Pasta meal or Breakfast?
Chowing down a big pasta dinner the night before a race has become a ritual among first-time and veteran endurance athletes.
Triathletes who want to put their best foot forward on race day would be wise to skip the dinner smörgåsbord and put their fueling energies into a more important pre-race meal: breakfast.
Your biggest meal should be about 24 hours before your race, not the night before, says Jesse Kropelnicki, an elite-level triathlon coach who founded personal training company QT2 Systems and sports nutrition guide TheCoreDiet.com.
"One of the biggest myths in racing is that you need to carb load the night before," Kropelnicki says. "When you wake up on race day that pasta dinner is still undigested."
Your fueling strategy could be thrown off as result. For example, you might be too full to eat a light breakfast race-day morning and then be famished by the time the endurance event begins.
Instead, Kropelnicki suggests eating a big Denny's restaurant-inspired breakfast the day before your race.
Keep a few things in mind before you head over to your favorite diner or whip up that breakfast buffet at home. This is not an invitation to eat anything and everything listed on the menu or in your fridge. Nor is it an excuse to eat junk food.
You should finish your hefty breakfast before 9 a.m. the day before your race, Kropelnicki says. This will give you plenty of time for the food to digest and tap off your existing energy stores.
Other pre-race breakfast tips:
1. Skip the fat.
A big breakfast doesn't mean a fatty one. Foods that are high in fat will weigh you down and could impact your race. That means sausage and bacon are off limits.
2. Go low-fiber.
This isn't the time to experiment with a side of sauteed vegetables. Foods that are high in fiber should be avoided the entire day before a race to prevent gastrointestinal distress during the event.
3. The perfect pre-race day breakfast.
Kropelnicki suggests two eggs, pancakes, two pieces of toast and even home fries.