude, which gives me great pump effect. I was also going down to Sochi from there and I felt great difference, even though the altitude change was somewhere around one hundred meters.

Which length of skis and poles do you use for classic races? Are these values different for long distance runs or sprints (or the same)?

— If we take just a classic ski race, without taking city sprint into account, poles have to be 157,5 cm in length and skis – 207 cm. And if we consider such things as sprints in Drammen or Stockholm, I can say that I use a little bit longer poles. This year during the Stockholm sprint race, Nikita Kryukov discovered that I was going to use longer poles, thus he asked me to give him my old ones, which were slightly longer than his own. I gave him my poles; he used them in race and even won that competition.

What is your normal heartbeat rate at standstill state (in the morning) and in the peak condition (before competitions)?

— I can’t measure my heartbeat rate every morning, but usually it’s around 38-40 beats per minute. Sometimes, my heart rate monitor is showing 42-43 beats per minute right before I start my training.

What is your average and maximum heartbeat rate during 10-15 km races?

— It always depends on my current state of health. Values during one race can reach 195-196 for the average heartbeat rate and 207-208 for maximum, like it was this year. But usually my average heartbeat rate is 185 and maximum one is 203-204 beats per minute.

Do you train on the bile during the off-season?

— I was using it last year, but this year my knee started to disturb me during such workouts, thus I switched to cross running.

One more question, what do you eat right before races start?

— We eat a lot of macaroni and pasta. We were eating it all summer and autumn. Probably, I will remember that forever. We were eating, eating and eating… Of course, there were different products, but the main part of our diet was taken with pasta (he’s smiling). If we are talking about special sport drinks, then I can say that during multiday races we use special carbloaders. We have no restrictions in our nutrition program. Isabel and Reto explained us that it’s much better to eat properly during our breakfast, lunch and dinner than come back to our rooms and eat something sweet or go to a café in the evening to have a cup of coffee with donuts. We have to be full before starting our training.

Isabel prepares a special drink for us during races. I can’t tell its name for sure, but I think it’s Vitargo Electrolyte. I was always telling her that I didn’t want to drink it, because it was making my mouth extremely dry, but she was telling that it was a normal reaction. During long distance races you have to drink a lot in order to avoid “drying” of your body and maintain maximum performance. And in 10 kilometers before the finish line we drink Coca-Cola. Many athletes are drinking Coca-Cola with activators during marathon races.

What do you mean “with activators”?

— Those are special substances, which we add to our drinks, e.g. guarana.

Sergey, what do you think is the secret of an overwhelming superiority of Norwegian skiers these days?

— Skiing is in their blood.

Source: OpenSki.ru

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Alexander Legkov: Nutrition Advise for Marathon Skiers

Olympic Champion 50 Km free style, Sochi-2014, Alexander Legkov gives his nutrition recommendations for long distance marathon skiing.

Aleksandr Legkov

Marathon nutrition is very important. It is important to constantly eat during a race, practically from the start. After first 5 km, even if you don’t want to drink, it is still important to do so. I would recommend sport drinks with high percentage of carbohydrates. You can get additional energy from them right from the get go.

– How often do you drink during a race?

Nowadays loops  are shorter, maximum two different fives, and usually between them you still cross the stadium. So it is important to try to drink every five km. Often a racer has a misleading feeling that he/she still has a lot of energy, but as a rule, the energy runs out quickly and unexpectedly. To avoid that, it is important to fill yourself up with carbohydrates.

– What exactly do you drink during a race? Do you use anything else besides drinks?

I drink a standard carbs drink, almost every sport nutrition company has it. Every racer can pick his/her favorite. Also energy drinks that contain necessary salts and minerals are very useful.  They replace what is lost during sweating. I would like to point out that you need to figure out the right consistency of your drink beforehand, so it is not too runny, and not too thick, so you would not feel the need to flush it down with something else after. Before 40 km I drink a carbohydrate beverage, and closer to the end of a race I drink fizz free coco-cola mixed with a pretty strong coffee. That mixture opens my eyes, gives me an energy boost and this is exactly what I need before the finish. Sometimes during races I also use energy gels. Gels need to be eaten right before the food station, so you can follow with something liquid.

– What are the servings of drinks and what temperature should they be?

Ideally all the drinks need to be warm: not too hot, and not too cold, so they would go in pleasantly and easy. There are many things to consider when we talk about quantity. It all depends on how you feel, how the race is going. As a rule, I ask to pour a little too much then needed, I take one-two sips, and if anything is left, I just throw a bottle away. It is also important to have the right containers – no cups. The most comfortable ones are the small plastic bottles from a drinkable yogurt for example. Optimal neck width – the same as on Swix belt containers.

– It is not a secret, that marathon nutrition is not only food during a race, but a diet before the start…

In professional sport, as far as I know, no one follows any special diet. I am not an exception, and before the marathon start I eat the same as before other races. The matter of fact,  50-km distance became so fast nowadays, that it is not much different from other shorter distances. Two-three days before the marathon I would recommend to eat food containing lots of carbs, for example pasta.

– This spring you are planning to ski super marathons, like 90-km Vasaloppet.This distance is quite a bit longer, then those two hours that you usually spend on 50-km. How are you going to eat there?

