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Pre Race diet

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 03 October 2013

Hi all,

Now the Highland Fling is approaching, it's time for me to make some serious decisions. First of all, should I enter? Well that‘s still got a question mark as I just had the pleasant surprise that I have an exam at 9:30am the next morning. Bloofy bad timing!
But on the assumption that I DO do the ‘Fling, I'm looking more at the nutrition front and wondering what other people do in terms of the diet.

I know the principles of in-race nutrition, but I've heard less about what's done the days and weeks before marathons such as these and thought I‘d just see what others ate as the race day approaches and got an idea of how crucial pre race nutrition was. I know what's good for the goose isn't necessarily for the gander but I am curious to see other‘s ideas all the same. Cheers, Tristan

obmal's picture

For last years fling I did 6 or 7 beers and a Pizza.. but I think I may have over done the carbo loading a little bit? as it seemed like a very tough 100miles the next day.

This year I'm thinking of trying a different strategy.

hawkeye's picture

Normal diet up until one or two nights before race day and then carb load.

One night before is good for me. Any more and I pack the kgs back on that I worked so hard to lose, especially when you combine it with the pre race taper.

Low fat pasta or rice and stay off the alcohol.

Fatboy's picture

Let me get this right @tristiana - a guy who's bordering on whipping the elite riders is asking a forum of mainly middle aged overweight guys who finish 2 hrs behind you what you should be doing re nutrition? Smiling

For what it's worth here's the routine for this fatboy. Hydrate like crazy for 2 days before. Most important carbo load is lunch the day before the race. My standard is big bowl of seafood pasta with a tomato based sauce. Night before I do simple grilled fish & steamed vegies. I avoid red meat as it sits in your gut. Breaky on the day is best about 3hrs before the start - porridge + Endura Optimizer for me. A banana about half hour before start.

Brian's picture

I don't change anything from what I normally eat. Just a bowl of sultana bran before the race.

The night before the Kowalski was bolognaise pasta and some bread

Tristania's picture

@Obmal - I guess maybe you should try 9 or 10 beers instead this 'Fling; that must have been the problem. Maybe a bit more beer to go in the Camelbak as well? Eye-wink

Hahahaha @Fatboy, yes, well if I get more info re the right diet, I'll stop "bordering" and ACTUALLY start "whipping the elite riders!" Thanks for the advice; that's sort of what I do - except kiwi fruit instead of banana. Yes, I know about the "golden ratio" (not 1.618...) about hydrating - enough to stop cramps but not enough to have to pee in the middle of the race.

Actually, my question was not about the morning/night before, but I was more referring to how strict people are with their normal diet in principle in the weeks before and how much of a difference limiting sweets etc does to riding/racing performance. I'm hoping to see a dietitian soon but thought I'd try to get some first hand input first.

Thanks @hawkeye & @Brian

Antsonline's picture

Bring on the whipping!!
At which point, all advice will stop unless you pay for it.

The thing to remember has been touched upon by @hawkeye - you work to stay lean / trim, so dont ruin it with two days of gorging on bread.

The week before a race you will (typically) cut down on your riding, so - via basic maths - you can work out that if 'calories out' decreases, so must 'calories in' - in order to maintain weight.

Eat light, whole foods all week. Cut all snacking as much as possible.
Stay off too much fibre (dont get me started on the dietary mis-information that is 'high fibre diets') from two days out. Also - meat takes a long time to digest, so I would tend to avoid meat for about 48hrs (it will still be swilling around in your guts on the startline otherwise). fish on friday, vege on Sat night.
Just light meals.
Saturday might look like this: morning - (smoothie), light ride, breakfast of cereal and banana. lunch - sandwich and fruit, mid arvo snack, dinner - regular (not massive) bowl of plain pesto pasta. bit of bread maybe.
Sunday: wake, eat 3hrs before start - toast, smoothie, banana. 1hr before: 1/2 banana. 15mins before: Gel

In an ideal world you will feel slightly hungry on the startline. If you follow this approach, you'll go well, but you MUST eat throughout the race, from the first 20mins onwards...

The Fling starts RIDICULOUSLY fast compared with the other races - we average 30kph to the first transition. That includes the two dismounts through creeks. As such, you dont want to feel sluggish.

Hope that helps.

Matt P's picture

Pre race nutrition should start around 3-4 days out to ensure glycogen stores get the chance to fill. A massive meal the night before hand will not really get into your system ( well it will get into your toilet system). Ideally though your pre race diet should be similar to your normal diet.

Beware of the silly "super hydrate / hydrate like crazy approach". Drink what is correct. Drinking in excess of your requirements can cause dehydration.

hawkeye's picture

... Hyponatremia. Drinking too much water.

3-4 days out is much too early for me if I'm tapering.

Edit: AIS guidelines on carb loading

jalmstrom's picture

From an old girls perspective, my normal diet has virtually no carbs and have never changed my diet pre race day UNTIL last year, 2 consecutive events I got pretty bad cramps, so I thought it was all to do with hydration (age actually), until the next event, by pure accident, I had a pizza the night before (nothing else available to eat), I was paranoid that I would cramp up again particularly in this event (Gloucester tri, very cold water), BUT to my surprise I didn't! I put it down to the carbs, so pizza for me night before!

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