There are many things to consider for pre-race nutrition such as the length of your event, environmental conditions, and your specific likes and dislikes, but a couple of facts remain the same. Below is a set of tips put together by Kelsae Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a Registered Dietitian at UP Health System- Portage. She is passionate about sports nutrition and is currently training to complete her second and third Ironman’s this year. If you are interested in making an appointment to see a dietitian, please contact their scheduler at (906) 483-1253 for more information.
Goal: Optimize fuel stores (muscle glycogen) and hydration status.
Race week tips to optimize your performance at Canal Run
5-7 days before Canal Run
Adequate fueling the week before the race is vital. Poor nutrition can cause poorly fueled muscles, which can then cause fatigue.
- If you haven’t already, start to taper and reduce your training load. Running hard or extra miles will not help you at this point, it will cause exhaustion and tiredness.
- Stick with familiar foods and drinks. One week before the race is not the time to try something new.
- Avoid processed foods, fast food, junk food, refined sugars and excess oils.
- Avoid sugar substitutes or sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol as they could cause diarrhea. Some examples include sugar-free gum, diabetic or sugar-free candy, soft drinks, or any diet or light beverages.
- Limit alcohol.
- Try to make an effort to increase water intake and maintain adequate hydration. How much should you drink? Fluid needs can vary, depending on race day environmental conditions and your hydration routine. Try to aim for 10-12 cups of water and sports drink combined.
2-4 days before Canal Run
Continue to limit training and start to increase your carbohydrate intake.
- Start to add more carbohydrates at meals, such as fruit, milk, yogurt, milk, rice, pasta, bread, etc.
- Do you have stomach issues? Consider trying to decrease total fiber intake to ensure your GI system agrees with you on race day and you will not have to stop at every porta-potty on the course!
- Limit fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and fiber-enriched products.
1 day before Canal run
- Foods to avoid at least 24 hours before a race:
- Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
- High-fat cheese
- Bran cereals
- Sugar-free or “diet” snacks and beverages
- Deep-fried foods
- Fatty meats
- Eat your largest meal in the middle of the day, consisting of high carbohydrates. Moderate amount of protein and fat. Examples include:
- Spaghetti with sauce/meatballs, side salad + water
- Chicken burrito with beans/rice + water
- Turkey wrap, pretzels, carrots dipped in hummus, small apple + water
- Dinner: Eat a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates, low in fat. Some examples include:
- Grilled Salmon, steamed quinoa, green beans + water
- Baked pork chop, brown rice, spinach salad + water
- Chicken breast with baked potato (or baked sweet potato), mixed vegetable blend + water.
Morning of the Canal Run
- Breakfast (2-3 hours prior to race start): Choose a light and high carbohydrate breakfast with 1-3 cups of fluids. Example breakfast meals include:
- Cereal and toast
- Pancakes with jam
- Bagel with peanut butter and jelly
- Oatmeal with dried fruit + milk
- Yogurt Parfait
- Toast with honey
- If you normally consume coffee in the morning, then do so on race day. Hot tea or coffee can help clean out your bowels before the start, which can help settle any race-day nerves.
- Snack (30-60 minutes before the race): Top up with a high carb snack will ensure energy stores are maximized. Try having a banana, or an energy gel or sports drink in addition to 500 ml of fluid to ensure maximum hydration at the start.
It’s important to remember that each person is different and you must find what works best for you.