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Have you ever had such a strong food craving during or after a race or training session that you would have sold your soul for it? Our bodies send us strong signals and if we know the language they are speaking then we can come up with answers. Intense cravings are a sign that something is missing or going wrong with your food choices.
How to dial in nutrition before your target Outrigger race
1. Practice Eating
Training is just that – training , even related to food. Even though you think ‘I don’t need to eat, i’ll be fine’ cause you are right, you will survive without eating, BUT – if you do eat you will be stronger to the finish, and be able to maintain mental focus through the race, AND recover faster so you can go out and do it all again! While your competitors are struggling to get out of bed having depleted every drop of stored energy during the race and not re-fueled after the race, you’ll be getting ahead of the game ready to go the next day. Always fuel your body, especially if you plan to hammer it.
2. Learn what gives you sustained energy
Have you ever bonked? Had a hard time keeping focus? The most common reason for bonking is over consumption of carbohydrate (sugar – in different forms) before and during a race. It is becoming more and more well known that for some people, eating protein and fat during a race gets them to the finish line with better sustained energy. Are you one of those people? (find out by following the advise in number 1 above).
3. Choose food that is appropriate for the distance and type of event.
Endurance race food guidelines (iron event longer than 2.5 hours)
Eat early - Eat Protein and fat first for sustained energy and before your stomach starts to shut down digestion.
Eat more simple but real carbs next (ie not gel shots)
Save pure sugar (gel shots) for the very very very end
Change races have escort boats, you could bring something that requires a fork and knife to eat. Really! pretty much anything goes. Chicken legs and potato salad? Go for it! Steak and beans? Great! Whatever works for you. Just eat the real food within the first 1-2 hours of the race, and move on to the gels and liquids later.
Solo and iron OC6 races however need more creativity.
Paddling is not a hands free sport, so eating requires extra thought
Zip lock bags work well. (you can Re-use them! Or multi purpose a bag from another item)
Make sure you have thought about bite-sized portions.
Find out what does not agree with you – ie repeats on you – if you try during training/shorter races. For example Salami is great for fat and protein, but may not work for everyone!
Accounting for greasy hands by following step 1 above and learn to deal with it.
4. Make your own stuff
Your refrigerator, assuming you go grocery shopping, should be able to provide better nutrition than a packaged bar. Packaged food is just hugely expensive cheap sugar – total rip off! Peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich – that would be carbohydrates, fat and protein. Or try chicken breast and avocado, higher in protein, lower in carbs and sugar and still has fat. Bars are cleverly marketed fast food. They make you think you have to eat them for some special reason. Nothing special - just real food will do.
JUST EAT REAL FOOD
– From Underground Wellness Sean Croxton