I USE THIS 02: My Race-Day Nutrition

>> Wednesday, August 10, 2011

If you've been racing a while, this post is probably of less interest to you. But if you're newer to endurance sports or multi-sport, this should help you out. Oh, but make sure to check out my thoughts on Nuun vs Gu Brew Tablets at the bottom of this post.


- If it's a shorter race (like a 5K) and it's within 2 hours, I'll have 1 packet of "maple brown sugar" instant oatmeal.

- If it's a longer race (like any duathlon or triathlon) and / or it's a few hours from starting, I'll have 2 packets of oatmeal. Sometimes I need to force all of this down. Especially if I'm nervous.


I NEVER want to feel hungry after breakfast before a race, so I usually have a few things next to me for the drive:

- A banana.

- A Vanilla Crisp PowerBar. I've been using PowerBars since they only made Chocolate (which tasted like a burnt Tootsie Roll - and not in a good way).

- A bottle of water.

- "Sharkies Kids Sports Chews." These are f*cking delicious. They're covered in sugar, so they don't stick to your teeth, and they are full of things that don't upset my stomach.

Get the ones in the pink package (above) or the blue package


Once I'm set up, I keep eating to keep hunger at bay until about an hour before the race. If the race is over an hours drive away, it's not uncommon for me to eat one PowerBar in the car, and one at the race site. And then:

- 1 Gu Roctane about 20 minutes pre-race.

- Water (or water with a Gu Brew electrolyte tablet in it if it's going to be a hot race).



- Nothing but water or sports drink (at aid stations) for any race 10 miles or less.

- For a half marathon, I'll carry one or 2 Gu Roctanes with me. If I have 2, I'll eat one just before an aid station (so I have water to wash it down with) around mile 4, and the other around mile 7 or 8. If I have just 1, I'll have it somewhere mid-race (again, just before an aid station).

MULTI-SPORT RACE (du or tri):

- Nothing during the first run in a du or the swim of a tri. (Well, usually a few ounces of lake water during a tri.)

- Starting the bike, I have water for the first few miles just to calm my stomach from the running or swimming that I just finished.

- During most races, I'll have another Roctane taped to my aero bars with electrical tape. Somewhere near the middle of the ride, I'll eat that gel. If it's an Oly or longer, I'll have 2 on the bike: one near the middle and one near the end. Oh, and I don't litter; I just cram the empty gel up my shorts until the end of the race. Here's a photo of the Gu left behind between my shorts after a duathlon last year:

- I'll have a bottle of water on the bike, and a bottle of "something else." In a shorter, hotter race, the "something else" might be Gu Brew tablet in water. If it's around an Olympic distance bike (25 miles), I'll have some Gatorade Endurance powder in water for some added calories. If it's a half ironman or longer, I'll have Carbo Pro mixed with a little Gatorade and water for even MORE calories.

- If it's a shorter race, I'm taking nothing but water on the final run (and I'm dumping a lot of it on my head / back). If it's a half ironman, I'm eating a few gels and trying to hold off that BONK that's sneaking up on me.


- After the Waseca sprint triathlon 10 days ago, it was getting warm and I know I had sweated a lot on the final run, so I had a bottle of water with a Gu Brew tablet on the way home.

- Sometimes I'll bring some "recovery drink" powder: usually Heed Recoverite or PowerBar Performance Recovery.


- Let's face it: Gu Brew tablets are like Nuun tablets. I started using Gu Brew tablets during my hard workouts as soon as it came out (early in 2011) because Gu had sent me some to try. There was ONE time during a hard workout that used Nuun, and my stomach got upset. I'm not saying it was the Nuun (really, I'm not), but that turned me off of Nuun for a while. I still have Nuun sometimes after a sweaty workout, but I feel "safer" with Gu Brew during races or hard workouts. But I have to point out that Gu Brew is sweetened with Stevia Leaf, which my recently pregnant Pharmacist wife did not use throughout her pregnancy because Stevia has "not been proven save in pregnant women." Nuun, however, is sweetened with sorbitol and polyethylene glycol - those ARE proven OK in a pregnant woman, BUT they can lead to "the poops" in some people.

- Gu sent me some Gu, some Roctane, and some Gu Brew tablets to review in the past, but that didn't sway my opinion. I love Roctane for harder workouts or races; it costs more, but it works! And the Brew tablets don't make me poopy (as I just described above).

For more info on some of what I mentioned above:
- My review of CarboPro
- My review of Roctane
- A long brick where I used a lot of Gu products


Luis Fernando Oliveira 5:33 PM, August 10, 2011  

These are proving to be quite interesting reviews. I can't wait for the "bowl of tutti-fruti" jammers review, though.

Penny 6:17 AM, August 11, 2011  

Great post. Love hearing about all the stuff you take pre, during, after a race.

Anavar Oxandrolone 1:55 PM, August 11, 2011  

Love the post. Love the sharkies even more. They are my secret weapon too.

Katie 3:07 PM, August 11, 2011  

This is very helpful and informative--thanks!

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