Having the energy you need to on race day is imperative. What and when you eat over race weekend can have a big influence. These five tips will help you dial in your nutrition and hydration, so you can dial up your performance when you hear the starting gun.
- Practice with your long runs. You’ve likely heard you shouldn’t try anything new on race day. That applies to fueling before the race too—the day before. Try out a dinner the night before a long run that you think will work race weekend. Keep in mind whether you’ll be traveling and seasonal ingredients that could change. Then eat breakfast, if not at the same time as race day, at the amount of time you’ll eat in advance of the race. Basically, you want to simulate race day.
- Hydrate today for tomorrow’s run.It’s too late to gulp lots of water on race morning if you forgot to keep sipping the day before. Your hydration needs vary based on the heat, humidity and your own individual body, so pay attention. The basic rule is to drink when you are thirsty, throughout the day. Including electrolytes in your water bottle is ideal before a race. Laird Superfood HYDRATE is ideal and has only two ingredients: pure freeze-dried coconut water, which contains potassium and electrolytes to replenish your body’s fluids, and Aquamin™, a calcified sea algae harvested in Iceland that has 72 trace minerals and is rich in calcium. Just add the powder to your bottle throughout the day for tasty, electrolyte-filled coconut water on-the-go with no artificial ingredients and 40 calories per serving.
- Eat more simply than usual. Are you the kind of eater who goes for brown rice over white or kale rather than iceberg lettuce? Would you dare peel away the skin of a cucumber or skip the side of beans with your tacos? The night before a race is the time to consider it. Those extra nerves on race morning can help accelerate a trip to the porta-potty, and if you’ve eaten easily digestible foods, then your body doesn’t have to focus on your digestive track. When you’re racing, you want as much energy as possible in the muscles that make you go.
- Breakfast is the most important meal. As soon as you get up on race morning, you should drink some water and eat. Like the night prior, you’ll want some easily digestible carbohydrates to top off your energy stores. You should also include protein and fats to give your meal staying power. A bagel with peanut butter and banana is a go-to for many runners. Others swear by eggs and toast. Whatever you choose, make sure you’ve eaten it before (see No. 1).
- Don’t skip your coffee. Some runners think they shouldn’t have coffee on race morning because of potential laxative effects, but the benefits of caffeine are proven when it comes to enhancing your performance. Especially if you always drink coffee, to eschew a cup on race morning will leave you with less pep than in your usual step. Some runners even decrease coffee in advance of racing, so they can have some on race morning and get more of a jolt. What you put in your coffee should also be good for your gut. Laird Superfood makes all-natural powdered creamers (perfect for race-weekend travels!) designed to provide added energy. With no artificial ingredients, they are dairy-free, vegan and non-GMO. The base is a combination of coconut milk powder and coconut oil, Aquamin™ —these fats provide a slow-burn release of energy for 4–6 hours. Perfect for race day!