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  • Writer's pictureKathy Yeiser

What to eat before your first mini or sprint tri.

You've trained all summer and you're getting ready to compete. Let what you eat help you run your best race with these suggestions:

Dinner the night before: Choose something healthy and filling, and go easy on the fat, avoid the pizza and French fries. Some choices to consider: Baked potatoes with a 2-4 oz portion of meat, and a cup of cooked veggies or a salad; Whole grain pasta with sauce and a salad; a sandwich with a piece of fruit and veggies. Most important is to drink water all day, and for the 24 hours before the race, don’t let yourself get starving. Even though you’ll be traveling, try to follow your normal routine and don’t forget to eat on this day.

In the 2-3 hours prior to your race, drink 16-20 oz of water, in small, ¼ servings.

At least 2 hours before the race, eat something like a medium or large bagel with 1 T of nut butter and a banana. (If you are ready for breakfast closer to 3 hours before your race, add 1 more T of nut butter.)

30-60 min before: have a small to medium banana or a box of raisins. If you are not hungry now, you can also tuck this snack into your race jersey and eat it on the bike.

On the bike, if you have two bottle holders, take two bottles, one with a sports drink, like Nuun Endurance, and one with plain water. If you are using a Camelbak, fill it with just water and tuck two packages of energy chews, gels or waffles into your jersey. Either drink the sports drink, or eat the chews in the first 30 minutes of your ride, then switch to water. You need to take in plain water with the chews or gels to get the sugar into your system more quickly.

On the run, just take in water or sports drink as your stomach tolerates it. If you start to bonk, down a cup or two of sports drink or a package of chews and 8 oz of water. You may need to switch to a walk while that absorbs.

After the race, enjoy the post race meal as your body is ready. Start with some water and continue to hydrate for the rest of the day. After you’ve enjoyed your post race party, switch to a balanced diet of carbs, protein and fats in your usual portions. With good on course nutrition, you probably don’t have a large calorie deficit that you need to make up for.

Then, rest up and enjoy the glow of what you accomplished!

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