Ask Stacy: Should I Still Be Practicing My Race Nutrition?

With very few—if any—events on the horizon for most of us, we ask the expert if it's still worthwhile testing your race-day routine.

Obviously the majority of us have not raced this year, which means many of us have not been practicing race-day nutrition. I know some athletes have said this “feels weird” as it’s something they’re used to doing, especially in key workouts when there’s a race on the horizon. I’ve been asked by a number of athletes if this is something they should still do anyway—and it’s a valid question. As we have all struggled to pivot our goals and maintain motivation, the “carrot” of racing is still out there—albeit maybe virtually right now and (hopefully) in-person in 2021.

Related: I’m Stuck Inside! How Do I Practice Race Nutrition?

When it comes to race nutrition, it should not vary too much from training nutrition, so really your best option is to practice it as often as possible during training, irrespective of when your next race might be. Aim to develop a fueling and hydration plan for your races and practice it in most of your longer training sessions and/or key workouts so that when it comes to racing, none of it is new. Just as you look for different types of fuel for your training sessions (based upon intensity, duration, and timing around when you last ate), you want to develop this strategy for your racing, too. Although it’s not necessary to practice your specific race-day nutrition this far out from real racing, by racing with the same fuel you use every day in training it takes away the stress of race-day nutrition going wrong. You’ll take confidence from knowing your routine and from knowing how your body responds to certain fuel and products. Make the most of the time and opportunities now to experiment with different things and to try things you’ve wanted to test before. By the time we get back to real racing, you’ll have your race-day nutrition totally dialed! 

Read more from Dr. Stacy Sims