Limiting the Variables for a Winning Race – Same Foods, Same Routine, Set Your Plan

I have a particularly sensitive stomach. I can’t handle too much in there digesting away if I’m going to go out and run. My favorite time to run is first thing in the morning for just this reason. Yes, I know you shouldn’t run on an empty stomach and if I were actually training for something I’d be smart and wake up earlier to have something light for energy. I used to go the oatmeal route and that worked well for me before workouts.
running shoes
But now that I’m not competing I just eat a big snack before I go to bed and that tides me over. I also like being able to just roll out of bed and into the shoes. I loved morning races not only because they made figuring out what and when to eat all the easier but also they were done first thing and I didn’t have to sit around all day with me, myself, and nerves.

Still, not everyone works out in the morning and races aren’t always going off in the morning hours either. With track season coming up, 99% of the time you’ll have an afternoon or later gun time. Track throws another monkey into the mix because you could be doubling, tripling, quadrupling…hopefully you aren’t doing any more than that, but you get the picture. In order to perform to your best you need to fuel your body with the energy it needs, but at the same time you want it to sit well in your stomach. You want to eat for performance.

You can read the article I did printed in January’s Running Times, ‘Timing Your Fuel’, for some pointers on the best way to go about creating a meal plan that works in accordance with your race time. Spoiler alert: you probably won’t want to wolf down those four chili-cheese dogs.
crocodile with hot dog
The thing with race day is you always want to limit the variables: don’t wear a new pair of shoes, eat things you KNOW will sit well, eat at the same times, warm-up at the same times, do the same warm-up routine and drills. Practice and workouts are the times when you test new things out and play around until you find what works for you.
eating pop tarts
Eating the right foods, as with training and warming-up, is unique to each person so go in with a plan in these areas just as you do a race plan.

1) What’s your favorite time to run and race?

2) What are you pre-race picks? Do you have anything in particular you HAVE to have right before?
I know it’s not nutritionally the best pick, but during high school I’d have to have two strawberry frosted Pop-Tarts…even packed them with me when I traveled to Italy. :P

3) Do you have a finicky stomach or are you one of those lucky individuals who could wolf down the chili-cheese hot dogs and not taste them a second time through?

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14 thoughts on “Limiting the Variables for a Winning Race – Same Foods, Same Routine, Set Your Plan

  1. Funny you should post this, because I just went on an afternoon 12 miler with my brother to celebrate 2012. It followed a big meal of corned beef and cabbage and I’ve never felt so ill in my life! I usually skip eating before a race, unless it is a marathon.

  2. Hey! Thanks so much for stopping by! I haven’t been running very long and as a matter of fact ended up having to take the month of December off due to a pulled muscle in my abdomen, which really sucked by the way. :) I was really surprised how the running would really irritate it. So this month I am starting back! I am going to go to the track tomorrow after work to see what I still have in my legs. I normally don’t eat before a run, mainly because I wasn’t doing long distances. Either way, I don’t like to eat before I do any kind of workout. Makes my tummy angry. :) I would also run in the morning…..get it over with!
    I look forward to reading your blog for some great running advice!

    • and than YOU for stopping by! :) so happy to see that ur venture to the track was a success! don’t worry, it’ll come back quickly and soon you’ll be feeling just as great as you did before you had to take the time off! :)

  3. definitely love running in the morning…i love getting my day started with a run. but i hate running hungry. i always eat oatmeal. i have been lucky enough so far to be able to stomach food before, during and after runs but pretty sure that does not mean i would be able to take in chili cheese dogs. haha! hope you had a wonderful holiday season friend!

    • awww, i hope u had an awesome holiday tour de force too!!! ya, u run at the CRAZY early hours…i’m glad the oatmeal works for u, that one’s usually a safe bet. u take care missy and i’m missing stalking ur blog updates! ;)

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