How to handle pre-race nutrition

How to handle pre-race nutrition

Pre-race nutrition is a common thread when it comes to wanting information about running; and in a South African context running Ultras! So on this episode of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, Lindsey talks you through the week before and morning of race day. There really is only one simple trick to it…

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Welcome onto this edition of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, I’m Brad Brown. We’ve been running a bit of a competition on the website for the last few weeks. It’s still running by the way. We’re giving away a free membership to the Coach Parry online community every single month. All you need to do is leave us a review on iTunes.

If you’d like to enter that competition, all you need to do is head over to, you can get all the details there. But I can tell you, the winner for February. I’m not even going to put in a drum roll, but congratulations and thank you very much for your review, Nadia Ross. You have won a lifetime membership to the Coach Parry online community.

She says, as a novice, these podcasts are a much needed roadmap, I would feel lost without them. Nadia, that’s awesome, thank you so much and a great endorsement for what we’re trying to do here. I’ll be in touch via email, Nadia, thank you and we look forward to having you in that online community. If you’d like to join it, just head over to, that’s where you can get all the details.

Lindsey, I popped a message up on Facebook asking if anybody had any questions for the podcast and we obviously got a whole bunch. But there was a common thread and it was pre-race nutrition. This is the perfect time to be thinking about your pre-race nutrition in the build up to a big race. What you should be doing on race day. Let’s touch on pre-race, the week leading up to it and what you should be doing. Then on race morning as well, what should you and what shouldn’t you do?

Pre-race nutrition - what you should be doing

Lindsey Parry: So look, I’ve got a very simple philosophy with regard to nutrition. That’s just like normal racing advice that we should do nothing new on race day. I encourage people to change as little as possible in their nutrition in the week leading into the race.

If you are somebody who likes the idea of carbo loading and what it possibly can do for you in terms of extra energy and the like. Then I encourage people to try that out at another lesser important event. For the most part, for me, the week before is about doing what you’ve been doing day in and day out, week in and week out.

It’s a little bit more complicated when you’re travelling to a race, staying in a hotel, eating at restaurants. But you can still pick restaurants that you eat the same type of food that you’re accustomed to eating when you’re eating at home and the morning before even more so.

How to handle pre-race breakfast

If you never have breakfast before training, then you shouldn’t be having breakfast before your main race. It is advisable and you’ll see it in literature everywhere that you do have something to eat 2-3 hours before the race starts. But some people just can’t do that.

It’s difficult to do it during training either because of time or just because they hate eating stuff in the morning, so you don’t do anything new. That advice stays exactly the same. If you’re used to eating a banana, then that’s your pre-race snack. If you’re used to having a meal replacement shake, then you have a meal replacement shake.

If you’re used to having oats or something similar to that, then make a plan to have oats or something similar to that in your hotel room or at the hotel or get them to prepare it. That last week, the routine needs to be really what you are used to. What your body is used to, what your body is used to using for fuel.

BB: Brilliant stuff, Lindsey, thank you very much. Now is the time to figure out exactly what does work for you, you don’t want to try that on the week of Comrades or the week of Two Oceans. Whatever it is, if you are planning on doing a long run this weekend, for example, now is the time to work on that. You don’t change anything, as Lindsey said, in the build up to race day. That’s it for us for this today.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to win yourself a lifetime membership to the Coach Parry online community, just like Nadia Ross did, all you have to do is head over to That’s where you can leave us a review. All the details are on that page and who knows, you could be our winner for March. So get your name in there.

What those reviews do, it just helps us get in front of more people and it just helps us spread the message that we’re trying to spread. Thank you very much, if you have left us a review and good luck to everyone who will continue to do that this month. Until next time, from the two of us, it’s cheers.

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