3 Easily Digestible Tips for Pre-Race Nutrition by Makayla Eagan Cappel

MC.ImagePreparing for the Boulder Mountain Tour does not start and stop at the ski-training plan. We have all heard that proper nutrition is an important part of being able to compete at your highest level, but what does that actually entail? Figuring out what to eat, when to eat it, and why can be tricky, especially if you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies. Through my own research and personal experience as a competitive Nordic skier for over 10 years, I have come up with 3 easily digestible nutritional tips to help you reach peak performance during the Boulder Mountain Tour. And to make your life a little bit less stressful, I have included delicious and easy-to-make gluten-free, dairy-free meal options for the night before and morning of your race!

Train Your Best: Have a Post-Training Snack and Stay Hydrated

Fueling for a Nordic ski race, especially a marathon is not short-term plan. If you are really looking to prepare most effectively for the BMT, or really any sort of competition, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of every training session, on and off skis. Make sure that you are staying hydrated! It is important to be drinking water before, during, and after exercise. For longer sessions (i.e. +1.5 hours) you should drink an electrolyte-enhanced beverage with your during training. In order to maximize the benefits of each training session, make sure that you are re-fueling your glycogen stores within 30 minutes of completing a moderate to hard session by consuming a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates, accompanied by a little protein. This will enable your body to better absorb the recent training load and build muscle.

Post-Training Snacks:

  • Banana with Organic Almond Butter
  • Peach with ½ cup of your favorite trail mix

Plan Ahead

Leading up to the race, try to experiment with your diet plan to figure out if there are certain foods or eating times that allow you to feel your best during exercise. For some this means not eating red meat the night before and or not eating foods that cause their blood sugar to spike during breakfast. Whatever you do, make sure that your experimentation happens ahead of time during your training period. On the day of the race or even the night before, it is best to plan out ahead of time what your meals are going to consist of. This will allow you to minimize stress, maximize rest/sleep by reducing preparation time, and make sure you are eating a well-balanced and performance-enhancing meal. The night before the race I have found that eating a dinner that consists of carbohydrates, fats, and protein that leaves me full, but not stuffed is important. Despite common belief, putting down 3-servings of pasta the night before is NOT going to help you!

Night-before Planning Tips & Meals:

  • Eat a dinner that has 2/3 carbohyrates, and 1/3 protein and fats. Focus on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Eat dinner a couple of hours before going to bed, and then have a small snack right before heading to bed to top up your glycogen stores.
  • Example Dinner Menu:
    • Stir-fry vegetables sautéed in olive oil or coconut oil (1 cup)
    • Quinoa (2 cups)
    • Shrimp/chicken/fish (3 oz)
    • Raw cashews (1/4 cup)
  • Example Bedtime Snack:
    • Udis GF Granola (1/4 cup) or Rice Chex (1 cup)
    • Almond milk (1 cup)
    • Fresh Berries (1/2 cup)

Morning-of Planning Tips & Meals:

  • Eat breakfast 2 to 3 hours prior to the start of your race
  • Pre-race meal should be rich in carbohydrates, familiar, easily digestible with adequate fluid intake
  • Emphasize complex carbohydrates (Steal-cut oats, Quinoa, but be sure to also include simple carbs, fats, and proteins.
  • Go ahead and enjoy your espresso or cup of coffee in the morning! Caffeine has proven to boost performance in endurance athletes.
  • Get past your pre-race jitters and make sure that you eat ALL of your breakfast. You do not want to bonk during your race because you weren’t able to eat breakfast!
  • Example Breakfast:
    • Udis GF granola (2/3 cup)
    • SoDelicious, coconut milk, vanilla yogurt (1 cup)
    • Raisins/craisins, goji berries (1/4 cup)
    • Udis GF Millet Chia Bread (1 slice)
    • Jam (1 tbsp)

Utilize the Feed Stations

During the BMT, there will be stations that have some sort of energy-boosting snack along the way to help fuel you throughout the race. These aid stations offer water and Gatorade to give you a little sugar boost to help you go faster down the track.   Take advantage of the feed stations! If you are afraid that you will need more of a snack than what the BMT stations have to offer, having a sports gel or gummies on hand can be a good option.