Everyone has a “go to” breakfast before that hard training ride or race. If you don’t fall into this group, become a member of the “go to” pre-race meal/routine society…it will pay dividends down the road.
Here’s a look at what I go with before my long rides/races.
Coach Funston’s Pre-Race (or race simulation) Meal:
- Oatmeal (1 dry cup which I mix with hot water, ~300 cal’s, 54g carbs, low sugar, 10g protein, 6g fat per) – Overall low glycemic load but plenty of carbohydrates to provide fuel once the race begins. At home I add cinnamon for some extra flavor.
- 2 Bananas (1 medium banana, ~100 cal’s – 27g carbs, 15g sugar, 1g protein, <1g fat) – One banana in the oatmeal, another banana to eat about 30 minutes before race starts. High in one of our favorite electrolytes – potassium!
- Peanut butter (1 Tbsp, ~100 cal’s, high fat, high protein, low carb) – Slower burning fuel. Not all peanut butter is created equal…read your labels and avoid those loaded with sugar an other additives. I don’t over do things on the peanut butter.
- Coffee – love that caffeine and jump starts that system…
- Water bottle full of high quality H2O – sip until race time
Simple and to the point. Is there a reason behind the simplicity?
I’m glad you asked….
As we recommend to all of our athletes, never change up anything on race day. I know how my body responds to the above meal. I know it does not cause any GI (gastrointestinal) issues. I know it provides me with a good mix of fuels and allows me to perform at a high level.
But, I also know that I can generally get this meal at any hotel with a complimentary breakfast. Knowing this, I don’t have to worry about extra planning or prepping. I am able to keep my routine and start my race knowing that I am fueled and knowing how my body will handle that fuel. There is no doubt about my nutrition, which allows me to relax and just focus on the remainder of my pre-race routine.
Why do I limit the “fast burning” food choices for longer duration races?
You will also notice that I have a mix of protein, carbs, and fats. I like to limit the amount of simple sugars during this pre-race meal to make sure my body doesn’t inhibit fat oxidation and go straight to burning my stored glucose. Once the race is underway, depending on intensity and heart rate levels, I’ll switch to the faster burning fuels like bars and gels.
What about meal timing?
This all depends on the intensity and duration of the race/ride I am preparing for. I’ll share with you soon a chart on how I change my meal and meal timing based on the event distance and intensity in the future. For now, as a general rule, I like to make sure there is AT THE VERY LEAST 90 minutes or more of digestion time.
What’s your favorite pre-race meal? Comment below and let us know!
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