If breakfast is the most important meal, that's never truer than on race day. But choosing the right fuel depends on the type of event you're competing in. "Your specific needs come down to the differences in the time and intensity you'll be going at," says Pamela Nisevich Bede, a nutritional consultant for Swim, Bike, Run, Eat. "It's also a question of what sits well with you, which you'll figure out over time." Here's what you should be eating and why.
On the Menu: Two low-fat whole-grain pancakes with 1/2 cup berries, 12 ounces of coffee with 2 ounces skim milk, and 1 tablespoon honey an hour before the start.
In the Tank: 320 calories, 9 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 57 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber.
Here's Why: A 10K is short and demands high-intensity, so you'll perform best with small portions packing plenty of carbs.
On the Menu: One cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup skim milk and three tablespoons each of raisins and brown sugar three hours before the start.
In the Tank: 375 calories, 11.5 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 80 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber.
Here's Why: It might not seem like many calories for a tri, but you'll be refueling during the race. The fiber in oatmeal will help slow digestion, and carbs in the raisins and brown sugar will fuel muscles through all three events.
Long-Distance Mountain-Bike Race
On the Menu: One cup whole-grain cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk and one banana, 16 ounces of coffee with 4 ounces skim milk, and one whole-grain bagel with 1 tablespoon apple butter three hours before the start.
In the Tank: 640 calories, 23 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 130 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber.
Here's Why: An intense three-hour effort calls for a meal high in carbs and rich in protein and fat. Because mountain biking is less repetitive than other sports, racers can usually tolerate a greater variety of solids.