Pre-Race Nutrition

from IronMan.com ….

Keep the pre-race meal simple and gut-friendly with these ideas.

by Marni Sumbal
Ask a dozen triathletes what they like to eat on the morning of an IRONMAN and you’ll get a baker’s dozen different answers. There are easy and convenient options, like a bagel and banana with peanut butter, a liquid meal replacement for a nervous belly, or a bowl of oatmeal and eggs, compliments of a kitchenette. Washed down with sports drink and coffee, most IRONMAN athletes swear by one of these early-morning menus.
But with so many unique needs, there are a few atypical breakfasts for thought out there. For example, have you ever considered a baked potato with fish, white rice with figs and honey, or applesauce with protein powder? Passing on the caffeine jolt, how about a cup of hot water to get the system going or kombucha tea for a happier gut?
For over a decade, research consistently shows that the perfect pre-race meal includes most the following:
  • 100 to 200 grams of carbs (400 to 800 calories) plus a little protein
  • 12 to 20 ounces water
  • Low glycemic, low fat, low fiber (liquid or solid consistency)
  • Consumed three to four hours prior to the start of the endurance event
Breakfast is just the beginning
All the research in the world, however, can’t match good old real-world experience and practice. Your race day performance is affected by many factors, and so the perfect pre-race meal is only as good as your ability to control your nerves and pace and fuel yourself properly. Also, one hole in the research is the failure to show a correlation between what an athlete consumes before the race and what an athlete consumes during the event as it relates to a successful performance. Variables such as intensity, course terrain, weather, daily diet, pacing/intensity and fitness level also factor into the ability to postpone fatigue during the race.
As experienced IRONMAN triathletes know all too well, after eight hours of racing the gut and taste buds become turned off of gels and sport drinks. Because the depletion of glycogen in the muscles and liver affect the body’s ability to maintain adequate blood glucose concentrations for muscle and brain fuel, the goal of the IRONMAN athlete is to slow down the least possible on that day. Therefore, the complexity of sport nutrition to support a body in motion for 140.6 miles is much more than what you consumed at 3:30 am race day morning.
Your body on race day
When you awake on race day morning, your tapered and carbo-loaded body will be full of fuel—glycogen stored in the muscles. And no matter how fast or slow you start your IRONMAN day, that fuel will likely be the primary recruit for the 2.4 mile swim. Your goal throughout the race is to maintain plasma glucose concentrations as best as possible, through nutrition and pacing.
On race-day morning, your first goal is to replace your liver glycogen, which have spent all night keeping your blood glucose levels up. Next, you want to make sure your meal composition enhances stored fat utilization pathways and does not elevate your blood sugar levels (due to excessive insulin release). Last but not least, you want to reduce the risk for gastrointestinal issues before and during a race. The following pre-race IRONMAN meal ideas satisfy all of these criteria; give them a try, in smaller portions and in training, to develop your own custom pre-race meal to get you to the starting line feeling hungry to race.
Four IRONMAN race-day breakfasts
Consumed with 12-20 ounce water and optional caffeinated coffee/tea as tolerated and approved by physician. Approximate calories and carbs, consumed more/less as tolerated.
1. A nervous belly (low fiber/low residue)
  • 1 cup applesauce (no sugar added) – 166 calories, 46g carbs
  • 1 ¼ cup Rice Krispy cereal – 130 calories, 29g carbs
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter – 188 calories, 6g carbs
  • 1 tbsp honey – 64 calories, 17g carbs
Total: 548 calories, 98g carbs
2. A sensitive belly (gluten-free, IBS-friendly, heartburn, food sensitivities)
  • ½ cup quinoa (cooked) – 312 calories, 54.5g carbs
  • 1 cup sweet potato – 114 calories, 27g carbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil  – 119 calories, 0g carbs
Total: 545 calories, 81g carbs
3. An iron stomach (tolerable of most foods, little stress/nerves affecting digestion)
  • 1 cup oats (cooked) – 166 calories, 28g carbs
  • 1 egg (cooked) – 78 calories, .6g carbs
  • 1 medium banana – 105 calories, 27g carbs
  • 1 ounce raisins – 85 calories, 22g carbs
  • 1/2 ounce walnuts – 92.5 calories, 1.95g carbs
Total: 526 calories, 80.5g carbs
4. International eats (keep it simple overseas)
  • 1 sport bar – 190 calories, 24g carbs
  • 1 medium banana – 105 calories, 27g carbs
  • 1 cup orange juice – 111 calories, 26g carbs
  • 1 ounce almonds – 163 calories, 6g carbs
Total: 569 calories, 83g carbs
Marni Sumbal is a top age-group triathlete, coach, and nutritionist. Visit her website at trimarnicoach.com.

Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/05/race-day-breakfasts.aspx#ixzz32IuopkER

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