A lot of people do a lot of different things the week before a race in terms of glycogen depletion and carbo-loading. There’s the folks who swear by depleting and subsequent loading, there are people that pile on the carbs regardless of distance being raced, and then there are the ones that are somewhere in the middle — they carb load the few days leading up to a longer distance race but don’t deplete.
What do I do? I guess if I’m placed in any of those subgroups, I would likely fit in with the “somewhere in the middle” crew, perhaps leaning more to the depletion end of the spectrum. Since it’s race week and all, and racing is clearly at the forefront of every single activity I do this week, and since it’s also Food & Drink week for the Friday Five, I’ll give you five things I eat (or don’t) during the week leading up to a big race.
Five Things I Eat (or Don’t) During Race Week
1. I focus a LOT on water. I love water. Like loooooove water. If I could, I would marry it. But that’s not to say I drink enough of it on a day to day basis. I’m probably with the majority of people who think they’re drinking enough water but really aren’t. During race week I double down on water intake. I have a full water bottle with me at all times.
2. Starting on the Monday before a race I start introducing a few more carbs here and there. For example, instead of eating something fibrous for breakfast, I may eat half a bagel instead. Just little replacements along the way. Nothing too crazy.
3. I eat lots of fiber up until two days before the race. If I’m racing on Sunday, that means I basically stop all fiber intake starting on Thursday. If I’m racing on Saturday, I stop eating fiber on Wednesday. I like to give my body two days to adjust.
4. After I stop eating so many salads, beans, and fruits, I start focusing more on peanut butter, bagels, and pastas. I love me some good carbs so I really enjoy eating them all. Two of my favorite dinners in the days leading up to the race (or any long run for that matter): pasta and garlic bread, and challah and Swiss chard quiche. This year will be a little different since I’ll be attending the Ambassador Reception on Shabbat (so no challah this year), but I’m certain there will be lots of options available for all the carbs!
5. The morning of the race I don’t eat much. I prefer to run on an empty stomach and fuel as needed. However, I know that’s not always the best approach. If I eat something it will be a slice of toast with jelly, maybe some oatmeal depending on how I’m feeling, and I’ll bring a snack with me to eat just before the race begins.
While what I eat (or don’t) may not work for everyone before a big race, it’s what works for me. It’s definitely been a lot of trial and error over the years and there are still some races that it doesn’t work in my favor. But for the most part, it does. Here’s hoping it works for this race, too!
Have a great weekend, friends! See you back here on Monday!
TALK TO ME!
Which camp do you fall in before a big race: deplete and reload, or traditional carbo-loading?
What’s your go-to pre-race breakfast?