Pasta is not the only item you can eat to help top off those glycogen levels before a race. As a matter of fact I can’t recall the last time I had pasta as my meal before a race. On top of that in the past year and a half I have not had the night before carb mea and have moved that meal to two nights before the race. The reason I am bringing this up is that a few days ago Nicole of NEO Endurance Sports tagged this article to my Facebook wall. The article showcases what 8 professional triathletes eat the night before a race and none of them are pasta. I am going to rank the meals from top to bottom in terms of those that I would enjoy the most. After that I will discuss my eating habits on race weekend and where they came from.
Ben Hoffman - 2012 Ironman St. George winner
- Scrambled eggs, waffles, fruit, yogurt
Sarah Gr0ff - 2012 Olympian
- Cheese-less pizza
T.J. Tollakson - 2011 Ironman Lake Placid winner
- Steak, sweet potato, rice and lots of carrot cake (obviously I would replace the steak but you can’t go wrong with carrot cake can you?)
- Salad, steak or chicken and sweet potato (again replace the meat but sweet potatoes are a staple in my diet.)
- Chicken and rice (add tomato for Mirinda)
Rasmus Henning - 2012 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon winner
- Fish, bread and rice
Friday Night (this is my carb loading night): Cheese-less Greek Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust (tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, red onions), Falafel Pita, Greek Salad with no dressing (cucumbers and tomatoes), water and lots of it
- Saturday Morning (between 8am and 10am): 1 waffle with real maple syrup, 2 chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter, 1 scrambled egg, 2 slices of dry rye toast with peanut butter, water and lots of it
- Saturday Evening (4pm): Bowl of granola with 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 banana (sliced), 2 strawberries (sliced)
- Saturday Night (8pm): Herbalife 24 Rebuild Endurance Strength shake, 3 Lundberg Farms rice cakes topped with sliced banana and 1 Tbsp honey
- Sunday morning (race morning): Herbalife 24 Formula 1 shake with banana, bowl of granola with sliced strawberries and 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup coffee or green tea
- 1 hour prior to race start: Water with 100 calories of EFS Liquid Shot
By eating this way my body has the opportunity to digest all of the nutrients and remove those that are not needed. I have found that my body feels primed and ready to race come the start and better yet is that I don’t feel bloated when I start pouring the calories into my system during the bike ride. For me it is all about timing so that I feel great, not good, when I start my nutrition/hydration plan on the bike and follow through to the run.
This process has taken a lot of practice to get right and I suggest that you do the same. It is all about trial and error until you find what works for you. I have been fortunate to find that this has worked extremely well and is not a process I plan on breaking anytime soon.