DO NOT “carb load” for dinner the night before a morning race. This overloading of the digestive system can cause you to feel foggy or sluggish the morning of the race. Try to incorporate a carb heavy meal at lunch the day before the race and a standard meal at dinner. The night before a race is NOT a time to experiment or try something new. It’s also best to avoid foods that might upset your stomach or digestion like spicy foods, foods high in fiber, or ‘heavy’ foods.
Also, getting plenty of sleep the night before the big day will help your performance. This is often easier said than done for most competitors, so try to counteract restless sleep the night before with plenty of sleep each night the week of the race.
Your pre-race meal should be the perfected version of your pre-workout meal and consumed during the time frame determined during your training (anywhere from three hours to 10 minutes before race time).
Really work to refine the correct timing and foods that make you feel and perform at your peak fitness level. Taking the time during your training to really zero in on what works best for you is key to unlocking your winning food and timing combination for race day.
If you ate your meal more than an hour before start time, it may prove helpful about 10 minutes before the start of your race to have a sports fluid replacement drink (100-200 calories) or a gel that has a 3:1 or 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Your next fueling will depend on the intensity and length of the race.
For more information visit Jessica Thenhaus’s nutrition site at www.jessicathenhaus.com.