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What do you eat before a race?

JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
edited June 2018 in Amateur race
A full meal or something light, snacks, energy bars, gels etc. What’s your favourite way of preparation? How much and how often?

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    Depends. What kind of race? What time of day? What distance?
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    Imposter wrote:
    Depends. What kind of race? What time of day? What distance?

    Well that’s why I ask, I’m interested in what the difference is say in a TT that might start at 7am and a mid week Crit race that starts at 7pm. So any race, any time of day.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    7pm Crit.
    Normal breakie (porridge and fruit), decent lunch (no bread) - No coffee until about 4pm when I start overloading.
    About 5pm I'd have a decent sized home made granola bar with a banana and more coffee. I generally pick at fruit throughout the day (blueberries, blackberries etc)
    I've never felt hungry before a race so seems to work for me.
    Sign on at 6pm, warm up, fifteen to twenty mins before the race caffeine gel, plenty of water.
    Early morning Road Race.
    Pretty similar to the above. Porridge and fruit for breakie, with coffee. Granola bar on the way to the race. Caffeine gel and possibly a banana before the race. (I get up early and have an early breakfast to make sure I have sufficient time for the toilet!)
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    w00dster wrote:
    7pm Crit.
    Normal breakie (porridge and fruit), decent lunch (no bread) - No coffee until about 4pm when I start overloading.
    About 5pm I'd have a decent sized home made granola bar with a banana and more coffee. I generally pick at fruit throughout the day (blueberries, blackberries etc)
    I've never felt hungry before a race so seems to work for me.
    Sign on at 6pm, warm up, fifteen to twenty mins before the race caffeine gel, plenty of water.
    Early morning Road Race.
    Pretty similar to the above. Porridge and fruit for breakie, with coffee. Granola bar on the way to the race. Caffeine gel and possibly a banana before the race. (I get up early and have an early breakfast to make sure I have sufficient time for the toilet!)

    That 7pm crit schedule would cripple me! 'overloading' on coffee, followed by loads of fruit and another caffeine gel...my race would be to get to the toilet in time!

    To the OP, remember that for a < 1 hour race (evening TT, crit) it's quite hard to get through your stored muscle glycogen so what you eat will likely not make much of a difference. Just make sure you have eaten sensibly throughout the day and maybe a small snack beforehand (banana, granola bar, toast or sandwich), just make sure whatever you have doesn't sit in your stomach (eating too much, or too close to the race).
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Hi Joey,
    Here's a more detailed version of my schedule - not sure if it reads better like this that you still think its overkill?
    0600 Breakfast - porridge with fruit (handful of blueberries, maybe chopped strawberries). Cup of tea.
    0815 - School run and 3 mile walk with dog.
    0930 - 1000 - Snack on portion of blueberries and blackberries, may not finish so will eat through the day.
    1230 - Chicken or salmon salad.
    1600 - Double Espresso and a banana, may be almonds instead. (Bike prep)
    1715-1730 - Espresso and a home made granola bar.
    Ride to race at steady pace. (30 mins)
    1800 - Sign On.
    1820 - Start Warm Up.
    1840 - Quick Toilet break.
    1845 - Gel.

    I do need my fruit snack between 0930 and 1000, I couldn't go from 0600 until 1230 on just a bowl of porridge...well I could, but I do a 3 mile walk every day - while this is easy, I'm still peckish when I get back.
    Same as the time between lunch and a race, this includes a 30 min steady ride to the race, sign on, then warm up. So 50 minutes of exercise (30 easy but followed by a decent warm up). The race is then 1 hour plus 5 laps. (Or for tonight's race, 4 laps at what will be about 16 min laps - give or take a couple of falls (MTB race tonight))
    The only thing I would say may be excessive is the last gel, but that's just been habit and is now part of my routine.
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    joey54321 wrote:
    w00dster wrote:
    7pm Crit.
    Normal breakie (porridge and fruit), decent lunch (no bread) - No coffee until about 4pm when I start overloading.
    About 5pm I'd have a decent sized home made granola bar with a banana and more coffee. I generally pick at fruit throughout the day (blueberries, blackberries etc)
    I've never felt hungry before a race so seems to work for me.
    Sign on at 6pm, warm up, fifteen to twenty mins before the race caffeine gel, plenty of water.
    Early morning Road Race.
    Pretty similar to the above. Porridge and fruit for breakie, with coffee. Granola bar on the way to the race. Caffeine gel and possibly a banana before the race. (I get up early and have an early breakfast to make sure I have sufficient time for the toilet!)

    That 7pm crit schedule would cripple me! 'overloading' on coffee, followed by loads of fruit and another caffeine gel...my race would be to get to the toilet in time!

    To the OP, remember that for a < 1 hour race (evening TT, crit) it's quite hard to get through your stored muscle glycogen so what you eat will likely not make much of a difference. Just make sure you have eaten sensibly throughout the day and maybe a small snack beforehand (banana, granola bar, toast or sandwich), just make sure whatever you have doesn't sit in your stomach (eating too much, or too close to the race).

    I was racing on Wednesday, Hillingdon Masters. 1 hour + 5 laps. After half an hour guy in front popped a gel. I was thinking, why? I’m used to riding 1-2 hours with nothing but water, for longer runs usually take a bar, flapjack, Soreen or banana. I’m not really a fan of gels or sugary drinks. I’ve taken a couple in a two hour race and my stomach started to cramp.
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    w00dster wrote:
    7pm Crit.
    Normal breakie (porridge and fruit), decent lunch (no bread) - No coffee until about 4pm when I start overloading.
    About 5pm I'd have a decent sized home made granola bar with a banana and more coffee. I generally pick at fruit throughout the day (blueberries, blackberries etc)
    I've never felt hungry before a race so seems to work for me.
    Sign on at 6pm, warm up, fifteen to twenty mins before the race caffeine gel, plenty of water.
    Early morning Road Race.
    Pretty similar to the above. Porridge and fruit for breakie, with coffee. Granola bar on the way to the race. Caffeine gel and possibly a banana before the race. (I get up early and have an early breakfast to make sure I have sufficient time for the toilet!)

