Race Day Prep: What to Eat before a Race

drinking juice

Part III of my Race Day Prep series (Part I here and Part II here). Today let’s talk about one of the most important aspects of racing, nutrition.

What you eat before and during a race day has a huge impact on your energy levels and your ability to perform at top rate. Just check out Monica’s post on her half-marathon carb loading fail (found here). Truth is, race nutrition differs for everyone but there are a few general principles that can be applied to all athletes.

1. Don’t try anything new.

We’ve all heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating: don’t try eating anything new during a race. Your stomach is a finicky thing and gastric distress is not something you want to mess around with. So if you’ve never had the brand of goo gels that they’re passing out, don’t eat them. Instead, pack energy treats that are tried, tested and true.

 2. Eat a lot the day before.

My motto is “eat lots and eat often”. Have snacks on hand and start with a big breakfast. You might be nervous by dinnertime and nerves have a horrible effect on our appetites. That being said, don’t eat too much (I know it’s sort of two sided advice) buuuuut there is such thing as eating too much. I mean stay full but don’t go all Thanksgiving on me and eat until you need to be rolled into your bed. That’s just dumb.

 3. Avoid anything with too much fiber

Lets be gross for a second; fibre gets thing a movin’. Before engaging in exercise, you want to be sure you won’t have to make any unnecessary stops at the port-a-potty. Instead, I like to sick to simple carbs the night before a race and the morning of. Carbohydrates are important when you’re doing long hours of endurance exercise. In fact, if you don’t eat them, you can expect to feel pretty bad.

4. Eat clean

I usually treat myself to chocolate and a glass of wine everyday every once in a while, but the week before a race I’m a clean eating machine. I want to keep my energy levels high and nothing makes me feel better than fresh fruit and veggies. I down fresh pressed juice, eat raw meals like it’s my job and I’ll avoid all alcohol.

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5. Pack more snacks for the race than you might expect.

It’s always better to have too much than too little. Carry more than you think you’ll need because your body might surprise you and be ravenous.

6. Drink water the week before.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was younger, I was really into classical music. The week before a big audition, my singing coach told me to start drinking 1.5 litres of water every day. Naturally, I didn’t listen to her and come audition day, I thought I could make up for my mistake but downing tons of water. My quick fix did little to hydrate me and instead, I spent the entire day running to the bathroom. Point is, hydration is a slow process and once you’re dehydrated, you can’t just chug water and expect to remedy the problem in a matter of minutes. Stay ahead of the game and start early. Now I carry around two big water bottles and I make sure to finish them both by the end of the work day. Hydration here I come!

7. Learn to eat a big breakfast in the morning.

I’ve heard tons of people say they can’t eat breakfast in the morning. Most races start between 7 am and 9 am so you’re going to need to learn to down a solid breakfast. I usually wake up at least 2 hours before the race start time, eat a big breakfast and still have time to digest. Be smart and stick to something that’s carb heavy and little to no soluable fibre. My go to is a white bagel with peanut butter and banana. Yum.

What are your nutrition tips? What do you eat the morning before a big race? 

xx

Ursula

To Infinity Scarf and Beyond!!

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A few weeks ago I made myself an infinity scarf.

Okay by “I made myself” I mean Ian and his coworker did all the work because I don’t know how to use a sewing machine. It’s appalling I know, but in my defense, Ian’s just so much better at it than I am and so I’ve learned a certain level of sewing dependence. And I did buy the fabric and cut it into the right proportions….so go me.

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I cut a piece of fabric 1 meter x 1 meter. It was double sided and then I folded the material in half before we sewed it together. Once it was sewn shut, I had a large tube that I turned inside out before hand stitching it into a circle.

It was so easy and now it feels like I’m wearing a comfy sweater scarf.

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Oh and let me tell you a little story about the necklace I’m wearing. It came home from work one day to a letter in my mailbox. It was a beautiful card from one of my besties and inside was a gorgeous necklace! She made it herself and I am beyond touched/impressed/amazing by her. What a lady!

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Have you ever made an infinity scarf? Do you wear them? 

xx

PS doesn’t the sky look interesting? It’s smoke from a forest fire but it looked purple and the sunset was unreal. The fires have been really bad in British Columbia but thankfully, it’s been raining lately.

Ursula

DIY Camera Strap: Light and Bright

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As you might have guessed, I’m kind of obsessed with my camera. I’ve only recently discovered a love for photography and while I’m still learning, I enjoy carrying it around on walks and hikes with the hopes of capturing a good shot. For the longest time I was using the Nikon camera strap that came with the camera. Needless to say, it was uuuuuuuuuuugly.

I decided to put Ian’s sewing skills to use and together we created a brand new swanky camera strap. It’s bright, it’s light and it’s beautiful.

