by Coach Rick Mollgaard, Red Wing Nordic
Sports nutrition is so important because without gas in your tank, you won’t go anywhere. First of all, we obviously need to consume a well-balanced diet with more carbs (pasta,breads, oatmeal etc). Athletes do need more carbs for energy especially before a long/hard training session or race. I eat mainly carbs starting the day before a long/hard training session or race.
My focus here, is to suggest the most important things to remember just before and during practice or a race. Parents…don’t cringe but although we normally don’t recommend sweets for kids, the exception is just before, during and after an event.
The following are my suggestions:
- Try to eat a meal 2-3 hours before practice or race (I realize sometimes hard to do)
- Consider something a little sweeter such as a power bar or snickers one hour before.
- Just before and during the event, I suggest Gatorade. This is my most important suggestion. Gatorade is better than water. It has all three of the most important things you need – water, sugar and electrolytes to keep you going.
If all you remember from this article is to carry a bottle with Gatorade, you will have more energy to train. Some people also eat something sweet during an event but this may not be necessary as Gatorade already has sugar.
It’s important to remember that most of the high school races are short and fast. If your event is less than one hour( which most will be), some people may not need to take food or beverage during the event. If the event is longer than 3 hours, you probably need more “real” food such as a sandwich etc.
Finally recovery is very important. There is a brief time after training during which your body accepts nutrients most efficiently. This time is now as the glycogen window and may be as short as 15 minutes. I usually have chocolate milk or a small snickers (poor mans power bar) right after training.
This is my take on it, but I know there are others knowledgeable about nutrition, so please share your thoughts. If you have any questions, please let me know. It’s been a joy to help coach this year. Great kids!