1. Nothing beats the impact of hydration on performance. Before the race, let thirst be your guide to the finish line and use a sports drink to replace fluids during the race. If you are racing just to participate and finish, then drink when you are thirsty throughout the event. If you are racing to win or achieve your personal record then have a structured fluid replacement plan during the race and stick with it!
2. Getting the proper pre-and-post training nutrition is very important for daily recovery and fueling for the competition. Two important factors when picking meals or snacks before and after workouts are: the combination of carbohydrates and protein, and convenience. For a light pre-training meal try a USANA low-glycemic protein shake. Consuming low-glycemic foods provides sustainable energy, which is ideal for long distance training. When carbohydrates combine with protein, they deliver fuel to your muscles more rapidly. Moreover, the liquid snack easily empties from your stomach just before training or the race. For a post-training snack that contains a good amount of protein and fiber, grab a nutrition bar. Personally, I like to add a chocolate milk to enhance rehydration and boost recovery. They’re convenient and easy to consume after training.
3. Healthy vitamin D levels will do your training a world of good by supporting balanced hormone and metabolic function. Eat fatty fish, drink vitamin D fortified milk, and include a vitamin D supplement daily.
4. Put your food and supplements to work for you. Target most of your carbs around exercise (pre, during, and post) to maximize their fueling function. This also helps control body fat to keep you light on your feet. Supplement your training diet with all the B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and choline) to support optimal energy and protein metabolism.
5. To support cellular, vascular, and joint health, eat at least 3 servings of fatty fish per week. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, black cod, halibut, catfish, crab, oysters, or shrimp are a few examples. Also, supplement your diet daily with 1000 mg DHA+EPA.
Susan Kleiner, Ph.D, RD, CNS, FACN, FISSN, is a high performance nutritionist and foremost authority on nutrition for strength and power. In addition to having a Ph.D. in sports nutrition, she’s a founder and fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, fellow of the American College of Nutrition, and the best-selling author of numerous books, including Power Eating—written specifically for athletes to build muscle.