Running over the last three years I can admit that most of my races have ended with me typically having to celebrate with my sidekick of tummy issues from anywhere from 12 – 24 hours after the race. After doing some research, experimenting with numerous gels, having some attribute it to how my body processes the stress of a race and me being overall a tad frustrated by the whole situation. Not only is it a pain to deal with, I run a increased risk of dehydrating after a race and it’s just a pain in my butt – no pun intended.
During my training throughout the winter and while racing both Ragnar and Waterfront 10k I took a different approach that I previously had, I went back to the basics and just tried to fuel on clean, minimal and simple foods in the hope that I would find some success. At Waterfront 10k I found that success! Fueling before the race, with no gel during, pumping back some organic baby food post race and lost of water I was feeling good and enjoying a post-race meal for the first time in a long time.
Week Prior to Toronto Triathlon Festival
The week leading up to TTF I kept my eating normal, while I had been toying with the idea of eliminating dairy/wheat/gluten/egg/soy from my diet again, now was not the time leading into a race weekend. I ensured that I was drinking more than enough water on a daily basis, going to bed on time and keeping my training to a low impact/stretch based regime. It was important for me to put some things on hold so that I could focus on preparing for the race by taking care of myself.
Day Prior to Toronto Triathlon Festival
A steady shakeout swim in the books for Saturday morning and a lot of relaxing + stretching was on the calendar for the day. Ever where I went I had my trusty Nuun waterbottle with me and my goal was to consume at least six bottles over the course of the day. While the weather for race day was forecasted to be overcast it was also going to be hot and humid, hydration the day before would be key to ensuringI felt good on the course throughout the race.
I kept my diet pretty basic and full of carbs on Saturday – toast + PB for breakfast, a ham sandwhich for lunch, a protein shake, some bland pasta as a snack and a burger for dinner. I continued to drink water up until bed time and packed-up my fuel for tomorrow with my kit before I turned in for as much sleep as I could get before my alarm went off at 5:00am.
Race Day – Pre-Race
One lesson I learned last year at TTF was to bring my own personal supply of water, while there is water on site there was line-ups last year and it bringing your own ensures one less thing to worry about on race day. The morning of the race I packed my two bike bottles on my bike – one with water and one with Nuun Performance – I also packed my arm ban with a tab of Nuun in it and two spare water bottles full of just water to consume prior to the race and during transition/post race if needed.
To keep myself organized in my transiton I packed all of my fuel into a make-up bag which would be my go to place to grab food or a snack during transitions. It also helped when setting up transition to have key items grouped together in bags or secitons of my backpack to help with locating all of the essentials. Before I left the house I ate half of my pre-race meal, good old white kaiser roll with smooth peanut butter on it, this has been my pre-race meal for the past three years and it never fails me. Followed by lots of water and no coffee, coffee is a reward post race.
Race-Dace – On the Course
One peanut butter sandwhich complete and a bottle of water down it was time for me to shake the nerves, gather my wetsuit and get ready to head out of transition to prep for the swim. Here is a breakdown of how I fueled while I was on the course:
- Transition 1: Honey Stinger – Honey Waffle + 1/2 a PC Organics Apple + Cherry Baby Food Pouch
- On the Bike: one bottle of Nuun Performance + partial bottle of water
- Transition 2: Honey Stinger – Vanilla Flavoured Waffle +1/2 a PC Organics Apple + Cherry Baby Food Pouch
- On the Run: two arm bottles with Nuun Tab
I followed my race fuel plan to a t, I was proud of how my I consumed on the bike as it really helped me on the run, I think I would have been really thirsty on the run had I not had the hydration on the bike. I am also VERY impressed with Nuun Performance, it’s a new product from Nuun that made it’s debut earlier this year. Designed for those longer rides and efforts of extra endurance the product is designed to give an athelete more of what they need to help keep them hydrated longer. I’ve been utilizing this product during my training this season and have noticed a difference, especially on those hot bikes in the morning.
I had also packed some Honey Stinger Chews and a PB&J sandwich as back-up options should I feel the need to have something extra at some point during the race, I didn’t need to consume either of those.
Race Day – Post Race
I was hesitatnt to eat right after the race but I knew it was important to put something on my stomach, especially if I was going to be hanging out at the expo after the race waiting for our crew members completing the Sprint distance. My post race-food included the following:
- A lot of water – I lost track but at minimum it was two bottles
- 1/2 a Hero Burger – I was hungry but not for a burger, I had half to put something on my stomach to start refueling post race
- 2 broken Chips Ahoy Cookies – they bring out the kid in all of us, I had these while I waited in line for my massage and who says no to cookies?!
All-in-all I am very happy with how I felt during this race for both food and hydration, I not only had a good time on the course but I felt really good after the race and there were no tummy issues to report. WIN! I’m going to continue to tweek this system, it’s working so I’m not going to change it but as the distances get longer I will need to make some minor adjustments to ensure this continues to work for me. Big thanks to everyone who continues to share their race tips and fuelign tricking on their social channels, everything I have tried to get me to this ‘happy place’ with my race day fueling is in part to everyone who shares their successes/failures in food/hydration.