My advice would have been more valuable if I had done the race and had the experience. Right now I can not imagine what it even is and what is waiting for me there. As for now, I have the same idea in my head: drink carbohydrate drinks as much and as often as possible, not to allow the body to become depleted.

– What do you usually eat for breakfast before the race?

First of all, it is cereal! It is possible to have it anywhere. I try to get a very large serving, and finish it too, because it digests very quickly and it is not in the way during a race. Ideally, cereal is best made with water, not milk. Also, if possible, it is very good to eat some bread with red caviar. Even now, it is not a huge luxury, but it is very nutritional. Muesli, cottage cheese, honey are also good, anything that gives you energy.

– What would you NOT recommend doing before or during a race?

I would not recommend eating lots of spicy or fatty foods before the race, so the liver does not get stressed out. The rest does not need to be limited in my opinion.

Source: www.skisport.ru

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What to Eat Before an Endurance Race

by Beth Skwarecki

So you’ve decided to tackle an endurance race—maybe a marathon or half marathon, maybe a triathlon, century ride, all-day hike, or some other multi-hour effort. Of the many tough decisions you’ll make that day, one of the first is: What should you eat for breakfast?

There’s only one right answer, in a sense, and that is: Whatever you practiced during your training. Race day is not the time to try anything new, because you’ll be living with the consequences for several (possibly agonizing) hours. Still, you have to start somewhere, so here are some of the things you’ll want to keep in mind to prepare the best breakfasts.

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Keep Your Guts Happy

Exercise, and especially running, can make your guts unhappy. Digestion can result in uncomfortable bubbling, and meals that digest slowly—which means especially large or fatty ones—can feel heavy in your stomach.

Small meals give your body less to digest at a time, increasing the chance that food will be out of your stomach and into your small intestine by race time. Food in your stomach tends to be the least comfortable. Once it’s in your small intestine, you can efficiently absorb the sugars and other nutrients in the meal.

Carbohydrates (like sugars and starches) tend to make it through the stomach the fastest, so they make for a “light” meal. Liquid foods move through even more quickly.

Carbohydrates may increase your chances of GI distress (nausea, flatulence, diarrhea); some athletes swear they get symptoms from eating too much sugar (like combining Gatorade and gels), but the situation may be more complicated.

Ultimately, what upsets someone else’s stomach may not upset yours. Responses to different foods are personal, so experimentation is key. Try a new breakfast on a short run day, then on a long run day, before deciding it’s safe for your race. In other words, trust your gut.

Manage Your Time

Most races and endurance events start in the morning, so you’re already getting up early and dealing with a million tiny things. (Where are my safety pins? Which roads will be closed? Did I remember to put BodyGlide everywhere?)

Race morning breakfasts are, for almost every athlete I know, something that’s quick and easy to prepare. Make sure to shop the night before so you have those bagels and bananas handy, or consider a make-ahead recipe like overnight oats that you can grab on your way out the door.

You’ll want to consider the amount of time it takes to begin digesting the meal. Most runners I know will eat their breakfast about 2 hours before the race’s start time, to be sure they won’t be running with a heavy stomach. If you’re pinched for time, liquid calories like a smoothie or a cup of gatorade will digest quickly, and could make a good last-minute breakfast or a post-breakfast snack to carry with you to the start line.

Hydration should factor into your schedule, too. Rather than chugging water right before the race (which could leave you looking for a porta-potty when none are to be found), you’re better off drinking lots of water in the days leading up to the race. To schedule that other important bathroom duty, consider drinking hot tea or coffee (or even hot water) to make yourself poop. (Make sure to practice this on training days to be sure you have your timing down!)

Some Winning Breakfasts

Here are some classic runners’ breakfasts, along with what makes them so great:

  • Peanut butter on toast: Provides carbs, along with a little fat and protein to slow down digestion so you won’t feel hungry while you’re lining up at the start. Because of the digestion time, fans of peanut butter either have it in small doses, or recommend eating it at least two hours before the start.
  • Bananas: A good source of carbs (mainly sugar) with just a little fiber to slow it down, and some potassium for good measure. (Some runners swear potassium staves off cramps, although the science isn’t clear on that.)
  • Coffee: In addition to helping you poop, coffee is good for a caffeine boost that can help athletic performance. Keep the amount within the limits of what your body is able to handle—another key area to experiment.
  • Oatmeal, overnight or otherwise: Oats are both a good source of carbs and a great vehicle for your favorite type and amount of proteins, fats, and fruits. Have it hot, or try cold oats made the day before, which you can pack into a jar for a portable breakfast.
  • Bacon and eggs: These break the rules (unless you’re used to exercising on a ketogenic diet), but it’s possible to work these into your morning if you get up early enough to have time to digest it all, or if you keep the amounts small (for example, a little bacon with your toast and banana).

Any breakfast can be a great one for race day if it’s something that works for your body, but now you know some of the ground rules for building a great pre-race meal. Athletes out there, what’s your favorite breakfast?

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What and how often should I be eating and drinking to maintain my energy levels during longer races?

In the category of general advice, we would tell you to eat early and eat often. Never skip a food/drink station and take the time to fully ingest the food/drinks.

The following articles written by our athletes and coaches address both warm-up and nutrition aspects on a race morning. Hope you’ll find it helpful.

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