RACE DAY FUELING - PART 3
As athletes we all know that recovery is important to bounce back from an event and continue performing well in the future. While the statement ‘eat something, soon’ is a good general practice to get your recovery going, lets face it, you could be doing more.
The race. Remember that a race is unlike training. You’re going longer, harder, and possibly in tougher conditions than in training. You are asking the most of your body and expecting to beat it up, leaving you in a very depleted state when you cross the finish line. What you eat afterwards can help or hinder how your body bounces back for future training and health in general.
How long was the event? More calories used up means more calories needed to replenish the body.
How are you feeling? All out depleted and famished or like you could keep going? The worse you feel, the more immediate the demand to consume food.
Past habits? If you’re an experienced racer, you should know what you typically eat afterwards. Be honest with yourself. Do you see the buffet of finish line food and load up your plate? Do you feel too sick and fatigued to take a single bite?
Race Conditions? Is there food available at the race? Some races offer post race buffets, or VIP tents with great options while others might have water and bananas. Is there food nearby? Many cycling events take place in middle of no where locals, if there is only a gas station within an hour of your race, you better be packing a cooler!
Resist Temptation! Athletes typically think of the post race meal as a free for all. While it is okay to indulge a little and reward your hard work and likely strict diet leading up the event with a nice treat... try not to go over board. Think of the meal you want and stick with it. For example, post marathon, I plan my meal - burger and milk shake. This is an indulgent meal for me! Staying focused on that meal option, lets me ignore the other treats. Indulging is one thing, over indulging will just create a sluggish, over stressed GI system.
What to do:
- Get something in asap - within 30 minutes.
- Cross that finish line and down a small chocolate milk, recover drink, or small food item
- Focus on carbohydrates with a small amount of protein (4:1 / 3:1)
- Yogurt + fruit
- Chocolate milk
- Banana + nut butter
- Do not try to over eat at this time. The goal is to give the body something to replenish without making you feel sick. Remember that your GI system is stressed from the race.
- ~2 hours later.
- Your body has time to relax and cool down.
- Aim to get nutrients as well as calories. Think of a complete meal (chicken and rice burrito / sandwich and smoothie ).
- Emphasis should still be on carbohydrates, with more protein/healthy fats and fiber making its way back to your diet.
- Give yourself a treat, not all the treats.
- Eating a large, super heavy, fatty, unhealthy meal might be appealing at this time, however, remember this will just further the damage done to your body.
Next Day Refueling:
- Your body is still stressed and has higher needs. The harder/longer your race, the more your body is still suffering.
- Even if you're resting, make sure intake is a focus.
- Foods should be clean, nutrient dense, and more carbohydrates than a normal rest day.
- Try fueling every few hours with small, healthful meals (small bowl of oats + fruit/ bowl of tomato soup/ turkey sandwich + apple / smoothie / salmon rice bowl + veggies/ milk +almonds)
Find the recipe to this super salad HERE