This past weekend I traveled with my boyfriend Rob for a 33k (20.5mile) trail race just outside of Austin Texas.
The race was only 2 hours away, but with an early morning start I knew we would get the best sleep, and experience the least amount of stress, if we traveled a day early. We made a weekend out of it, exploring the area and relaxing in our lakeside cottage before crushing our bodies in rocky terrain for over 3 hours.
Despite the convenience of traveling a couple days before the race, being away from home brings a new challenge to fueling appropriately before a race.
I follow a gluten free diet for medical purposes and I could not find any restaurants in the area that would meet my need. On top of that, I wanted to carb-load which takes some nutritional planning. And though its a rare occurrence, the thought of potential food poisoning from a restaurant the day before a race was too much to risk.
The solution to these concerns was to avoid restaurant food as much as possible and pack my own fuel!
This particular area of Texas was full of small cottages for rent which was ideal for cooking my own food. I packed one Yeti cooler of refrigerated items and 1 bag of non-perishables in preparation.
However, if you are not so fortunate to have a small kitchen when you travel, rest assured you can cook a lot in a hotel using microwaves, rice cookers, or pressure cookers that easily plug into outlets. And if you need more refrigeration room, most hotel staff are happy to accommodate by storing your food in their kitchen or providing a second mini-fridge for your room. All you have to do is ask! (However I do recommend calling ahead to inquire before booking!)
Depending on how long you are traveling, there are also are plenty of carb-loading foods that require minimal cooking including cereal, rice cakes, bananas, fruit juices, sports beverages, dried fruit, and more!
If you are curious about how to plan your fuel for an upcoming race, or why and how to carb-load, check out my RACE DAY FUELING GUIDE which gives you step by step instruction on how to fuel for your next race! It's packed with information on hydration, carb-loading, and even some recommended pit-stops when eating at chain restaurants.
(This fueling guide is ideal for those running a half marathon to marathon distance. No matter your experience level, this guide clarifies many common nutrition questions. However if you are new to running, this information will be a game-changer! There's no need to "learn by mistake" when you have this guide in hand!)
And on top of all that amazing information, I'm going to share with you exactly what I did to fuel for my 33k race, even though I was not in the comfort of my own home. This is a picture-by-picture log of what I ate:
(Day 1 of Carb Loading)
This was a normal day at home for me with a "date night" for dinner in the evening. I didn't track my carbohydrate intake specifically, though I have in the past. But all meals had a strong emphasis on carbohydrates: