Written By: Arielle Fitzgerald, Runner & Energy Bar Connoisseur
Let’s talk about race day nutrition.
You picked your race, did the training and now it’s time to race. But what about nutrition? What do you eat while you run? Isn’t it just as much pasta as possible the night before? The world of sport nutrition and race day fueling might be foreign to some while others might be suffering from information overload. Don’t worry, we are here to simplify the process and make your fueling plan bonk proof! Let’s take a look at what race week, race morning and race day nutrition should look like.
Carb loading isn’t just for the night before the race. Depending on the duration of your race you will want to consider starting your carb “load” 3 5 days before your event. If you are running the marathon this will mean 5 days out, whereas if you are doing a 5-10km this will mean 3 days out.
Race week nutrition isn’t about cleaning up your diet, it also isn’t the time to introduce new “superfoods”. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. It’s the time to stick to the basics and most importantly what your belly knows! The only change you might make is shifting your daily fat intake down and increasing your carbohydrate intake. You will want to aim for 5-12g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight.
Finally, the night before your race you want to be thinking about decreasing your fiber intake to 10-15 grams of total fibre for the day. This means minimizing raw fruit and vegetables, and maybe opting for the white breads, rice and pasta instead of wholegrain.
Sodium isn’t just for race day.
If the weather is warming up and it’s looking like race day is going to be a hot day. You will want to consider bringing in some electrolytes three days out from the race day!
Daily Sodium Targets:
- 3 Days Out From Race Day: 1 – 1.5 tablets of XACT electrolyte tabs (500-800mg of sodium)
- 1 Day Before Race Day: 1.5 – 2 tablets of XACT electrolyte tabs (800-1000mg of sodium)
We get it, the morning of the race it can be hard to eat. Good news, if you planned ahead and fueled your body correctly the few days going into the race (aka followed race week nutrition tips) you shouldn’t need to choke down too much on race day. Aim for 300-500 calories the morning of your race. You want to try and eat this 1-2 hours before the start line. If you’re eating 2-3 hours before your race, you will want to consider eating 100 calories 30 minutes before the race. Lucky for you, XACT energy chews are 100 calories and a perfect pre race snack!
DURING YOUR RACE
Practicing your race fueling strategy prior to race day will ensure the best results. When you are putting together your race nutrition plan remember the acronym EATS:
Eat something every 30 60 minutes
Avoid foods that are high in fat and fibre. Think easy to digest carbohydrates!
Two hundred to three hundred (200 300) calories an hour depending on your size.
Sodium 250 500 mg per hour. Fluids 16 20oz per hour.
This is where gels and energy chews come in handy; an XACT ENERGY bar is exactly 100 calories and most importantly, is easy to eat and digest, so a great choice for eating and running at the same time. Rather than asking yourself at which km marker to eat, it can be more helpful to think in terms of time. 1 fruit bar every 45 minutes is a good place to start. If you can eat more regularly then you should be able to push harder, running at a higher intensity. You might be able to set your watch alarm to remind you when to eat as it can be easy to get caught up in the race excitement and atmosphere. XACT ENERGY fruit bars are the official on course energy bar of Calgary Marathon. Look out for XACT energy fruit bars on the aid stations along the course!
So how many Xact energy bars will you need during your race?
Use this table to get an idea of how many bars or gels you will need for your distance. Remember, the harder you push, the more regularly you’ll want to be consuming energy:
Congratulations you have finished! Grab an XACT PROTEIN bar, a banana and some fluids and go sit down. Up until now, carbohydrates have been the star of the show, but when it comes to recovery its proteins times to shine. After your race you want to try and eat some protein and carbohydrates within 30 60 minutes of finishing. By consuming a mix of protein and carb soon after your race, you’ll help your body recover quicker. Fluids are important so aim for 500-1000 ml after your race. Once you’ve finished that, you’ll be ready for that post race celebratory beer. Well done!