The nutritional content of every meal is extremely important for an athlete but breakfast is especially important. Here are a few tips on how to get it right…
Try Before You Buy
First things first, athletes should look for nutrient-dense foods, i.e., foods with no added sugar, sodium, solid fat or refined starch that may negatively impact their health. The pre-race breakfast should be planned in advance, especially if you are competing away from home or in a different country that might not have the same type of food available. Moreover, athletes should simulate the race day eating the exact same breakfast beforehand to see how the body reacts to certain foods. Race day is not the best time to try new things, so don’t eat anything you haven’t tried before.
©MRSWS | AlexisBerg
Timing is Everything
When it comes to race day, breakfast is normally the most important meal. Why? Because in most of the cases, it’s the last full meal athletes eat before the event. Runners are advised to have their breakfast 3 to 4 hours before the start of the race and to consume a considerable amount of carbohydrates (100-300g), so that the meal contributes to increasing glycogen stores in the liver and therefore increasing the availability for muscle utilization as an energy source, and improve performance.
Find a Way to Stomach It
For some athletes, it might not be easy to achieve this values because of those race-day-nerves but they should still aim for 100g of carbohydrates, even if in liquid forms, such as sports beverages or complement with maltodextrin or waxi maize. Also, some athletes with stomach and gut perturbations should avoid consuming foods rich in fiber, fat, and protein as well as avoid milk and dairy products, or choose lactose-free versions.
A Bulletproof Breakfast
Here are some examples of a pre-race breakfast:
– Scrambles eggs + ~250g of oatmeal porridge + 2 slices of bread with honey/jam
– 250 mL of fruit juice + 4 slices of bread with ham/jam
– 250mL of fruit juice + ~250g of porridge, 1 banana