Mikki’s Top Tips for race day
Depending on hunger, aim to consume little and often. Everyone is individual so it’s finding out what works best for you. People are often good on every 30-40 minutes. Some people feel awesome with nothing.
Sports bars with minimal ingredients make the most convenient choices. Brands such as RAW energy bars, or a Balance Natural Whey bar (cut into quarters and gladwrapped) can be grabbed out every 30-40 minutes to snack on. Some other ideas to play around with include
- Potato or kumara, roasted in coconut oil and chopped into bite sized snacks
- Sports gel (1/2 at a time, decant into a larger fuel bottle so you don’t need to waste it)
- ½ banana
- Small handful of cashews or almonds
- Squares of dark chocolate or cheese (for early on in race when it is easier to tolerate fat)
- Drink 150-300 ml before training (within an hour of starting, actual tolerance for fluid varies)
Work on a sip-often approach to fluid consumption during training. It’s ideal to incorporate some sodium within your fluid of choice. If you are using a commercial sports drink, you’re best to dilute it by half as they are generally too high in carbohydrate to allow for effective absorption into the small intestine. You will also want to add ¼ tsp of salt to your bottle (for every litre) to aid absorption. While individual requirements differ, the maximum amount to be consuming is generally considered to be 600ml-800ml per hour. Too much more than this (particularly if not consuming electrolytes) can lead to dilution of electrolytes in the body and a condition known as hyponatraemia. Women and people over the age of 60 are particularly susceptible to this.
Chia-based sports drink:
- ¼ cup chia seeds + ¼ cup unsweetened blackcurrant drink or lemon juice + ¼ tsp salt in 750 ml water bottle.
RECOVERY AFTER EACH EVENT
Given this is a series, it is important to pay more attention to your nutrition in the week after the event if you want to recover quickly and continue training. Our body will replenish its carbohydrate stores, so we don’t have to consume massive amounts of these despite popular belief. Sure, include them, but focus on good quality protein and fat to help support restoration and recovery of muscle tissue and structures broken down during such a hard effort. Plenty of in-season vegetables to provide antioxidants is also important, and if you were interested in further insuring your recovery (to get out and do it all again), a probiotic in the week before and week after, and regular intake of a quality omega 3 fish oil capsule can reduce stress on the gut and inflammation.
Mikki Williden [PhD Registered Nutritionist]