Sunday, August 5, 2012

5 Nutrition Tips for Race Preparation

 The Dana Point Turkey Trot in Orange County, CA is one of the nation's largest turkey trots, and named one of America's best Thanksgiving Day runs by Fitness Magazine. CLIF Bars is a race-day sponsor, and sent along these tips for race preparation, which they gathered by polling the team athletes and nutritionists. I figured that it would be fun to pass along since I know a number of you are already thinking about your end-of-summer, fall, and holiday runs.

1.       Caffeine. Typically given a bad rap, caffeine, taken in moderation, will actually help improve your performance on a run. Caffeine gives you the extra boost, keeps you clear of that “batteries are draining” feeling and helps you enjoy the activity. Moderation for most runners sits between two to three cups of drip coffee per day, but keep in mind that every body is different. Take the time to know your body – ask yourself, where do you feel best and what did you just put in your mouth that made you feel that way? Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Shot Energy Gel for an extra caffeine kick to maintain energy between breaths.
2.       Stay Hydrated. Hydration is the trickiest part of fueling running as every cell in your body thrives on fluid. Your hydration mantra: drink fluids early and often. Water is important, but a mistake is assuming you can get by on just H20, especially when your runtime totals more than an hour. This is where electrolyte drinks come into play. When making your hydration selection, make sure your sports drink has sodium as the main mineral player – this will keep your body and emotional state at full efficiency. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Shot Electrolyte Drink to counteract both electrolyte and fluid loss to help prevent a race day meltdown.
3.       Carb Up. Carbohydrates should make up about 2/3 of each meal. Carbs are the most important source of fuel for your muscles and your brain. Pick and choose carbohydrates that are high in fiber, such as wheat bread, pasta, bran cereals, oatmeal, CLIF Bars, potatoes and popcorn. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: The original CLIF Bar in Oatmeal Raisin Walnut.
4.       Powerful Protein. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild muscle. Approximately 1/3 of each meal should contain this powerful prop. To help counter the wear and tear of training and racing, rebuild with foods like grass fed beef, antibiotic-and-hormone-free chicken, low mercury fish, lentils, cheese and soy. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Builder’s bar packed with 20g of compete protein.
5.       Meal Planning. Eat frequently and eat a variety of foods. Make sure you eat three meals each day and two or three healthy snacks in between. This will help prevent energy highs and lows throughout the day and make you more energized for training runs. Team CLIF Bar recommendation: Try a CLIF CRUNCH granola bar for a snack break - a favorite; Chocolate Peanut Butter.
For more information about the 35th annual Dana Point Turkey Trot, visit For more information about the best nutrition tips and practices for approaching race day, listen to the entire ClifCast sports nutrition podcast series from CLIF Bar at

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