Race morning often puzzles athletes with the worrisome issue of what we should eat before reaching the starting line. Morning workouts can cause the same distress. We want to ensure that we have enough calories to have energy but not so much food in our bellies that we are feeling lethargic or searching for a port-a-john.
Combine Food Groups
Most individuals respond well when combining food groups for their pre-workout meal. Consuming protein along with complex carbohydrates will guarantee that you have energy throughout your entire workout. Carbohydrates will burn faster and will provide a quick boost of energy. As carbohydrates are depleted you will begin to utilize protein. Appropriate portion sizes will guarantee that your body maintains adequate glycogen stores in order to access and burn fat throughout the first hour of the workout.
Finding your perfect pre-workout meal is a challenge. It is important to experiment with different options in training. As race day approaches you should have an established routine that is comfortable for you physically as well as mentally. You will gain confidence from trusting a routine that has worked well in your training and you will be able to count on your body having a positive response on race day.
We are all Unique
Your pre-race breakfast is just as unique as your training. We each have different tastes, need different amounts of nutrients, and yes... we each have unique superstitions. Here is a look at how the Fleet Feet Staff approaches race day:
- Jefferson's race day breakfast is classic for a true southerner. He eats the top half of a biscuit from Bojangles.
- Anna eats peanut butter and a banana but gets a quick fix of caffeine with a small Diet Coke.
- Karlyn's breakfast is straight from Fleet Feet Sports - she has one Espresso Love GU - which is also her flavor of choice every 7 miles of a marathon.
- Rich is as precise in his measurements as he is fast in racing. He has one banana, one "playing card sized box of raisins", two miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and a 12oz cup of coffee.
- Tim's breakfast of champions is Vanilla Yogurt and Granola.
- And from the softball player on staff, Heather likes Sunflower Seeds, Gatorade X Factor, and Pixie sticks. She did clarify to say that was her pre-game choice rather than pre-run!
Moment of truth? My favorite breakfast is peanut butter on wheat toast or a Think Thin Bar from Whole Foods along with Grape Powerade Zero. I'll also snack on dry cereal. But the big secret is that I have a guilty love for Diet Mountain Dew - so I am sure to sneak in a sip or two pre-race!