This article isn’t rocket science, but I feel I should address this every year to sprinters as well as distance runners:
Practice your pre-game meal all year ‘round with your pre-workout meal.
Don’t try something new before a big meet.
Makes sense, right?
Here are my 3 tips in the pre-game meal:
- The closer you are to start time, the less fat and oil you should eat as these food slow down absorption
- The closer you are to start time, the smaller the volume. But you want to eat enough so that by race time, hunger will NOT be a distraction.
- Water, preferably non-carbonated, and possibly other electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte, but not energy drinks (at least not yet… depending on the event, a pre-race drink with caffeine such as Redbull or Vitalyze may be beneficial)
There was a story on the 1984 Olympic Marathon winner, Carlos Lopes eating a plate of eggs and bacon for breakfast before the marathon. Most people wouldn’t eat that close to a race, let alone fat and protein before marathon when carbohydrates are known to be king. But that was his body, and he was accustomed to eating those particular foods on a regular basis.
My classic pre-game lunch was usually a club sandwich but change the fries for baked potato. Why? Because this is one meal a hotel restaurant cannot screw up. Unless that chicken is tainted, but that’s another story.
However, my “portable” lunch or pre-snack meal was usually a banana and a plain Montreal style bagel. I was also known for eating granola bars but looking back, there was way too much sugar in them.
Carbs, and that includes sugars, are important as it stabilizes the blood sugar levels you’ve maintained up to that point in the day with your “timed eating” habits. It also prevents any roller coaster peaks or dips in your energy levels during the track meet. Also, it provides some immediate usable energy from the circulating blood sugar it creates.
If you still feel as if you’re lacking a grasp for what you need to be eating (or if you’re a coach and feel that your athletes are missing the boat on this important topic) then check out Sports Nutrition Blueprint. It’s a step by step, simplified system for optimal sports nutrition called the TEEN SPORTS NUTRITION BLUEPRINT.
Sports nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be easy…if you have the right tools to make it easy, along with good ol’ common sense.