What we used:

  • a piece of fabric (approximately 6 inches wide x 24 inches long)
  • sewing scissors
  • 2 inch thick black webbing
  • 0.5 inch thick black webbing
  • a sewing machine
  • clips to attach the strap to the camera

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We cut out a 30 cm long piece of 2 inch black webbing and then sewed on two 30 cm long pieces of small 1/4 inch webbing to each end.

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Next we sewed together the fabric so that it made a tube, turned it inside out and then threaded the webbing though.

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We sewed the webbing onto the fabric so it couldn’t move around, then added two very important pieces to each end of the strap.

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I attached the strap to my camera using the pieces from the original Nikon strap.

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Here are some other neat DIY camera strap ideas:

ikatbag

Designlovefest

Have you ever made a camera strap? what do you currently use on your camera? 

xx

Ursula

Race Day Prep: What to Bring to a Race

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Here we go Part II! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, last week I started a three part series on preparing yourself for race day. If you want, you can check out Part I on “Getting Your Head in the Game” here. Today I’m talking about what to bring.

Remembering to bring everything on race day is a challenge in and of itself. I can barely remember to pack my running shoes let along all the other gajillion other items required. Truth me told I have a bad memory and so, I’ve learned that the best way to prepare for a race is to start early and to make a mental inventory.

The week before race day I like to lay out all my necessary items on the bed (dog is not included but he is helpful). I know it’s anal but isn’t it worst to forget something essential on the big day? Me thinks yes, yes it is.

I also like to visual the race step by step and think about everything I might need. For example, during the swim, I’m going to need my triathlon suit, my wet suit, a cap and goggles. Then at the transition, I’ll want to dry off with a towel, scarf down some food, put on dry socks, bike shoes, a helmet and my race bib before biking off with my electrolyte filled water bottles. During the next transition, I’ll change my shoes (maybe even my socks) and then I’ll put on a hat and spray myself down with sunscreen. Also, if I’m feeling any chaffing on my ankles or armpits (it happens) I’ll lather on some Vaseline before eating more food and hitting the pavement.

See visualization! It works my friend.

Finally, I write down a check list of all the items I need. The day before a race, I can double check to make sure I have everything aaaaaaand crossing things off a list is immensely satisfying.

How do you remember everything? Have you ever forgotten something important on your race day? 

Urs xx

PS today I’m taking over Jessa’s blog and sharing my easy DIY tie dye placemats. Check it out here and let me know what you think. Oh and before you start questioning my judgement, keep in mind that at least I didn’t rainbow tie dye a t-shirt or a bedcover so I’m still cool….right? right?

Ursula

When life gives you a heat wave, don’t be dumb

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Well hello! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. What’d ya get up to??

We are currently in a “heat wave”, which basically means it’s been the loveliest weather and I’m working on my tan.

That being said, this weekend I did learn some valuable lessons in heat wave preparation.

On Saturday morning, my friend and I jumped on our bikes and headed north out of town. We quickly realized we were wholly unprepared for a 2+ hour bike ride as neither of us had our cell phones, her gears were wonky, my front tire smelt like burning and we only had a few snacks between the two of us. Luckily, we managed to make our way home without injury but I spent the afternoon feeling dehydrated and like a bit of a dud. We really should have been much more prepared.

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The next day, I did a long run with our running club and this time, I was ready. I carried a litre of water, my cell phone and my friend came and checked-in on me along route. It was a great run and I felt like an all-star for the rest of the day. No dehydration in sight.

So here’s what I learned about exercising in the heat:

1. Tell a friend. Check in with a friend and tell them where you’re going and when to expect you back. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, just shoot them a text but don’t assume someone will come looking for you unless you’ve warned them ahead of time.

2. Bring water. This one seems rather obvious, right? But ya, you’d be amazed at how often people (ahem, myself, ahem) forget to bring water on a workout. On a hot day, you will sweat A LOT so drink water and drink it often.

3. Run slow. Pace yourself! The hot days are no time to run a personal best. Keep the pace slow and steady.

4. Take breaks and check-in with your body. Yesterday when I was running, I stopped every 2 km to take a sip of water and ask myself, ”how does the head feel? any dizziness? how’s the heart rate?’ Provided all was good, I kept running but it reminded me to look for early warning signs of heat exhaustion.

5. Leave in the early mornings or late evenings. We all know the sun is at it’s peak between 12-2 pm but on extra hot days, even 10 am and 3 pm can be unbearably warm. Workout first thing in the morning or wait until the late evening to get your sweat on. That way you’ll avoid the risk of sun stroke or heat exhaustion.

What do you do to stay safe on hot summer days?

Urs

 

 

Ursula