Here's a reference sheet for pre and post race nutrition. The primary source of this information is from Dr. Phillip Maffetone's fabulous book The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. I'll be expanding on it in future articles, but I figure full information downloads are fun too, as long as they aren't lengthy....
Pre and Post Race Nutrition
There are three groups of nutrients in our diet. Its important to rely on our food intake to provide all three of these categories.
Macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, and fiber are in this category. Most of our energy comes from carbohydrates and fats, but protein plays an important role as well.
Micronutrients: the vitamins and minerals. Key to helping carbohydrates and fats convert to energy. They also help prevent muscle damage, improve recovery and many other important features.
Phytonutrients: includes thousands of plant compounds that may be just as important as micronutrients in helping control inflammation, improve immunity, and other healthy functions.
Pre Race Dinner
These should not be any different from your regular meals, assuming they are healthy. Why mess with your body chemistry? If anything is modified, go for a healthy balance of low to moderate carbohydrates (lentils; beans; low sugar fruits like apples, peaches, pears; unrefined grains like whole rye, wheat germ), complete proteins (real food such as fresh whole eggs, whole pieces of meat and fish, raw-milk cheese as tolerated) and healthy fats.
The pasta dinner myth: Eat high amounts of refined carbohydrates to prepare for a race.
Downside: This is often at the expense of health, because the food and liquid consumed is often junk food or other unhealthy items. And yes, white pasta, white broad, white rolls etc are not healthy. This can cause additional stress and often trigger high amount of insulin, reducing fat burning, lowering blood sugar, and potentially reducing glycogen stores.
The Pre Race Breakfast
Stick to what you normally do! The normal healthy breakfast- if containing adequate fruit and protein- is what your body is most used to and therefore your best bet. Another idea is a blended shake made from real food (for example, 2 soft-cooked eggs; 1 or 2 apples, pears, peaches etc; raw whole carrot; spinach, kale, or cilantro; ½ cup blueberries, 1 teaspoon psyllium, 1 tablespoon raw whole sesame or flax seeds; 8 oz water). Some people may want to consume more carbohydrates, which can be taken as part of the breakfast, as a healthy energy bar or shake, or water mixed with a heaping teaspoon of honey.
About three hours before long, hard, or competitive events, drink at least sixteen ounces of water, and about half that much water about fifteen minutes before the start of activity. During activity lasting more than an hour, drink about ten ounces of water every twenty minutes. After activity drinking sixteen ounces of water every thirty minutes for several hours or until you feel hydrated and less fatigued. This is more effective for rehydration than drinking a very large amount at one time. A large dose of water at one time can impair the thirst mechanism and promote a diuretic response- so you actually lose more water than normal through urine. And, drinking too much at once often causes one to swallow air as well, which can cause bloating. Note: Cool but not iced fluids empty from the stomach faster.
Consume some food within fifteen to thirty minutes after competition to help with recovery. 50 to 100 grams carbohydrates, with some protein and fat to help replacement of glycogen stores. After this, continue eating regular food as needed (such as your energy bar). And for dinner any healthy dinner with a good balance of the three main types of nutrients will do!
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