Race Day Nutrition

Race Day Nutrition

Posted by Kate's Real Food on 2nd Aug 2016

Kate’s Real Food Ambassador, Molly Breslin is a USA Triathlon Coach and the founder of 22Tri. 22Tri provides highly specialized individual training plans and coaching for athletes. With a background in Western Medicine, dedication to nutrition and an enthusiastic and accomplished athlete, Molly is the perfect person to ask how does someone eat well for race day.

It’s not a voodoo approach, just common sense for training and getting on the podium. Molly’s a practicing nurse anesthetist who has worked in over 50 hospitals across the country. She’s been racing triathlons, duathlons, running, mountain biking, and adventure racing events since the mid-1990s. With 150 triathlons (on and off-road) under her belt and a passport that includes racing in France, India, Nepal, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, she has qualified for and competed in USA Triathlon on and off-road (Xterra) national championships several times.

Molly frequents the podium because she understands what works and improves performance with a healthy infrastructure. Molly was ranked as one of the 50 best female amateur triathletes in the Best of the US Amateur Triathlete Competition in 2005. When I caught up with her at Jackson Whole Grocer, she had just gotten Third Woman overall in the Delaware Ohio Mingo Man Triathlon a few days before. Powered by a Stash Bar and a banana, Molly’s had her pregame routine down for years, happily claiming that she’s powered by Kate’s Real Food bars.

"Kate's Bars and Bites are my go-to pre-race meal when I'm away from home for competitions. Kate's has the perfect combination of carbohydrates (simple and complex), protein and fat to provide me with sustained energy that puts me on the podium. The ingredients are whole and almost all organic. All the Kate's products taste incredible and are easily digested. I never have to worry about any stomach upset when racing with Kate's.”

Race day begins well before race day, it starts weeks, sometimes months in advance. And what you eat on Race Day needs to be thought of weeks or possibly months in advance. It’s not just the nutrition and training that goes into meals but also understanding how your body is going to react during an endurance trial or high level training. We’re all wired a little differently. “The most successful athletes are eating well and looking at the bigger picture of nutrition. Ask yourself does your body know what fuel is, what your body type and temperature dictate?” It’s not crazy stuff but it does require some magnifying glass time on personal habits.

“Bodies are fueled with carbs. In an Ironman, a 10-12 hour run, about 7000-8000 calories are burned. The recommendation is that you replace half of that during the event,” according to Molly. Event pre meals are key and should be eaten 2-2.5 hours before start time. Balanced food choices of protein, fat and carbs are what the body needs to perform. Eggs and complex carbs from a quality whole grain such as oatmeal or quinoa are ideal choices. Fresh fruit and water are next. But understand your preferences. “High fiber fruits can be hard to manage and super high fat foods such as tortillas can stimulate the gallbladder to empty, and thus cause GI stress.” Other triggers to be aware of: anything new. According to Molly the best thing you can do to prepare for race day is replicate your home routine and if you can’t do that, prepare with the next best options. Shop and leave for your race prepared with things that work for you. “If you haven’t tweaked your nutrition before race day don’t start the day of.” The last place you want to spend the length of the competition is in the bathroom.

Performance is linked to steadiness and that’s just not diet, it’s everything else you need to manage: your clothes, your equipment, your glasses. Make sure things work and that you have back up. And above all drink water. Water is integral to every calorie burned and it’s the best maintenance for our bodies.

Sage advice from Molly, “Start simple. Try something multiple times and keep with it, especially with diet. So many people expect different results and never change their habits, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are athletes that change it up everyday.” It’s so important to understand what performance means for your individual body.

Molly refers to it as training smarter and scheduling kinder miles amid the hard ones, drinking more water (hydration, hydration, hydration she says with a smile while waving her hands about) and being responsible about recovery. “If training for a big event, take naps, include foods with micronutrients, remember that recovery begins the second the workout begins. We need proteins to repair muscle breakdown, and we need to replenish glucose storage in our liver and muscles used during the race so eat within 15-30 minutes of completion. With a moderate workout, you don’t need a meal but you do need to support your body with something.”

Molly got into coaching because she needed “to transition from the illness industry to the wellness industry, and help keep people off the operating table.” She’s been one of Kate’s Real Food’s biggest fans for years, sharing the bars with her clients across the country. “Using Kate's products also gives me the chance to support local business and sustainable organic farming practices. That's feels just as good to me as winning a triathlon trophy!"