You trained, you registered for your virtual race, and you set goals. The final item on the list: practice and execute your virtual race day fueling strategy.
Follow these tips – for the before, during, and after – for your next race. This will help you get the most out of your fitness, and speed up post-race recovery.
Keep It Simple
It’s been said before, and it’s worth saying again: don’t try anything new on race day.
Stick to what works. Eat the same foods and take in the same liquids as any other run. No need to get fancy and try a new nutrition strategy on race day. This will help with GI issues and keep your nerves at bay.
Plan your nutrition a few weeks before race day to give your body a test-run. For example, if you’re 4-6 weeks out from your goal race, practice your nutrition on your long runs. This helps your body acclimate, and allows you to practice how and when to fuel.
Adjust For The Conditions
Not all race days are created equal.
Humidity, temperature, and the sun all play a role. Additionally, factors like weight and sweat rate affect your fuelling strategy.
Nuun’s Experiential Marketing Director Mike Sommers recommends taking 4-8 ounces (120-240 mL) of fluid with electrolytes for every 20-30 minutes of running. In most cases, you’ll only need fuel for efforts longer than 45 minutes. Shorter races don’t require much mid-race fueling. In these cases, pre-race hydration, a pre-race meal you’re used to, and the post-race recovery is key.
For any race distance, being hydrated can help prevent fatigue and bonking, and reduce cramps. This is why taking in fluids and fuelling before the race is crucial.
Don’t Just Focus On The During
Focus on the before and after.
Nutrition and hydration is more than a reactive process. Hydration and fueling are essential in the days and hours leading up to your race.
The recovery portion of virtual race day is equally important. Be sure to celebrate, but consume liquids other than alcoholic beverages. Your body craves electrolytes and hearty meals including protein-rich foods.
Plan Your Route
The logistics and execution of fuelling is as important as the strategy. Below you’ll find a few options on how to actually fuel during your virtual race.
Option 1: Carry your fuel
This is the most flexible option as you have access to hydration and nutrition at all times. Carry a handheld water bottle pre-mixed with Nuun Sport or Nuun Endurance, which is designed for efforts longer than 90 minutes. Or, consume gels as required for every 30-40 minutes of activity.
The good: Easy access; consume as needed.
The bad: You need to carry your fuel.
Option 2: Set up an aid station and run a looped course
Choose a looped course and set up your own aid station. This can be as simple as planning a route around your house and looping back every 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, go full DIY and make your own aid station. Set up a small table with your bottles, or place them on top of your car.
The good: No need to carry your fuel; looped course.
The bad: Out-of-sight means your nutrition may go missing; can only access periodically.
Option 3: With a little help from your friends or family
Ask your significant other, training partner, or friend to support you on route by asking them to provide nutrition. They may set up shop on route at a pre-determined spot. Or, they can bike alongside you with the proper nutrition. This allows for easy access whenever you need fuel.
The good: Peer support; easy access; no need to carry fuel.
The bad: Requires another person’s commitment; route needs to be better planned to avoid traffic.
Join us for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Virtual Race, and run any time between Oct. 1-31. Entry includes: a New Balance souvenir shirt, unique finishers medal, virtual bib and finishers certificate, discounts from the Running Room and Nuun, and much more.
*Photo credit: Nuun Hydration