Timing Your Food Intake Around Training Sessions

Best Practices for Food Consumption Around Training and Racing

Part 1 – nutrition consumption before training

Making the right choices around your training sessions is essential for participating adequately fuelled, so you get the most from your sessions. Today, we’re going to focus on food timing before your training sessions.

But when you have a heavy training load, job, family, friends… life in general to manage, having to think about it can be a challenge in itself! And, the last thing you want to do is be up at 4am just so you can eat in time for your session! So, what are the best food choices to have before training sessions, and what is best practice when it comes to timing?

Sometimes do it fasted

In a recent post, we talked about including fasted training sessions into you training program. This often works really well to do these sessions first thing, so you don’t have to get up even earlier to have time to eat, and as your glycogen stores will have naturally reduced overnight.

Fasted sessions are recommended for low to moderate intensity training sessions, for example an easy paced run or a recovery ride.

If you want/need to eat something

If your training session needs to be fuelled, ie it’s a longer, higher intensity jaunt, fuelling up before hand will help ensure you get the best from yourself. Choosing something that is easy to digest, rich in carbohydrate, low in fat and fibre and provides adequate fluid is ideal.

Timing-wise, if you are consuming a full meal this should be done 2-4 hours before the session. For example, maybe you’ve had a big bowl of cereal, or maybe lunch was a sandwich with meat and salad, along with a milky coffee. Smaller portions, or more easily digested choices are better the closer you get to your session from a timing perspective. As an example, a smoothie or other carb rich drink may be a great choice if it’s being drunk ~45 minutes before hand, or potentially even sooner if your drink is digested very quickly.

Again, it is important for you to play around with this so you know what works best for you, to get the most out of your performance. Getting the right balance so you’re not too full at the start, or too hungry later on is imperative.

What’s my favourite recommendation pre-training session?

I love a good smoothie. Blending banana, oats, coffee and milk really is delicious. It digests quickly as it’s a liquid, but it still is rich in healthy carbs. Plus, the shot of coffee gives a great kick due to the caffeine.

 

Timing Your Food Intake Around Training and Racing

Banana & Coffee Pre-Training Smoothie

5 minutes preparation time

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1tsp maple syrup

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth

Serves 1

Per serve provides:

Energy: 1261 kJ, Protein: 13.4 g, Fat: 5.3 g, Fibre: 4.3 g, Carbs: 47.4g

 

Check out Part 2: How Much to Eat During Training and Racing.

If you have any ideas for future articles, let us know through the Facebook group!

Featured photo via VisualHunt.com

Chloe McLeod
Chloe McLeod
Chloe McLeod has had a keen interest in nutrition from a young age due to food intolerances as well as a realization about the important role food plays in an active lifestyle. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, a master’s degree in Public Health, has received Sports Dietetics training through the Australian Institute of Sport, and has earned qualifications for ISAK Level 1, and is a member of DAA, SDA, and PINES. She is a two-time marathoner, avid trail runner, and also enjoys staying active through snowboarding and Pilates.