Race Day Nutrition

by Surf Lifesaving World Champion Laura Quilter

Racing is just around the corner and excitement is starting to build.

As you wind up for an event, ensuring you fuel your body with the right foods can help you get the most out of the day.

With swimming events, my preparation usually begins about three days before competition. “Carbo loading” is a term I absolutely adore! It means a little more pasta, a big slice of lasagne and a few extra slices of toast.

While my intake of carbohydrate rich foods does increase as I head in to competition, the most important thing I have learned from years of competition is that:

Experimentation is for training.

While it may be enticing to fill the trolley with an array of different sports related products and gels, race day is not the time to experiment with new foods.

As a younger competitor, I would often start to emulate the habits of successful seniors around me, bad idea. Foods sit differently for everyone, so understanding what your body likes and doesn’t like is essential.

Gels, protein shakes and other sports-related products could potentially help when it comes to racing- but unless you’ve tested them during training, it’s not wise to try them on the day.

It’s like giving a presentation and choosing to deviate from the script you’ve been preparing for months. It could be a huge success or an awkward failure.

The more competitions I’ve done, the more confident I have become sticking to my own plan.

By only tweaking small aspects of my nutrition for race day, it ensures that both my stomach will handle the food and my nerves are not on edge deciding what kinds of new foods could give me an edge on event day.

If there are three tips I could suggest for people on race day, it’d be:

1. Don’t try a range of different foods / products on the day
2. Be prepared, have a snack in your bag and eat a solid breakfast at least a couple of hours before the event
3. Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle handy for the week leading in and on race day.

Regardless of whether you’re out for the win or just excited to take part, being mindful of your nutrition and sticking to your own plan can have a big impact on your experience.


About Laura Quilter

Laura has been a competitive swimmer and Surf Lifesaver for 13 years. In that time she have amassed a number of techniques and ideas about how to deal with doubt, fear, motivation and stagnation. She spends her spare moments away from the water working towards a Bachelor in Communications, where she’s discovered a passion for Cultural Studies and Public Presentation.

Laura has represented New Zealand at the following events:

  • 2012 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games (Swimming)
  • 2014 Pan Pacific Championships (Swimming)
  • 2014 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)
  • 2016 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)

Achievements include:

  • Current World Record Holder 50m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • Current New Zealand Open Record Holder, 50m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • Current New Zealand Open Record Holder, 100m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 50m Butterfly (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 100m Freestyle (2015, 2016)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 50m Freestyle (2014, 2015)

You can follow Laura via:

Website – http://www.lanelinesnz.com
Blog – https://lauraquilternz.com/the-purpose
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lauraquilternz
Twitter – https://twitter.com/lauraquilternz
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lanelinesnz