Now getting everything right for a race is tough. For runs it’s about getting your kit sorted, packing bags getting the obligatory kit photo before the race onto Twitter. For Triathlon it’s all about trying to fit all the kit you think you need for the race into the car and then double checking you have the essentials!
The one thing I have never been very good at until I started to work with Science in Sport asa brand ambassador was my Pre, During and Post Race Hydration and Fuelling. (This is obvious with my Blog on Hyponatremia) Luckily now that I’m a SiS Ambassador I have access to their team of nutritionists and Scientists. This blog will refer to SiS products and will include a cheeky discount code at the end. If you don’t like SiS then I’m sure it can be replaced by other brands but beware of things like osmosis! (More later)
So here is what I have gleamed from Ted Munson and the rest of the team…….
Pre racing –
To Carbo Load or not
Carbo loading was massive years ago but with current fuelling techniques and science, cramming pasta the night before a Marathon may not have such an effect as you hope. Carbo loading needs to be done over time, one meal won’t make you a super hero.
Losing just 3% of your fluid can make a huge performance dip. With this in mind you need to pre hydrate. Sports drinks are good but are full of sugar and water will not be absorbed by the body and just pass through. I find the Go Hydro range is great for this. With salts and virtually 0 calories it will keep your fluid and salt levels topped up ready for the start line.
During the Race
If it is a short race (Less than an hour) you may not need fuel but caffeine could have an effect on you performance in a positive way. I’ll talk about caffeine later.
Longer running Races – I as along with others used to fuel up too late. We cannot absorb enough carbohydrate per hour to our usage so we will be in debt and this will cause issues later in the race. With this in mind the guys at SiS say start fuelling early. Don’t go on mileage but time. If you like gels (My favourite is the Orange flavour) suggestion is 1 every 20 mins with 22grams of carbohydrate per gel the recommendation is between 60g to 90g per hour depending on your size. I personally swap in a caffeine gel after an hour too and the 1 every further hour.
If you are a heavy sweater…. I am I look like a race horse after 10 miles! You need to think about salt replacement too! I love the Electrolyte Gels and they are perfect for this too!
Longer Cycling Races – People like to mix it up on the bike… Solid food, liquid and gels. I love this approach but tend to lean towards liquids rather than solids. On the bike I mix Gels and Go Energy Bars (25g of Carbs and low in fats) but also rely on Go Electrolyte Drinks too. Lots of people don’t realise that as well as fluid and salts these drinks have 36g of carbs per 500ml this makes them ideal for simple fuelling on the bike.
My old idea of a glass of water or beer (depending on how bad the race went) the banana given to me at the end and a coffee if I could get one has topped.
I have found the delights of SiS Rego a protein shake that has all you need to refuel, replenish and repair after a race. It has a mix of Carbs, Salts and Protein and when mixed with water it contains the fluid needed too. Since using it on a regular basis I have noticed I don’t get DOMs as much after sessions and races.
If a shake is not possible (I always have a few in sachet form if away from home) the new Whey 20 protein gels are a good stop gap with some Go Hydro. With 20g of Protein, some BCAs to help absorption and low calories it’s a great way of boosting your protein intake too!
If you have a heavy race/training schedule I would strongly suggest using the Overnight Protein too. With a mix of Casein and Whey you get slow release throughout the night helping muscles to repair and prepare for the next day!
A lot has been written about the use of caffeine to help in sport. Some love it and some don’t. The theory is that it lowers your perception of effort. This means you can work harder.
It’s defiantly something that’s worth playing with. For long races, using a caffeine Gel 1 hour into an event can help, or 15mins before that killer hill! If it is a short race with no need for extra energy the new Caffeine Shots are great or the Go Hydro Caffeine are perfect as they can be taken pre-race. Word of warning don’t leave trying caffeine to race day!
Words of Wisdom (Not from Me!)
I had always been an athlete that saved my nutrition for best! However if you only use gels and other nutritional aids in races you will find you cannot push as hard as you could and not get the gains you want. Train Smart = Fuel Smart this means up your carbohydrates and protein intake on training days. To stay injury free and push yourself your body needs the fuel and protein, So Fuel to Train and Fuel to race!
Now as an ambassador I have a 10% discount code that I can share with people. This will give you a further 10% off your basket regardless of any deals you have used on the SiS website. This code can be used over and over again so feel free to use it!