Q: I am traveling out of state for an upcoming race. What are your recommendations for fueling well while on the road?
A: In terms of good overall nutrition and race-day results, a little planning goes a long way. Here are my top tips:
– Buy, and pack all race-day nutrition needs at least 1–2 weeks in advance. This includes gels, blocks, chews, sports drinks, energy bars and recovery drinks you might need on race day. There is nothing that will derail a race faster than realizing the night before your event that you don’t have all your essentials.
– Look up restaurants online and make a dinner reservation from home. This will avoid unnecessary stress, and also ensure you are able to eat foods similar to what you eat at home prior to key training sessions or a race.
– Bring snacks for the day(s) leading up to your race. Don’t let a busy travel and packet pick-up day leave you glycogen depleted! Pack dried fruit, trail mix, pretzels and individual packets of peanut butter. I personally like ProBars—they’re delicious, made with all real foods and contain 360 calories each.
– When staying in a hotel, try to arrange for an in-room fridge. This will allow you to store yogurts, cut-up fruit and leftovers.
– When you arrive, ask where the nearest grocery store is and head straight there. Buy whatever fluids you will need on race day, and a few healthy staple snacks and breakfast foods that you couldn’t bring from home, such as fresh fruit or any dairy products.
Lauren Antonucci, R.D., is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, three-time Ironman and the founding director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.