Most of the athletes I know already have their race calendar for 2013 set. Those who don’t have it set have an idea of what races they want to do and the timing. Just as important as planning your race calendar is to start planning your race nutrition. And, as with many things, looking forward starts with looking back.
When you start your race nutrition planning for the year, you want to think back to your training and racing in 2012 and 2011 and think about what went right, what went wrong, and what you’d like to change. I have the athletes I work with write a race report when they finish a race (preferably within 24 hours) that documents all the details of the race – how they raced, what fluids and fuels they took in, what they liked, didn’t like, etc. I also write up race reports. These reports prove invaluable for planning the next race. If you don’t have race reports to review, spend 30 minutes thinking back to the races of the last couple of years and writing down what you remember worked and didn’t work. Your notes and race reports should also include what you ate the day before, night before, morning of, and after each race.
Now that you’ve looked backwards, its time to start looking forward. What do you want to accomplish this year? For the races on your calendar, what is your goal for each race? What do you need to change about your nutrition? Did you find out the Alfredo sauce the night before a race wasn’t such a good idea? Or, did you find a new product that worked well? For each race spend a few minutes writing down what you want to do with your pre-, during and post-race nutrition.
Then, after each race write up your race report. Be detailed about everything you did. Be sure and note what you want to do differently in the next race. Then, for the next race be sure and look back at your notes so you can make the changes you wanted to make.
Now, you have the start of a race nutrition plan that can evolve as your racing evolves.