Raleigh 70.3: Race Week Diet

With Raleigh 70.3 days away, I’m interested in making sure that my diet is effective for a great race day performance. I came across a great article by Kim Schwabenbauer, RD, CSSD, LDN on the Ironman website. Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2016/09/your-perfect-race-week-diet.aspx#ixzz4iffYxa3I

3 Days Out (Thursday)

It’s time to start tapering down the fruits and vegetables. Fiber keeps your digestive track working hard and moving along—something we want to minimize on race day. If you’re a big vegetable lover, make sure this is the last day you enjoy your usual salad for lunch or dinner. The goal is to start consuming easily digestible carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and minimal amounts of healthy fats.

2 Days Out (Friday)

If you haven’t cut out fresh vegetables yet, today is the day! Start adding a few extra carbohydrates to your diet within your snacks such as fat-free fig newtons, pretzels, and low-fat crackers. Make sure you carry your water bottle with you as you register and pick up items at the expo. Your urine should be light yellow versus dark. Adding a little extra salt to your food will help you retain some extra for race day (provided you don’t have high blood pressure or other condition).   Avoid fatty or greasy food that could cause stomach upset starting today and continue through the race. 

1 Day out (Saturday)

It doesn’t have to be pancakes, but a higher carbohydrate breakfast like pancakes, waffles, toast, or bagels should be your biggest meal of the day and you should aim to eat it by 9 am to give your body plenty of time to digest. While this day is often busy with dropping off the bike and transition bags, it will be important to eat at regular intervals and snack on carbohydrates often. You can drink sports drink to make sure you retain electrolytes going into the big day and build up your stored glycogen to burn during race day.

At lunch, include a few grain-based carbohydrates (a sandwich or sub is a great go-to) and dinner should be earlier (5pm-6pm) and the lightest meal of the day. A side of high-glycemic, easy-to-digest carbohydrates is all you need (1/2 cup of white rice, pasta or a couple of pieces of bread). Avoid the carbohydrate overload pre-race evening stuffing. As your training has tapered, your body has saved the extra carbohydrates in your diet on the days prior and is ready to rock on race day. Go to bed a little bit hungry with an almost empty-feeling stomach so there isn’t much digestion going on overnight.

Sample Pre-Race Schedule

7:30 am – 3 pancakes, toast, 2 eggs scrambled

10:30 am – 3 oz. pretzels

12:00 pm – Sliced turkey wrap or sub (light on the vegetables), baked chips, sports drink

2:30 pm – Fat-free fig newtons

5:00 pm – Grilled chicken breast, 1.5 cups of pasta with light red sauce

7:00 pm – Sports bar with carbohydrates (50-75 grams) and a little protein (10 grams)

8:00 pm – lights out!

Race Day (Sunday)

Race morning should consist of your tried and true foods that you’ve tested in training and on smaller races throughout the season.  Three hours prior to the gun start, consume 400-600 calories (depending on your size) of carbohydrate rich foods that are easily digested like applesauce, rice cakes, oatmeal (keep it low in fiber), pita bread, cereal (again, low in fiber) or white rice. The volume on this meal should be low, meaning, it shouldn’t take four bagels to get in the calories and carbohydrates you need. Sip on sports drink in amounts of 24oz-30oz throughout the morning. If you’ve been abstaining from caffeine to get an extra boost from your caffeinated products on race day, then have 12-16oz with your morning meal as long as it’s something you’ve tried previously.

Also See: