My Ironman pre race meal:
4 WASA crackers
Smuckers Natural PB
Maple syrup or honey
Large glass of water
Cup of coffee
Ask a dozen triathletes what they like to eat on the morning of an IRONMAN and you'll get a baker's dozen different answers. There are easy and convenient options, like a bagel and banana with peanut butter, a liquid meal replacement for a nervous belly, or a bowl of oatmeal and eggs, compliments of a kitchenette. Washed down with sports drink and coffee, most IRONMAN athletes swear by one of these early-morning menus.
But with so many unique needs, there are a few atypical breakfasts for thought out there. For example, have you ever considered a baked potato with fish, white rice with figs and honey, or applesauce with protein powder? Passing on the caffeine jolt, how about a cup of hot water to get the system going or kombucha tea for a happier gut?
For over a decade, research consistently shows that the perfect pre-race meal includes most the following:
- 100 to 200 grams of carbs (400 to 800 calories) plus a little protein
- 12 to 20 ounces water
- Low glycemic, low fat, low fiber (liquid or solid consistency)
- Consumed three to four hours prior to the start of the endurance event
As experienced IRONMAN triathletes know all too well, after eight hours of racing the gut and taste buds become turned off of gels and sport drinks. Because the depletion of glycogen in the muscles and liver affect the body's ability to maintain adequate blood glucose concentrations for muscle and brain fuel, the goal of the IRONMAN athlete is to slow down the least possible on that day. Therefore, the complexity of sport nutrition to support a body in motion for 140.6 miles is much more than what you consumed at 3:30 am race day morning.