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How To Fuel For Your First Race

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Feb 4, 2014
  • Updated Mar 16, 2014 at 6:44 PM UTC
Photo: Steve Godwin


Nutrition is key to becoming an overall healthy triathlete, but it becomes even more important on race day for fueling performance, avoiding GI issues and recovering from your efforts. Follow this sample menu, suggested by nutrition and performance coach Krista Austin, Ph.D., for guidelines on how to eat on race day. You will want to test-run your nutrition/meals during training so there are no surprises. A cardinal rule in triathlon: Don’t do or try anything new on race day.

Night Before The Race

5:30 p.m. Low-fiber dinner: White spaghetti with a low-fat meat marinara sauce and white bread rolls; or rice and lean meat with a low-fat sauce. Drink electrolyte beverages.
Why:
“Energy-rich carbohydrate helps top off glycogen stores for race day, and all of the meal helps minimize the chance of GI distress,” Austin says.

5 tips for The Night Before

1. Eat a relatively early dinner, no later than 12 hours before your race start if possible.
2. Make carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, veggies) the focal point of your pre-race dinner, but don’t feel compelled to gorge on them.
3. Avoid foods you seldom eat. Try to eat something similar to the type of dinner you normally eat before a big day of training.
4. Consider choosing a “ritual” dinner that you re-create more or less exactly before every race. This can calm pre-race anxiety and put you in the right mind frame to compete.
5. Don’t drink too much water (or other fluid). You are not a camel. You cannot store water. Overhydrating will only necessitate sleep-ruining bathroom trips during the night.

RELATED: What Do I Eat The Night Before A Race?

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FILED UNDER: Getting Started / Nutrition

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a senior editor at Triathlete magazine, a three-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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