Often it’s not the gruelling distances of long-course triathlon that leave athletes flailing; it’s the lack of proper fuelling along the way. But one person’s perfect nutrition plan might be another’s gastrointestinal nightmare. We polled a number of pros to learn their before-, during- and after- race eating and drinking habits. You may be surprised to learn the varied tactics, tastes and tolerances of some of our sport’s superstars. Today is all about before, and tomorrow we’ll look at during.
Timothy O’Donnell: I like to carbo-load in the morning to avoid the GI problems of a big meal at night. You’ll find me at Denny’s or IHOP for breakfast with a big stack of pancakes and a side of eggs. Throughout the day I drink Mix1 and eat simple carbs. For dinner I keep it simple also, with chicken and rice, mashed potatoes or pasta. I do need my traditional good-luck dessert—a huge fudge brownie!
Michael Lovato: I’ve heard stories of folks going out for KFC or other greasy meals the day before a race, but to me this can only be a recipe for disaster—an ‘Original Recipe’ for disaster, that is! That said, I have been known to scarf down a hefty portion of pizza two nights before the race, especially if I’m closing out a large block of training and my body might be deficient in calories. The day before, I tend to eat exactly what I eat on a day-to- day basis. My main goal is to eat an early dinner, which tends to consist of basic rice pasta with marinara sauce. I get around 1000 calories at 5 p.m., then later I’ll eat a snack of biscuits or M&M’s so I don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.
Mary Beth Ellis: I eat eggs with veggies for breakfast, fruit for a snack, a sandwich and salad for lunch and egg veggie surprise again for dinner. I guess I like eggs.
Chris Lieto: For dinner I usually make a buffet of chicken, broccoli, salad, rice, bread and pizza because I never know what I will feel like eating depending on my nerves.
Julie Dibens: I eat my usual breakfast, a bagel with half peanut butter and half cream cheese, a sandwich of sorts for lunch, and something like white rice, sweet potato and a bit of protein for dinner. It’s usually two days before the race that I really chow down. I used to go by the mantra ‘A hungry fox hunts best,’ but I’m not sure that works for an Ironman—it’s too bloody long.
Linsey Corbin: I like a big breakfast: three to four eggs, avocado, salsa, toast, coffee, potatoes and sometimes a nice pastry. Lots of snacking throughout the day: yogurt, granola, peanut butter and jam, trail mix, peanut butter-filled pretzels. I like a big lunch as well: a turkey sandwich on wheat with Swiss, avocado and lots of veggies, a piece of fruit, crisps and a chocolate chip cookie. I like a smaller dinner: grilled chicken breast, sweet potato with cottage cheese, grilled veggies, quinoa and some nice dark chocolate for dessert.
Joe Gambles: I limit fibre 48 hours before a race. This helps keep the weight down and limits the toilet stops on the run. I eat a lot of rice-based foods and potatoes. I’ve been known to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s the night before, too!
Heather Wurtele: Breakfast and lunch can vary, but dinner is always the same: yams, potatoes, carrots and rutabaga all mashed together, steamed spinach and fish (mahi mahi or trout) with added salt. I drink First Endurance Ultragen, EFS electrolyte drink and lots of water to stay hydrated.
Amanda Lovato: I start off with a bigger than normal breakfast (Denny’s!) and taper throughout the day. At my last race I had a First Endurance Cappuccino Ultragen shake mixed with almonds and two bananas for dinner.
Matty Reed: I eat a normal breakfast of toast and eggs, a sandwich and salad for lunch, Muscle Milk, and ham and pineapple pizza for dinner with water and Greek salad. I usually have a biscuit or ice cream sandwich for dessert.
Joanna Lawn: I like this day. I have a good-sized breakfast: double toast with tahini and banana, coffee and then a mid- morning scone or muffin. Lunch is pasta with ketchup—it sounds disgusting but it is so good! Dinner is pizza—it has fat for fuel and carbs for my muscles.
FILED UNDER: All / Nutrition TAGS: Amanda-Lovato / before / Chris-Lieto / food / fuel / Heather-Wurtele / Joe-Gambles / Julie-Dibens / Linsey-Corbin / Mary-Beth-Ellis / Michael-Lovato / pre / Tim O'Connell