Greg Whyte’s pre-race nutrition tips

9th July 2019

With Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones just a few days away, we asked former Olympian and Sport Relief trainer Professor Greg Whyte for some last-minute nutrition tips.

1. Practise makes perfect

By now you’ll have started to create your own bespoke nutrition and hydration strategy for the race. During this final week of training, practise what you’re going to do on the day, so you’re confident it works for you.

2. Charge the batteries

The key to maintaining your energy is to think of your body as a battery.

You want to start the race fully charged, so this week there should be a reduction in training volume but no change in hydration or nutrition.

Don’t worry about weight gain, it won’t happen in a week.

3. Stick to your plan

Just as you shouldn’t squeeze in any last-minute training this week, now’s not the time for trying new hydration and nutrition strategies.

The same goes on race day. Don’t start consuming things that the person next you is using – what works for them may not work for you.

4. Little, early and often

One of the big problems on a race day is not eating enough, and staying hydrated is particularly important in this heat.

The secret is to start early, before the batteries are running low or you’re feeling dehydrated.

Start consuming within 15 minutes of setting off and then take something on board every 15 minutes.

Eat and drink a little at a time so you don’t overload the gut and end up dashing for the loo.

5. Go for low-GI food

You’ve got a long race ahead of you, so opt for low-GI food while you’re on the move.

Muesli bars are one of my favourites, but any complex carbohydrates will do.

I’ve also got a penchant for cheese and piccalilli sandwiches but sausage rolls, pork pies and Cornish pasties work well, too.

High-GI food puts you at risk of bloating and diarrhoea so leave them in your emergency kit bag.

6. Mix things up

What feels good and tastes good after one hour isn't the same after five, so think about variety in both your food and drinks.

Make sure you pack a wide range of snacks so you’re more likely to consume and maintain.

Mix things up with fluids too, bringing different flavours to make them more palatable, and including both still and fizzy, chilled and ambient temperature drinks.

For a double whammy, carry sports drinks.

7. Be ready to adapt

Things like the weather are outside of your control, so be prepared to tweak your strategy.

If it’s stinking hot at the weekend, you’ll need to adjust your hydration in particular.

Also adapt to changes in how you feel. If there’s something you think you might suddenly crave along the way, make sure you’ve got it, just in case.

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