Plan your Eating for Winning! Part 2
Timing is everything.
Not eating enough or not timing your pre-race meal correctly is a common mistake for most people. Many athletes experience terrible stomach cramps during and after races, but this can happen for a variety of reasons, all of which are individual to the athlete.
JJ Pro Recommends: Part of your journey to being on the podium or a Personal record is working out what foods do and do not work for you on race day. Racers who’ve put in the “10,000 hours” already have this worked out. If you’re on the way to that level, the best thing you can do is record what you ate on race day and when you ate it. We recommend a small to medium portioned carbohydrate meal 3 – 4 hours prior to your race start. After the race, add to those notes and over a season you may see patterns develop. Follow the good patterns with diet, abandon the bad ones, but give it time.
You ate something during your race.
The truth is that your body is pretty inefficient – after digesting foods, you’ll only be able to utilize around 25% of the calories you intake. This means that if you consume 100 calories during a race, you’ll only be able to use 25 of them…and only AFTER you digest the calories.
JJ Pro Recommends: Many racers carry one gel with caffeine as an emergency backup during races. You may be able get through the first 30 minutes of a race feeling low on energy, but it is important to remember that carbohydrate intake takes 15 – 30 minutes. Anything you eat in the 2nd half of the race won’t really help glycogen depleted muscles during your race, so if you can find a gel that works well with your stomach during intensity at the start of a race, this may benefit you during the end of a race.
Eating the wrong nutrition immediately after your race.
As much as we like to socialize after races , drinking that beer right after your race is never going help recovery as much as something without alcohol! Finish your race and drink a coke, or have an iced chocolate. ~150-200 calories will cover your needs at this point. 30-45 minutes later, focus on getting a well-balanced meal that includes 30-40 grams of protein. We like a healthy portion of chicken fried rice or a rice omelet which is easy to find if you are on the way home sat a Mini Mart.
Optimal nutrition for probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun at this point, but you’ve done all the hard training, keep your nutrition boring and simple and you’ll reap the reward when you see the results sheet.