Track meet performance is affected not only by individual ability, but also the athlete’s ability to handle external factors like long days, fatigue, and weather. To ensure optimum performance, athletes are advised to consider hydration and nutrition.
The Week of the Meet:
Competition day varies for each athlete. Some athletes may participate in one event; others may have multiple events. Athletes should make sure they are properly fueled to compete all day long and on back-to-back days.
Foods that the athletes like and are used to eating should be eaten prior to competing. Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates such as rice, breads, pasta and vegetables. Carbohydrates digest at a fast rate. Two days before the meet is the ideal time to “pasta load”!
The night before the meet, eat a dinner without meat and avoid spicy foods.
Track Meet Day:
What you eat in the morning of a track meet is important and will help give you a kick start to your day. A breakfast of eggs and toast is ideal. Remember to hydrate! Athletes that are visiting the washroom less than every hour on track meet days are not properly hydrating. Bring your own snacks (and lunch if you prefer) to the meet.
Large meals should be consumed at least 3-4 hours before competition. Smaller meals may be eaten 2-3 hours before an event and a small snack 30-60 minutes before an event. Liquid can be consumed as close as 15 minutes before an event.
Note: Salads sit in the stomach for a long period and should not be eaten at the track meets.
Snacking is also very important with track athletes because energy levels must be maintained throughout multiple events and long days. The snacks will help to provide energy needed to recover from one event to the next. Snacks should also be food that athletes are used to and need to be moderate in protein and high in carbohydrates so they can be digested properly. A few examples may be fruit, trail mix, peanut butter crackers/bread sticks, almonds, or a granola bar.
No chocolate or candy please.
Note: For indoor meets at the Butterdome, HUB and SUB food courts are open, however be forewarned long line ups are common.
Post Track Meet:
When you compete in a track meet your glycogen storage, potassium, and sodium depletes. Choose carbohydrate rich foods and liquids after a track meet to replenish these important nutrients. Such foods can include cottage cheese with 2 cups of fruit, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, 1/2 cup Powerade (sodium drink needed to absorb water), pasta with chicken, or steak/tuna/salmon and potatoes/sweet potatoes. Remember meat has protein and should be eaten the night after a competition to help rebuild muscle tissue that has been torn down from the track meet.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It is proven that well hydrated athletes perform better.
Ensure you are drinking lots of water each day.
Proper hydration also includes taking in a couple of sips of water 15 minutes prior to track practices and races.
Snacks for Track Meets
- Water/water bottle
- Granola Bars
- Nuts/Trail Mix
- Whole wheat sandwiches with chicken, turkey or tuna
- Gatorade, ideally diluted by half water
- Powerade, for use before your final race only