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Nutritional timing as it relates to workouts/races

Home/CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized/Nutritional timing as it relates to workouts/races

Nutritional timing as it relates to workouts/races

Poor bloke may have messed up his Stage I or II nutrition.


Bench Press: 5-3-1

MetCon – 20 min AMRAP:
P1 runs 400m while P2 does AMRAP 10 burpee box jumps and 10 toes to bar
As soon as P1 returns from run they pick up where P2 left off and P2 runs

Finisher: 100 Supermans (Supermen?)

A blog post I did for our endurance athletes over on the Ktown Endurance Blog:

When looking at nutrition and nutrition timing as it relates to training and race days, it is easiest to break the session up thusly:

  • Stage I – Immediately before
  • Stage II – During
  • Stage III – Thirty minutes post
  • Stage IV – A period post session equal to the duration of said session
  • Stage V – The period leading up to the next Stage I

It is easiest to begin at the end here.  Since you are almost constantly in a setting like Stage V, I will first discuss what to be eating leading up to training or race day.  I must further break down our training and race days in to prioritized sessions ranging from A to C with B, I bet you can guess, right in the middle.  We are currently on a 16 week program leading up to the Knoxville Marathon.  This race is a priority A.  We are training specifically for it and want to be peaking come race day.

During our 16 week program you all will run other races, I’m sure.  These races probably all fall in to the B and C priorities.  C priority races are community 5k events you run for fun.  B priority races are somewhere in between and often used as markers for gauging progress in the individual cycles of the program.  Not every race can be high priority because you cannot taper your training for each race.  It would limit your overall volume in the training year, and so you would not progress as efficiently as possible.  For this reason diet is most strict leading up to your higher priority races.

And so Stage V eating.  If you have read anything on this blog before, you know that we espouse eating real foods.  The quantities and macronutrients are not super important, but make sure you are getting adequate protein, carbohydrate, and fat.  As training volume increases, so must carbohydrates.  Protein and fat will increase to sustain higher activity levels as well, but not at the same rate as carbs.  By eating real foods you will limit and prevent the amount of systemic inflammation your body will produce.  This should also be a stage where you look to optimize your body weight, rebuild muscle, and keep your glycogen stores capped*.

*There will be instances in the 16 week program you are on where we will tinker with glycogen depletion via diet and then training in a glycogen-depleted state.  This is a good way to train for the tail end of races without having to accrue so much mileage in one training session.

Now back to Stage I fueling. Stage I nutrition consists of a narrow window of time before your training or race session.  Most races happen early morning, so the time from waking until the gun goes off would be Stage I.  Your highest priority here is to EAT.  So many athletes make the mistake of not eating in the morning.  This can not only impact race or workout performance, but it severely hampers recovery after the run.  Your body uses carbohydrates throughout the night to repair and replenish tissues, and it will be your job to refuel with carbs upon waking.  I would suggest staying away from fibrous fruits and vegetables.  Stick with foods you are comfortable with and have eaten plenty of before.  Fruits like bananas, apples (remove the skin if you are fiber averse), and berries are great choices.  Stage I is also a time to rehydrate after a night’s water letting via bathroom breaks, respiration, and your porous skin.

Here are my very specific details on Stage I eating before the 72 mile trail run:

  1. I am comfortable with roughly 200 calories per hour before race time.  We started running at midnight.  I took in a little over 600 calories around 9PM.
  2. Most of my calories came in the form of carbohydrates.  The carbs I ate were mashed sweet potatoes, grape jelly mixed with peanut butter, and some fruit.  I balanced this sugar load with fat from olive oil drizzled over veggies and protein in the form of chicken breast.  If I were to eat a meal 1 hour before race time it would be 200 calories, and I would be much less concerned with blunting the glycemic response.  That means an 11PM meal would have had little to no protein and fat.
  3. Hydration: I stuck with water for my prerace hydration.  It is important to do ONLY water for the hour leading up to race time so as not to bombard the blood with sugar, thereby releasing a ton of insulin to bring that sugar in to your cells leaving you low on blood sugar.  However, sugary drinks or gels can be consumed minutes before the gun goes off.

Stage I food recommendations:

  • Fruit with protein that you normally consume at breakfast time – most races being in the morning
  • Pureed sweet potato with protein powder
  • Applesauce with protein powder
  • Liquid food or baby food

Next post I will tackle Stage II eating.  I will discuss the different nutritional needs for varying lengths of races and varying weather conditions.  You will also learn all about immediate post and prolonged post workout/race nutrition.

Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:24+00:00 February 5th, 2013|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|4 Comments


  1. Ben February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the picture Grant. I can only imagine the google image keywords you had to use.

  2. crossfitktown February 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    This was my desktop background image. I just culled from there.


  3. Dani February 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    say you do applesauce with protein powder…. What kind of protein do you recommend?

  4. L SHIZZLE February 6, 2013 at 2:48 am



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