Preparing nutritionally for the big day starts around 24 hours prior to the beginning of the race. Your training should have tapered so that you’re doing very little exercise at all, so your form will be peaking nicely. Your final preparation involves a simple, but highly effective carbohydrate loading regime.
24 hours prior to the start of your event, either jump onto your bike or pull on your trainers and pedal/jog to a flat piece of road, or slight hill that’s going to give you enough space to push hard for 3 minutes without stopping. Alternatively, you could do this on a turbo trainer, exercise bike or treadmill. Warm up for 5 minutes and then produce one all-out 3-minute effort as hard as you can* producing as much lactic acid as you can possibly tolerate. Immediately afterwards, consume a recovery drink whilst keeping your legs ticking over gently and then for the rest of the day ‘load in the carbs’. Eat everything and anything, but think ‘carbs’ so when you’re bored of the starchy carbohydrates, eat a bag of wine gums. Remember your regular intakes of protein, but carbohydrate is king for today. Don’t forget to have one last high carbohydrate feed before you go to bed and that’s essentially your pre-race nutrition nailed down. The table below shows a suggested carbohydrate loading regimen for a 62Kg person:
What you do in the morning will depend on the start time of the race, but assuming the event starts at midday, you should have a substantial breakfast at 9am containing 20-25 grams of high quality protein and a decent hit of carbs (up to 125 grams). This will restore any glycogen lost from the liver overnight as you’ve slept. Make sure that you have protein in your breakfast and that the overall feed is substantial, because you want to remain satiated right up until the start of the event – at the same time, you don’t want to be full on the start line, because you’re going to need to start fuelling as soon as you set off and need to leave room for the exogenous carbohydrate to do its work.
Remember that TORQ produce Meals and Breakfasts specifically to assist in pre-event carbohydrate loading and for the morning of the competition. Our 5:1 Meals and Breakfasts contain 25g of high quality protein and 125g of carbohydrate for carbohydrate loading and our 3:1 Meals and Breakfasts contain the same 25g of high quality protein with a lower 75g dose of carbohydrate, which is ample for the morning of the event.
Be sure to keep your fat intake minimal on race day morning, or you’ll still be digesting your breakfast on the start line. If you’re starting later in the day, remember to keep the protein going in every 4 hours or so and don’t get hungry. Maintain the ingestion of high carbohydrate, low fat foods throughout the morning.
*NOTE: If you’re going to ask your body for a solid 3-minute physical effort 24 hours before your big event, make sure that you have performed a similar intensity regularly throughout your training preparation. A bout of exercise like this could cause injury or leave your muscles sore if you are not accustomed to it.