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Food for the Win

Race-day eating for Nordic skiers

Race Resources Monday, July 8, 2019

All race-day eating plans are not created equal—it depends on your distance. Here’s an overview for eating for success from racer and Boulder Nordic Sports owner Nathan Schultz.

Short Race

General tip: Eat lighter and farther out from race time.

Before: 2-2.5 hours before start, eat something like oatmeal and fruit.

Details: Keep fueling leading up to the event with lighter food like a gel or a sports drink. You want slow, continuous fuel. A gel 30 minutes before the start to give you a burst of energy. Keep sugar and hydration level high w/out loading up your stomach.

During: Water bottle with sports drink or gel followed by water.

Long Race

General tip: Eat closer to race time and eat more, and prepare to have continuous food before starting.

Before: Eat about an hour to 90 minutes before start, and up your intake compared to a shorter event.

Details: Eat breakfast and continue eating solid food up to the beginning of the event. For example, an oatmeal and an egg for breakfast, then a banana, then start. Stay hydrated but not over hydrated. You’ll need a liter of water per hour.

During: Feed early and frequently, before you are hungry or thirsty; every 30 minutes at least. Don’t wait for thirst or hunger; space it out stay ahead of depletion. Some people can handle liquids (sports drink) and solids (bars) during long distances.

Expert Tips:

  • Never try anything on race day you haven’t done before.
  • Don’t just rely on feed stations—BYO drinks/gels that you use during workouts because you know those work for you.
  • Practice your feeding plan during workouts.
  • Sugary drinks don’t tend to taste good at high intensity during racing, so a mild drink that you can drink more of is better.

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