Eating for Raceday


Now that I’m not racing anymore I’ll let you in on all my secrets.

You’re ready to race and you’ve done everything right. Lets continue to do things right by planning out your race day nutrition. The feeling of having a gut full of food 5 minutes into the race or running out of energy and bonking with 5 miles to go are not pleasant experiences and can be prevented if you plan your meals out for race day. It’s a little easier to eat for a start time between 9:00 and 10:00am. It’s best to eat your breakfast 2-3 hours before your event. I like to eat 3 hours before I race. Carbs with some protein has always been my go to. Ideas for carbs would be oatmeal, cereal, bread, rice, pasta or something that’s easily to digests. I usually do eggs for my protein but whatever you feel like can digest pretty well in 2-3 hours. Since I eat 3 hours before the race I usually eat an energy bar 1 hour before the start. I like Ally’s Bars, ERG bars, and the new Skratch bars best but brands like Cliff Bar are good too. I also like to sip on a sports drink during that hour. In the last 30 minutes leading up to the race I like having a pack of Cliff Shots because they taste good. A gel 10-15 minutes before the start is good too. I always found it good having something just before the start because it might be hard to eat in that first part of the race. From there keep in mind eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty. If you get hungry or thirsty it’s probably to late. For a 2 hour event gels will do. Take a gel 45 minutes in and again 1.5 hours in. That should keep your glycogen levels pretty level throughout the event. Try and drink when you can. I always had a goal of 1 bottle an hour. What worked for me might not work for you. Find a system and try and stick to it. If you do you’ll avoid having a full feeling gut or bonking.

If you’re racing later in the day do the same thing but work backwards. In the elite race sometimes the start is around 2:00 in the afternoon. If you don’t plan your meals well with a later start it’s easy to bonk. I’ve been there. I’d get up and have my normal breakfast toast with 2 eggs and some fruit. 3 hours before the start of the race I would then have a plate of plain pasta or rice with olive oil and 2 eggs. I’d sometime also have toast and jam. With 3 hours before the start you can eat until you almost feel stuffed. Then I’d do the bar 1 an hour before (unless I still felt stuffed from my meal 3 hours before). Then the Cliff Shots and then off we go!

I hope you can find a system that works for you. Plan from your race start and work backwards from there.