So one of the questions I’ve been asked about a lot lately is how do I prepare and refuel when I race on back to back days.
A lot of different races have race days on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Which is great because you can get more then one race in on a weekend. Especially if it’s a farther drive, it helps you get more bang for your buck.
But the obvious issue is how do you maintain your body and prepare for two races? A lot of times after Saturday’s race, you wake up pretty sore. So it may seem really hard to want to get up and do it again. But there’s a few things you can focus on that will help you put your best foot forward on Sunday’s.
First off, you want to prepare the week before. You should be drinking lots of water the week before your race. No alcohol and very limited caffeine. This will help get your body properly hydrated. Also this is not the week to be in a caloric deficit. I’m not saying go crazy and eat a pizza every day but you should be eating a little more than normal. You want to have plenty of good stored energy. This is not the week to be fasting.
As far as race day nutrition goes, make sure you go with stuff that is tried and true. Race day is not the day to be trying out that new super awesome supplement or energy gel that your neighbor told you about. If you want to use those things, go for a practice run well before race weekend and see how those things feel. Do they digest quickly, do they make you feel sluggish or give you gut bombs? Nothing will ruin your race faster than an upset stomach. That will throw your whole body off and will make it hard to compete.
Rest. Get plenty of it! The week before race day you should be getting some good night sleep in so you will be at your best. Also this week is what many refer to as taper week. Meaning your workouts shouldn’t be as difficult as they usually are. Me personally I will still lift or run before I race but I don’t push it. If I’m lifting, it won’t be max weight. If I’m running, it will be controlled effort. You don’t want to push too hard and end up with soreness or worse injure yourself right before a race. This is a good week to get some yoga and stretching in, or even just go for a walk. Me personally, the last day I workout is Wednesday. That way I give myself two full days to recover and be at my best come Saturday.
Saturday morning. Again stick with what works. I like having a big breakfast especially if I’m doing a Beast or an Ultra, 2-3 hours before race time. Usually eggs and meat with pancakes. If it’s something shorter like a Sprint, then I may just go with a bowl of oatmeal. Again 2-3 hours before I race. This is the time to have that cup of coffee. Black. The caffeine boost will help, plus it will help you go to the bathroom before you have to race. This way that doesn’t slow you down.
For longer races, if you know you’re going to be out there for several hours, it can be beneficial to have a Camelbak or Vest to carry water in, as well as fuel. How much fuel you should have depends on you. I like to have some Gu or Energy blocks every 45 minutes, as well as a wafer or some kind of light bar. You don’t want to wait till you’re hungry to eat something, by then it could be too late. Snack when you’re walking up hills and you’re moving slower anyway.
Also I like to add some Tailwind to my water for extra nutrients. Not a necessity but it helps me. Some people create their own hydration concoctions with things like Pedialyte. I personally stay away from stuff like Gatorade during races, since it’s loaded with sugar. Again, whatever you decide to go with, make sure you’ve used it before in your training runs so you know how your body will react to it.
So you finished your Saturday race and now it’s time to party!?!! Well if you’re planning on being your best on Sunday as well, I would advise against getting too crazy. I like to have a beer or two after a race, helps take away some of that initial pain and soreness and helps you relax. But again you want to be still hydrating. More water and more food! Have a good meal or two. You’ve burned off a lot of your storage and you will need some for Sunday. Again, get more rest. Your body needs to recover and get ready to race again. Stretch and foam roll as much as possible. You may not feel sore now but you will in the morning so get your foam rolling and massage those legs.
Come race day on Sunday morning you will probably be feeling some soreness. I would recommend some stretching as well as more foam rolling. Breakfast again will depend on the distance you’re going for and what your comfortable with. Your race day fuel should be the same as Saturday, unless something really didn’t work. But don’t use anything new.
Remember: when you’re racing back to back days it’s more of an endurance event. So you have to prepare yourself properly. Hopefully my tips will help you to be at your best!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to message me!! Thanks again as always for reading!! 🦁👍🏽👍🏽