Home > Blog

Maximizing Your Race Day Fueling Strategy: Insights from Nutrition Experts

Are gels and chews the be-all and end-all of race day fueling? Not necessarily. In our quest to optimize performance, it’s crucial to explore alternative approaches to fueling the body, especially as runners. That’s why we sat down with Jaclyn Sklaver and Gabby Barreto, seasoned dietitians at Athleats, to uncover the science behind proper hydration, refueling, and recovery strategies.

Carb Loading: Setting the Stage for Success

The infamous pasta night ritual before a race isn’t just a tradition; it’s rooted in science. Carbohydrate loading can significantly bolster glycogen stores, providing a performance boost of 2-3%. However, timing is key. Aim for carb-loading meals 24-48 hours before race day to reap the full benefits, rather than banking on a last-minute feast.

Pre-Race Meal: Fueling Up Right

Feeling those pre-race butterflies? While it’s common to lose your appetite, skipping your pre-race meal isn’t ideal. Opt for a high-complex carbohydrate meal 3-4 hours pre-race, keeping fats minimal to avoid digestive issues. And don’t forget a mini boost 30 minutes prior with easily digestible fruits like bananas for that extra kick.

Mid-Race Fueling: Finding Your Sweet Spot

The million-dollar question: when to take those energy gels? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Tailor your intake based on personal preference and performance needs. Generally, aim for 1 gel every 30-60 minutes during endurance events lasting over 2 hours. Experiment during training to find what works best for you.

Post-Race Recovery: Refuel and Replenish

Protein often steals the spotlight post-workout, but don’t overlook the importance of carbohydrates. Aim for 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight for every hour of exercise to replenish depleted glycogen stores. And don’t dilly-dally – refuel within 45 minutes post-exercise to maximize recovery.

Conclusion: A Balanced Approach to Race Day Nutrition

Race day nutrition isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a finely tuned balance of timing, quantity, and quality. By incorporating expert insights and fine-tuning your fueling strategy, you can unlock your full potential on the track or trail.

For a deep dive into race day nutrition, check out our full “Meet the Experts” video below!

Up Your Game With A Prehab Free Discovery Visit

Discover How to Fuel With An Athleats Nutrition Free Discovery Visit

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter!