Today on FeedZoneCookbook.com, we welcome a guest, professional triathlete Jessica Broderick. Jessica races on the highly competitive and fast-paced ITU circuit. In this post, Jessica offers a pro triathlete’s perspective on how to fuel for race day and what she’d do to prepare for this weekend’s Life Time Tri Minneapolis. (Remember, the key to race day nutrition is sticking to a tried-and-true plan. Race morning is not the time to try something new.)
For me, a typical race morning breakfast consists of oatmeal with some nuts, brown sugar and almond milk, plus a large cup of coffee, and a bottle of water. Biju’s Oatmeal from The Feed Zone Cookbook is a great recipe.
I try to have breakfast about 3 hours before competition. For a race like Life Time Tri Minneapolis, with a 7 a.m. start time, this time frame might be difficult. But it’s important to leave enough time for digestion prior to the start of the race.
If I feel like I am getting hungry as the morning progresses, I will eat something small like a rice cake with almond butter (check out Allen Lim’s Rice Cakes), or consume a gel about 30 minutes before the race start. I also sip a diluted bottle of Cytomax for the hour preceding my race.
Adjusting Nutrition for Weather Conditions
The weather for Life Time Tri Minneapolis is looking hot (upper ‘80s- low ‘90s), so I’d add two salt tablets to breakfast and tape two more to my bike frame, even though I might not actually need them during the race. It’s amazing, though, how a little extra sodium can erase dizziness or sluggishness during a hot race.
On the bike I would have one bottle of water and one bottle of Cytomax (not diluted), plus two gels taped to my frame. The top gel (the one I consume first) is non-caffeinated, and the second gel (which I consume towards the end of the bike or at the beginning of the run) will have caffeine. Since hot weather will be a factor this weekend in Minneapolis, I would try to drink the entire bottle of Cytomax, and at least half of the water bottle. Sometimes I only get one gel down on the bike, but I always rip the second one off to take on the run in case I feel like I need a boost!
Pre-race nutrition is very important, but I always think carefully about post-race meals because of how much certain foods can help speed up recovery. Just like after hard training sessions, I try to consume a bottle with glutamine, Carbo-pro and protein within 20-30 minutes after the race. It’s easy to just go for the post race hamburgers and cookies (and they are well deserved!), but I think healthier foods just work better.
I also try to eat a meal balanced with carbohydrates and protein within a few hours of race finish. I also like tomato juice since it is so high in sodium. The Feed Zone Cookbook has a ton of great recovery meals. Check out Chicken Fried Rice and Recovery Grilled Cheese.
Sometimes it is hard to stomach food, especially in the conditions that athletes will face on Saturday in Minneapolis. But good nutrition is even more important when it’s hot.
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