Our bodies can hold around 2000 kcal of energy stored in the muscles and liver for use during higher intensities. How quickly we get through that energy store during a race is down to several factors such as body weight, the intensity of exercise, efficiency and environmental factors such as weather and even the course profile.
Most people could probably complete 90 – 120 minutes of exercise without the need to take on fuel on the go. For shorter races, there’s less emphasis to fuel mid-race other than to keep hydrated or just to keep blood sugar levels topped up towards the end of a race to prevent a dip in performance. During a super-sprint distance race, we could all complete most of the race on the food that we’ve consumed in the days and the morning leading up to a race. So, make this the key focus of your preparation the week before a race to ensure you’re suitably hydrated and are consistent with your diet and nutrient intake.
WEEK OF THE RACE
- Consistent food & water intake, balanced protein, fat & carbohydrate levels.
- Avoid too much fibre the day before, avoid alcohol to improve sleep quality & hydration levels.
MORNING BEFORE THE RACE
- Consume a simple breakfast that you know you can digest well and have used well in training around 3 hours before your race start
BEFORE THE RACE START
- Stay hydrated, particularly if it’s a warm day, but don’t drink too much or you’ll be taking an unscheduled mid-race pit stop.
DURING THE RACE
- Swim – No nutritional intake during the swim.
- Bike – A small bottle of water on the bike to sip if needed (there are no aid stations on the bike course)
- Run – If it’s a particularly hot day you may want a sip of water on the run, and you will be able to get water at the aid stations during the run. Check the course map to know where these are on race day.
AFTER THE RACE – RECOVERY
- Consume water/electrolytes as required and aim to have a small meal within a couple of hours. If you do decide to consume energy products for your race, be sure to have tested these in
- If you do decide to consume energy products for your race, be sure to have tested these in training prior to race day to know how they affect your body!