1 WEEK BEFORE THE RACE
The morning of the race is too late to start thinking about your hydration strategy. Start putting back between 64 and 96 ounces of water a day based on your activity level. Keep water with you at all times and you’ll easily sip through your allotment in 24 hours, Mueller says. Another word to the wise: Lay off drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, as they can actually cause dehydration.
A time-honored tradition of endurance athletes, carboloading allows your body to be packed full of glycogen on race-day so you’ll avoid running out of reserves and hitting the proverbial wall. Starting about three days before the race, start consuming about 3.5 to 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight, Mueller advises. So if you weigh 150 pounds, consume between 525 and 675 grams of carbohydrates each day leading up to your race. Since you won’t be working out much—if at all—you can increase your glycogen concentration big time in a matter of days, she says.
Rather than munching fiber-rich carbohydrates like before, you should now focus on easily digestible simple carbohydrates that are low in fiber, so you don’t experience any digestive distress (there’s a reason some triathletes sport diapers) mid bike, run, or swim, Mueller says. You can now turn to simple—even white—grains such as white rice, white bread, and white potatoes. Fruits are safe as long as they do not contain seeds or tough, edible skins. She recommends bananas, mango, papaya, cantaloupe, and melons.