8 Common Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid Before your Race
What are the most 8 common nutrition mistakes to avoid before your race?
Surely you have heard of carbo-loading the night before the race. That is supposedly the best time to restock muscles glycogen. But is that true? Not really. Keep reading if you would like to learn more about the most common nutritional mistakes marathon runners and endurance athletes make just before and during the race.
1. Eating something new/exotic
Go for simple and bland – This is one of my favorites! You have trained hard for your race and you are traveling to a new city. The temptations of exotic foods are alluring, but save unfamiliar food for after the race! Do not ruin months of hard work with eating something your body is not accustomed to.
2. Night before Carbo-loading and overeating
One problem with the traditional pasta feed the night before is that when you eat a very large amount of carbs, and do not use them immediately for energy, your body will convert them to fat. All carbs are metabolized into sugar. And high blood sugar is toxic to the body! So as soon as you have elevated blood sugar the body will release insulin to get rid of it. Insulin is your fat storing hormone and it coverts sugar into triglycerides. Excess sugar becomes fat rather than muscle glycogen. The best way to carbo-load is during the months preceding the race.
3. Eating too late the night before
The last meal before your start time should ideally be about 13 hours prior. If your race starts at 7:00 am you should eat your dinner around 6:00 pm the night before. If you are attending an organized pre-race dinner, just try to eat as early as you can. Do not overeat, and you should probably keep away from alcohol too, and save that for the post-race treat!
4. Eating too much fiber the day/night before
Fiber is great! During the months of training consume large amount of roughage in the form of fresh veggies and some fruit. But on the last day, slow down a bit. You can still have vegetables and salads but not as much as you normally have.
5. Breakfast foods and fuel
If you plan to travel and don’t know what will be available you may want to bring breakfast foods with you. You also want to find out what will be offered at the aid stations and train with that brand. Otherwise the best option is to bring your own fuel. My favorite brands are CarboPro Non GMO NSF certified which is practically flavorless plus Electrolyte Synergy for electrolytes and flavor.
6. Eating and drinking too late the morning of the race
If you are eating a solid meal before your race, you may need to eat 3 hours before. If you are having a liquid meal then 2 hours will most likely work. The key is to experiment in advance. This is why you should wake up 2-3 hours before your long workouts. By race day you will know exactly what you will eat the morning of the event.
7. Caffeine consumption
If you are a caffeine user and want to benefit even more from the caffeine effects on race day, you will need to go caffeine free for at least a week before. Caffeine has some performance enhancing properties. Not only does it give you more stamina, but it also dumps glycogen into the blood therefore creating more energy. But if you are having caffeine regularly you may not achieve the same edge. The problem is that if you are a habituated drinker and you stop you will have a withdrawal headache. On the other hand, if you never drink caffeine and do not know the effects it will have on you, then stay away, as you may have an unpleasant gastric response.
8. Hydration issues
Dehydration greatly diminishes your performance. It becomes noticeable at 2% or greater dehydration (3 pounds for a 150 pound body). Therefore you want to drink before you are thirsty. I typically recommend 24oz per hour, but this can vary depending on your sweating and the actual temperature. For the run you want to prefect your hydration so you are not hearing your stomach sloshing, or having to stop at the bathroom. Avoid overhydrating, hyponatremia, or being waterlogged. Too much water can dilute electrolytes which is also a problem. If you tend to have digestive issues try CarboPro Non GMO NSF certified plus Electrolyte Synergy. After your race – make sure you hydrate with plenty of water and electrolytes.
If you would like to discuss your specific fueling needs, in order to improv your recovery as well as performance, contact me at Tri Holistic Nutrition.