Proper nutrition and diet are crucial components in the pursuit of one’s fitness goals. Even more important, is the last meal you eat before your big race. To maximize your potential, the type of food, quantity, and timing of this pre race meal must be considered.
Below is a general list of guidelines:
1. Timing: Most races take place in the early morning. If proper food intake has been consistent leading up to the race, then muscle stored glycogen will have sufficient levels to perform, despite a feeling of hunger. Since hunger will not hinder performance and it takes roughly 4 hours to properly ingest and digest a meal, it makes more sense to sleep during this time and wait until the race begins to start consuming energy fuels.
2. Size: If you do decide to wake up 4 hours before your race to eat, your pre-race meal should be composed of easily digested high complex carbohydrates between 200 - 400 calories. Stay clear of high fiber, simple sugar, and fat content. Stick with high starch foods like pasta, rice, plane bagels, oatmeal, banana and yogurt.
3. Hydration: After breakfast, an athlete should drink roughly 10-12 ounces of fluid per hour leading up to 30 minutes before the race. A sport drink containing both carbohydrates and protein is arguably the best mixture to use. A small amount of your supplemental fuel roughly five to ten minutes before your race is also recommended to boost blood glycogen stores to their optimal level.
4. Experiment: Incorporate these nutrition methods into your regular training schedule. By keeping a training journal and logging your intake which will allow you to try new combinations of foods and fuels in hopes of finding your perfect pre race meal.