Pre-Race Meal Practice

The other night before a long run, I had a practice run of my favorite pre-race meal. I don’t feel the need to pack my gut full of pasta the night before a race. All that does is make me feel incredibly lethargic and full. Instead, I make sure I am completely gluten-free for 24 hours prior to my race and I have a regular meal with carbs and protein about 10-12 hours before I plan on waking up.

The meal is a portion of protein, a non-leafy green and either rice, rice pasta or potato. I’m always a bit nervous in the morning, so I like to keep things simple the night before to make sure I can digest everything. This means no mesclun greens and no quinoa. It’s important to practice what works for you and to be flexible, in case you find yourself in a restaurant in another city and have to have an alternative to your favorite meal.

Since I was home, I went with what looked fresh. I found some beautiful baby potatoes that I cut in half, tossed with olive oil and added salt, fresh pepper and rosemary.  I cooked my simple brussel sprout recipe but in-season I’ll have Edamame beans cooked in the same sauce I use on the tuna, which is often a tamari soy reduction.  The fresh tuna is grilled for about 4 minutes on each side on a hot grill. The new sauce with horseradish was inspired by Carolyn at Athena Fit because I hadn’t used it in a while. Horseradish has a lot of Vitamin C and is a gastric stimulate which aids digestion. It adds a nice zip with the lemon to enhance the flavor of the dish.

Lemony Horseradish Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey

1/2-1 fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk olive oil, Dijon and honey together then add remaining ingredients and whisk again.  Pour on top of tuna and garnish with a slice of lemon.


10 thoughts on “Pre-Race Meal Practice

      1. In a word…..bunk! We take great care in “loading” with our Olympians. It is NOT (as you know) a pasta dinner the night before a competitive event.

  1. Thank you for the ideas! I recently started looking into gluten free. I don’t have issues, but I heard gluten causes swelling. Have you noticed much of a difference?

    1. They call gluten free an anti-inflammatory diet. I’m not intolerant or celiac but my husband is so we eat gluten free by default and I do enjoy it. What I like is that I don’t feel like I have that ‘pasta baby’ in my stomach, it feels much easier to digest. I actually prefer corn or rice pasta now. I try to do a reduced gluten diet generally and its not hard for me. It may have changed my body composition a little bit– but not substantially since I don’t have an allergy.

      And I also try to avoid dairy the night before a race as well but I try not to be crazy if there are not good options available and just do the best I can when traveling.

  2. Awesome post! I’m approaching the Busselton Half and will try to use some of your advice. Also it is the first time I reach pre-race week in optimum weight to not have to worry about proper carboloading. What’s the deal with gluten free?

    1. Thanks! You have to do what feels good for you. Carbo loading or a big pasta dish the night before doesn’t work for me. I think if you eat a balanced diet and eat early the night before and carry through with your nutrition the day of then there shouldn’t be any problems. I don’t have a gluten allergy, but eating gluten free means I don’t get a ‘gut bomb’ of carbs the night before if I can help it. Non-wheat products have an easier time on my system. For me, a little protein is the key along with some type of carb. Obviously don’t try it unless you’ve tested it, but it’s something to consider—corn pasta seems to taste the best and you probably won’t notice a difference. Chrissie Wellington eats a huge bowl of pasta and sauce with tuna on top the night before–so really it depends on your body. Good luck in Busselton–I’ll look forward to your race report and photos! Elizabeth

      1. Pasta and fish (salmon or tuna) works for me. As well as spaghetti with meat sauce. So I guess the pasta + easy to digest protein is what I like for the night before the race. Also some easy to digest carb rich snacks to fill the tank without bloating. I have to be a bit more disciplined with having pre-race dinner early and get a good night sleep.

        Thanks for the good wishes. Hope to report back soon. 🙂

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