Supplement Stack for Race Day/Week

After putting a lot of work in training, nutrition, weightlifting….I’m ready to plan the supplement stack for my A race of the year, which I aim to win :man_white_haired:t3::muscle:t3:

Looking at the evidence based literature, I have narrowed to 4:

  1. Caffeine.
  2. Beetroot Juice
  3. Beta Alanine
  4. Sodium Bicarbonate.

I really don’t think there’s anything else worth trying. A query for the forum:

What have been your experiences with these supplements and what protocols have you tried.???


Sodium Bicarbonate can cause gastro issues. Have you used it before?

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Never!. But if I do it, I would try the Maurteen formula, that gel seems to slowdown absorption.

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That’s putting it lightly lol. There are some real horror stories out there.


I thought there was a conflict between beetroot and caffeine.

Say more!. I’ve had tea with beet salads multiple times, is it dose dependent?

Used beetroot juice for a bit, with some sort of protocol that’d been published. Stopped because it didn’t seem to do anything apart from adding hassle to the pre-race prep. I actually like the taste, but the juice isn’t that cheap.

Can’t one just make their own juice?

Probably works out the about the same, though I haven’t tried tbf… Beetroot is not the juiciest of vegetables. Also they are pretty messy.

I mean, its not prohibitively expensive, but more than I’d usually pay for juice. Just an expense that I didn’t feel was worth it.

I don’t think they conflict I think the marginal gains from each don’t stack. Doing both should cause no harm.

Have you taken beta alanine before? It’s in a lot of pre-workout and it gives you a “tingle” but to me, especially in the heat, it it feels like my face is burning/agitated so I avoid it. It’s nice because it’s a supplement you can really feel which should help with placebo but just be careful it it’s hot or you are sensitive to it.

Never. I would only use it for a race simulation effort and then for race day. I’m really looking for that extra marginal gain + placebo on race day. The only supplements I take daily are:

Fish Oil
Whey Protein
Vit D

And I cycle Creatine during the off-season.

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My understanding is that beets are a vasodilator and caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. I haven’t dug further than that.

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Maybe it’s both somehow?



I was using creatine for months during my last plan but didn’t feel any ergogenic effect from it so I stopped using it and ended up dropping a few pounds. My event was BWR SD and I was running the grand fondo specialty leading up to the event.

Caffeine - yes! I stopped regular coffee intake about 2 months out from the event and used caffeine for the event both before and during. I felt the effects and it definitely helped.

I have not used Beet Root Juice - but it was mentioned on the TR podcast yesterday that the highest concentration of nitrous oxide was found in the off the shelf Knudsen brand of beet root juice. I believe you take this leading up to an event so that the nitrous oxide levels build up in your system. I don’t think it could hurt.

Beta-alanine - I haven’t tried this in years - I did have it in a pre-workout drink but there was also caffeine in the ingredients as well.

If I were to redo my own pre-race stack I would stick with caffeine and stack it with a neurotropic and definitely test it out in a race simulation event. I’d skip the rest personally.

What is the nature of your race? Road, Off-road, long or short?


I do use both, but primarily use beet powder as a tasty way to add carbs to my drink mix. I use caffeine because it is fat and away my favorite drug. If I didn’t race or ride, I’d still drink a lot of coffee.

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What about pre-loading electrolytes ahead of the race?

Maybe a packet of LMNT or whatever after breakfast?

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You forgot the best and most researched one: creatine

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You need to load up on beta alanine for a few days maybe a week at least. Take many small doses throughout the day because taking a bit too much is very unpleasant

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Beets are horrible :nauseated_face: I was thinking about just getting sodium or potassium nitrate (e251 and e252) supposedly it’s also important not to brush your teeth before drinking beetroot or getting nitrate as the oral microbiome plays an important part in the conversion to nitrite and ultimately nitric oxide



  • The most practical supplementation regimen entails athlete’s consuming a 1600 mg dose of ß-alanine with their 3 main daily meals and largest snack each day (i.e., 6400 mg of ß-alanine per day spread evenly over four eating times). This is likely to reduce the incidence and severity of paraesthesia, maximise carnosine loading by co-ingesting ß-alanine with meals and promote compliance for athletes.
  • While the time-to-maximal carnosine content is variable (mean 18 wk with 6.4 g·d-1; range 4 to 24 wk), a minimum supplementation period of 4 weeks would be advisable in order to obtain an ergogenic benefit for specific exercise tasks (see below). However, it is not clear whether further increases in muscle carnosine (beyond those achieved with 6.4 g·d-1for 4 wk) result in additional improvements in exercise performance.17
  • A maintenance dose of ~1.2 g·d-1 ß-alanine seems to be sufficient to maintain muscle carnosine content elevated at 30%-50% above baseline for a prolonged period.
  • Supplementation with ß-alanine in the weeks preceding a period of training where training intensity is prioritized and/or prior to periods of competition when it is desirable to maximize performance.
  • There is good evidence to support the use of ß-alanine by athletes undertaking high-intensity endurance events whereby:
    • Sustained competitive events last 30 seconds to 10 minutes (e.g. rowing, swimming, track cycling, middle distance running):
    • Repeated bouts of high-intensity efforts are performed including:
      • High intensity interval and resistance training.
      • Team and racquet sports.
    • High-intensity effort(s) are undertaken within or at the end of prolonged exercise (e.g. road cycling and distance running).
  • The chronic increase in muscle carnosine may increase muscle buffering capacity or improve other mechanisms within the muscle e.g. antioxidant activity) that could enhance training adaptations by increasing training capacity.


As mentioned by someone else above, It’s been noted many times by people reviewing supplement efficacy that ß-alanine is only effective once it’s built up in your system. Any acute doses may feel like a booster, but that’s just a placebo which may or may not work for you. I think it’d throw you off given how it can make some people feel.

Best of luck in the final race prep.

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