Monday, September 10, 2012

Nighttime Race Nutrition | The Do's and Don'ts

I have run several nighttime races and I love them.  I often train at night, so the opportunity to race at night is very natural for me.

However, there are many racers have never run at night, let alone race at night.

Here are some tips I have learned in the past 2 years - that will help you have a great nighttime race experience.

1.  PRACTICE.  All the tips I am giving you - must be practiced on several runs, pre-the nighttime race.  You cannot expect to run a nighttime race, if you have never run at night. 

2.  Eat your last BIG meal - 12 hours before the race.  If you race starts at 4am. You got it. eat a big breakfast at 4am.  Examples:  Waffles/pancakes with peanut butter + banana+ oatmeal.  Coffee is okay at this point. Nothing with Fiber. The fiber will pass through your system too quickly and you will be assured of several porta potty stops. 

3.  Eat another meal (but not as large as your 12 hour meal) - 8 hours before.  Do not eat until FULL.  Eat until satisfied. Stay away from anything spicey or greasy.  No Fiber.

4.  Eat a snack (Clif Bar, toast with peanut butter) - 4 hours before. Keep it bland. No fiber.

5.  Stop drinking and eating 3 hours before (unless you want to make several porta potty stops).  That includes coffee, alcohol or even water

6.  Consume your typical fueling option (gels, bloks, etc) - 1 hour before with a SWIG of water.  Not an entire bottle.

The key in nighttime races is to plan when you eat and what you eat and MOST IMPORTANTLY, practice during nighttime training runs.  Remember the #1 Rule of Racing:  NEVER, EVER try anything new on race day. 

Practice/train with this several times before your next nighttime race.  Don't leave anything to chance.  Your body will react to mileage differently at night vs the day. Don't presume what works for you at 5am, will work for you at 5pm.

Good luck and enjoy the experience!

For additional nighttime/cold weather tips:

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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