    Breakfast sometimes I eat cereal, but not very often. Not a huge fan. Sometimes toast, sometimes porridge with a bit of jam or honey. Porridge is a bit more of a faff. I’ve found recently though that I like yogurt with just plain oats on top, a bit of fruit and a little honey on top. Just chuck it in the bowl and mix it up. Banana, Soreen and flapjacks for snack food.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    3 Espressos within 90 mins...that would blow my head off. That's the equivalent of 5 pro plus tablets, then a caffeine gel on top of that later. Do you not have to sleep for days after these crits?

    As an aside, what is your 'normal' level of caffeine consumption?
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    JTUK wrote:
    Breakfast sometimes I eat cereal, but not very often. Not a huge fan. Sometimes toast, sometimes porridge with a bit of jam or honey. Porridge is a bit more of a faff. I’ve found recently though that I like yogurt with just plain oats on top, a bit of fruit and a little honey on top. Just chuck it in the bowl and mix it up. Banana, Soreen and flapjacks for snack food.


    If you find porridge a faff maybe look up overnight oats. They're pretty good, I have them most days.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Normal caffeine intake for me (non race day) - is coffee for breakfast. Espresso before I go and train (normally about 4pm), currently focusing on mountain bike training, generally 2 hours, 1 hour of that is similar to a HIIT session,1 hour is skills based, going back through different sections of the trail, trying different lines etc. (If its cold I'd also have a small coffee between the first one hour of training and the second)
    After mountain bike training I have a 1.5 hour drive home, so sometimes also have a coffee for the journey home.
    If indoor training (Wattbike), coffee consumption is the same, just the one after training would be at home and likely to be decaff.
    A lot of my riding is based on long endurance riding (12/24 hour mountain bike). As such caffeine and caffeine gels is the norm.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Just checked and no caffeine gels left for tonight's race - Noooo!!
    Never really found porridge a faff, pour oats into bowl, add milk, pop in microwave. Stir. Back in microwave. Add honey and fruit. Eat. Less than 4 minutes in total and no extra dishes.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    m&M's coca cola, rice pudding....... i.e caffine and carbs. Porridge barely touches the sides for me.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    w00dster wrote:
    Just checked and no caffeine gels left for tonight's race - Noooo!!
    Never really found porridge a faff, pour oats into bowl, add milk, pop in microwave. Stir. Back in microwave. Add honey and fruit. Eat. Less than 4 minutes in total and no extra dishes.

    Maybe because it’s hot, thick and gloopy when it comes out the microwave, it takes ages for me to shovel it down. I’m never really hungry first thing in the morning, it’s just a case of getting something in the stomach. Cold yogurt and oats seems easier to stomach.
  • ProssPross Posts: 24,248
    For me gels and energy bars are 'in race' nutrition as they give easy access to energy on the move but for a 1 hour crit evening crit (if I was still racing) I would eat lunch pretty late and go for something high in low GI carbs then a few snacks of 'real' food such as bananas or fruit loaf but nothing within an hour of racing. Keep hydrated all day but nothing from around 1 hour before you start until just before you get going.

    For morning races I'd go for a cereal with high levels of carbs or maybe toast with honey about two hours before the start and then maybe a banana about an hour before, get a good high carb meal in the previous night and the glycogen stores will hopefully be full. I don't bother taking food on during any exercise less than 90 minutes but appreciate everyone is different.
  • BenjoMunroBenjoMunro Posts: 14
    joey54321 wrote:
    JTUK wrote:
    Breakfast sometimes I eat cereal, but not very often. Not a huge fan. Sometimes toast, sometimes porridge with a bit of jam or honey. Porridge is a bit more of a faff. I’ve found recently though that I like yogurt with just plain oats on top, a bit of fruit and a little honey on top. Just chuck it in the bowl and mix it up. Banana, Soreen and flapjacks for snack food.


    If you find porridge a faff maybe look up overnight oats. They're pretty good, I have them most days.

    I turned to overnight oats this year, brilliant breakfast. I do 40g oats, low fat coconut Greek yogurt (pots from Aldi are 125g), 150g almond milk, handful of almonds, chia seeds, banana. I'll stick some chocolate portein powder in there some mornings after a hard training session or if I'm doing a fasted ride. It's like dessert for breakfast and keeps me full.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    #OOs are great! I've been eating them for years. The only time I make porridge now is if I want the extra protein of putting an egg in (try it, it's great and really creamy!)
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    I once ate an easter egg before a Nat B...didn't help.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    joey54321 wrote:
    If you find porridge a faff maybe look up overnight oats. They're pretty good, I have them most days.
    Similar thing here. I soak granola & porridge oats with some almonds, chopped apricots, raisins, shredded coconut, all in rice milk. Maybe chop in a small banana or a kiwi if there's one to hand. This works for me as brekkie before a morning TT or teatime snack before heading out to an evening race. I've eaten porridge in the morning for years but not before a race.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    joey54321 wrote:
    #OOs are great! I've been eating them for years. The only time I make porridge now is if I want the extra protein of putting an egg in (try it, it's great and really creamy!)

    Had eggs and porridge in the past. Quite good if you want something filling.
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    DavidJB wrote:
    I once ate an easter egg before a Nat B...didn't help.

    Good point. Noted. Although I'm racing at 7PM and just had a Magnum Classic, well it is 24C outside at the moment :lol:
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