If I were to give you one tip for the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, it would be Food = Happiness. If you get your nutrition right then you will find the race easier and finish it faster. What’s not to like?!

Not only will nutition be important on race day, but it will help your body make the most of your training and ensure you store up energy in the week running up to the race.

This page is more about the types of food you should be eating. If you’re wanting to know more about the logistics of being fed and watered by a support team then visit the support page.

Nutrition during training

Overall, aim for colourful protein-rich food and avoid too much beige stuff (aka bread, pasta, potatoes).

Make sure you have enough energy when you are on long paddles by following some tips from the race day nutrition advice further down. As much as possible, eat and drink the same food on training runs as you will on the race day to get your body familiar with it.

Nutrition 48 hours before the race

Concentrate on eating beige carb-rich foods 48 hours before the race and avoid fibre in the last 12 hours. Keep yourself hydrated with lots of water.

Nutrition on race day

In theory, race day is a case of scientfically replacing the carbs you burn off, keeping your energy levels up whilst spending minimal time eating and drinking. In reality this doesn’t happen – especially if you’re a novice just aiming to complete the race. It very quickly becomes apparent after paddling for a few hours that morale is far higher up your priority list than monitoring the grams of carbohydrates you’ve consumed.

If you want specific guidelines then you can find them in the Zero to DW Hero eBook, but be aware that you will crave certain foods and denying yourself those cravings will only make you miserable. Keeping yourself happy should be your first priority as it’s your mood that will make or break you on race day.

Be warned that even if you follow all of the advice above, you will still have points in the race where you feel miserable. Beyond eating and drinking the right stuff, it all boils down to mental endurance. Even the fittest and most well fed paddler won’t be able to get through DW if they can’t trick their brain into carrying on to the bitter end. For tips and tricks on psychology and motivation click here.

What’s in the Zero to DW Hero eBook?

  • The scientific rationale behind all the nutrition advice on this page
  • Specific guidelines around what to eat and drink to keep you going throughout the race

Download the Zero to DW Hero eBook here (£15):


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© S Hicks 2018

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