Race-Day Nutrition Plan Homework

We just finished part 1 of our multi-part series on planning your race/event-day nutrition, and of course there is homework for you to complete! If you didn’t make that webinar, we’ll soon post the recording of Create a Race Day Nutrition Plan, Part 1 for Live Members. Here’s a quick summary of the homework questions to help you begin your planning process:

  1. What worked (and did not work) in the past?
  2. What are your go-to fuels and fluids for the event?
  3. What fuels/fluids just don’t seem to work for you?
  4. What are the demands of the event?
  5. How much time before your event?

Reply here with questions, comments, etc. or use your “ask a coach” question to get an individualized reply as you plan your strategy for the coming season.

Coach Ryan

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The link above doesn’t lead to recording, it leads to the page where you register for Q&A sessions/workouts?

Hi James, thank you for the note! I’ve updated that to reflect the location where the webinar will go. From the Live drop-down menu you will be always be able to access past-recordings, but that direct link will take you straight there.
Coach Ryan

The above link is now updated with the Live Webinar recording.

When I started doing long distance stuff (Brevets, Gravel) I realized that I needed to eat about 500 calories an hour to match my energy expenditures. That is above the generally referenced 70g/hr or 90g/hr ceiling listed in texts for carb absorption. Like most things I guess this is trainable/adaptable because after training with this in mind I can easily tolerate 500 cal/hr in training and in “lower” intensity long races (ie 200m Gravel.)

To train my gut and my habit I eat every ride (unless I’m specifically riding fasted) and have my Garmin alert me to eat every 30 minutes. I do a bar or equivalent (200-250cal) every 30 minutes. It has become automatic in training and also in racing.

For shorter higher intensity races I do 1/2 this every 20 minutes. So 1/2 bar or 1 gel every 20 minutes. For MTB races I know I can’t get my hands off the bars safely to feed regularly so I carry liquid fuel (I prefer SPIZ a RAAM product) and get 500cal a bottle that I drink every hour. I practice this fueling whenever MTBing.

When I do a series of daily crits like Dairyland or Intelligentsia Cup I do a bottle of SPIZ during the race, with a water bottle, mainly because I know I need to start the refueling for the next day so might as well start it during the race!

James, great points, particularly about your series of crits and focusing on refueling for the next day while you are racing! That is such an important part of a good nutrition mindset.

It sounds like you’ve been able to get some good gut training and have a very good range of energy intake that has worked for you. It’s scalable for the event duration and intensity, which is exactly what we want to achieve.

So how long did it take you to get your nutrition dialed in for these different events?

Coach Ryan

Honestly once I realized that I needed 500 cal/hr and that I should set a timer for every 30 min on my Garmin to remind me it just happened. I think it was due to the fact that I just started doing it every ride every time and most of my rides are low intensity. This allowed absorption to adapt so that my gut was ready to do it during higher intensity races. Hard group rides give a chance to adapt the absorption during higher intensity but it is easier to eat during a hard group ride than a race. They are more predictable.

As I mentioned I predict that I might not be able to absorb as much during racing. My Garmin is set to alert me every 20 minutes during racing rather than 30 minutes while training. I eat 100 cal (a gel or 1/2 bar) every 20 minutes racing giving me 300-350 cal/hr rather than a bar every 30 min 500 cal/hr.)

Interestingly I might feel hungry while training at lower intensity eating more than I do while racing!

Funny, when I used foods that didn’t work for me (Ensure, high electrolyte springs) during races it took me several races to figure out that was why I felt crappy during the race!