RACE DAY PREPARATION
DAILY FOOD INTAKE
Keep your food intake, clean, simple and coming from a variety of sources. Choose more nutrient dense foods and limit processed foods. When choosing fruits and vegetables, pick foods that are local and in season. Eat enough food that is balanced with your daily energy expenditure.
Carb-loading and night prior meal
There is no need to eat excessive amounts of carbs the night before. Stick to real foods, starches from vegetables to replenish glycogen stores (such as sweet potato), limit fibrous foods to a moderate amount to reduce the risk of race day number twos and a light and lean piece of protein such as salmon.
Reduce alcohol intake the day before a race as it can decrease your VO2max performance the next day by a little over 11%. That could mean the difference between a successful comfortable race, podium and a wasted race preparation. Save the celebration for the finish line.
Morning meal prior to race
Everyone is different and so will you morning meals. Whatever works for you, keep in mind the longer the race, the greater the need for low GI carbohydrates. Eat meals no later than 60-90min before your race to avoid witnessing it come back up.
Generally: The most common approach to water consumption is 2 litres daily and up to an extra litre when exercising.
A more modern approach is based on your daily calorie intake or energy expenditure.
Take your daily calories burnt and multiply it by 1 ml.
- 1Kcal = 1 ml
- Total calories / 250 = # cups of water
Note: this doesn't account for sweat loss during exercise.
During: Water requirements prior to exercise vary depending on how much you sweat, exercise intensity, environment conditions, and body size and composition. However, a good guideline for working out water intake for exercise is drinking 5-7mls of water per kg of bodyweight, 3hours prior to exercise. In hot weather it may be wise to consume another 250-500ml before exercise. Sports drinks such as True Protein's Endurance Fuel may be beneficial.
Post: If time is short before your next race or exercise session, aggressive hydration is important. Drink 1.5 litres of water for every kg of body weight lost. Additional fluid is needed to compensate for increased urine output. Consume adequate electrolytes as well as salty snacks that provide sodium and carbohydrates.
To avoid cramps and race day dehyration, try adding a pinch of quality salt such as pink or celtic salt to your drinking water. This will help your body retain water like a sponge, just like carbs would, decreasing your chance of dehydration of hot days. If your prone to cramping, use a salt supplement like salt sticks the day before and of the event.
If completing an event longer than 1hr, consider using a high GI carb and electrolyte drink such as True Protein's True Endurance Fuel for energy and replenishing essential minerals. If on the go and need instant replenishing on the run, try taking a power or energy gel after 30-45min and every 15-30min thereafter depending on the exercise intensity.
Beetroot supplements, such as True Protein's Beetroot Powder, is a nutrient dense supplement with many health and endurance benefits for athletes. Viatmins A, B, C; antioxidants beta-carotene and beta-cyanine; folic acid, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and fiber are just some to name a few.
However the most important benefits come from its betalains, which causes its colour, and also contains nitrogen which provides both antioxidants, anti-inflammation, and nitrate, which converts into nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator. This effect provides an increase in blood flow to the working muscles, making it easier for you to generate mitochondria power, and therefore produce energy. To put it simply, its increases your economy with no increase in oxygen cost of exercise.
Add it to your pre-race morning smoothy with some low GI carbs and moderate protein source, and you've got yourself a easy and complete energy source for exercise.
WHAT TO WEAR
Lean more towards form-fitting synthetic clothing such as compression shirts, tights and under-shorts.
Run in minimalist trail shoes with aggressive tread and a low profile, such as the Inov8 X-Talon range.
Wear long running socks or tights if your event includes rope climbs to avoid rope burn.
Avoid cotton as it rips easily and gets waterlogged.
Don't wear shoes with Gore-Tex. They get the water out, but also keep the water in.
Avoid wearing glasses or a hat on. You will lose them in the mud. Use sport specific sunscreen for sun protection.
Gloves is a personal preference. My advise is never race with something you haven't used during training. If using gloves, cut the fingertips for quick drainage.