This weekend many of my friends are racing Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston! The weather looks great, sunny and warm. Last year, the weather took many by surprise as a cold front blew in and almost froze everyone. So if you are racing, even though the forecast looks warm, I would recommend taking gear for cold weather just in case. Better to be prepared than wish you were.
Today, I wanted to give you a few nutrition tips to think about as the race is drawing near. After all, nutrition is the 4th sport in triathlon. If you don’t get your nutrition right in a 70.3 race, it is likely going to be detrimental to your performance. These tips are ones that Michael and I use and have served us well.
Race Nutrition Tips
- Plan ahead – Most of you are traveling to the race. Plan out what/where you might eat on the way to the race. Take snacks and beverages with you in the car to prevent getting calorie and fluid deficient days before the race.
- Save the adventures for later – It is tempting to try fun, new places or new foods when you are traveling. I would encourage you to save the exploring for on your way back. Look for well-known places to eat. With a race in a few days, save the adventures for later. Stick with familiar foods and spices to help prevent GI upset.
- Take your breakfast with you – Race morning is not the time to hope your typical breakfast is served at the hotel. Take the normal breakfast you have been training on with you.
- Don’t over eat – Often people try and dramatically increase what they eat the night prior to a race. If you have not been training with a higher amount of calories before your long training days, don’t start the night before the race. Your body will likely not be used to the added volume and may cause GI upset or increase waste volume the next morning.
- Hydrate – I know you know to hydrate…but assess the weather. Do you need to take in an electrolyte drink the day before and morning of the race to top off your stores going into the race? Will you be walking around in the heat the days before and possibly reducing your levels? If so, think about consuming a hydration source with electrolytes the day prior to the race to help prevent deficiencies going into the race.
- Cook your own dinner – This will allow you to know the food is prepared safely and cooked thoroughly. You can also avoid the long wait at a restaurant by cooking yourself. If you have ever been to an Ironman race venue, they bring in thousands of people. So the athletes and spectators flood the area. With so many people in the area, the wait times to eat can be much longer than normal. The last thing you want to do on the day before the race is wait for hours to get dinner and go to bed much later than hoped.
- Lay it out – Lay out all your nutrition for the race before you leave your home. I divide up my nutrition for the swim, bike and run and put it in separate labeled baggies. This takes the thinking out when I might not be thinking clearly. It also helps when I am preparing my transitions at the race venue to just grab the right baggie and not be recalculating what nutrition I need for that particular leg of the race.
- Extras – Always take 1 extra source of nutrition for the bike and run. You never know when you might drop one of your nutrition sources. Speaking from experience, I dropped food during Buffalo Springs 70.3 on the bike and the extra served me well. You can use fuel from the aid stations, but they may not have the fuel you have been training on so I recommend going prepared.
- Wait on the alcohol – Alcohol can impact your performance for up to 3 days after consumption. Wait to celebrate until after the race if you are planning on consuming alcohol.
Hopefully these tips will help ease your mind and provide guidance for the weekend to come. I wish you all an amazing race and beautiful weather! Looking forward to seeing all your race reports!
If you have questions about your nutrition plan for the day-to-day or need to refine your race day routine, feel free to contact me and I am happy to help.