Best practices DURING a long race

24 Feb, 2019 • by Admin

A good diet filled with the right nutrients is an essential part of any exercise routine, but it's especially important for endurance events like marathons or triathlons.

It's important to replenish your carbohydrate stores during runs of 90 minutes or more. The body can only store around 2,000 kcals of glycogen and after a few hours of running, your fuel tank warning light will flicker on unless you frequently top up your carb stores. High GI carbohydrate foods are best during a run as they release energy quickly. Choose specially designed sport gels and isotonic drinks, or try bananas, oranges, honey, dried fruit or gummy sweets such as jelly beans. Fuel every 45-60 minutes during a long run, with around 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (120-140 calories) per hour (e.g. a large banana, white bread honey sandwich or energy gels), and don't forget to stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and electrolytes.

Midrun Fuel is a Must

Maybe you got by on a few long runs without refueling (tsk! tsk!), but over the course of 26.2 miles, your body will not be able to propel you forward without fueling every 30 to 45 minutes after the first hour. It’s better to have a little extra nutrition stowed away than to not enough and hit the dreaded wall hard. As noted above, start experimenting with different fuel sources—everything from gels and gummies to whole foods like candy—during your training, so you know what will work for your stomach on race day.

Listen to Your Body

While you’re practicing your fueling strategy during long runs, pay attention to how you feel toward the end and once you finish. If you finish feeling good, you likely have a great nutrition plan in place. If you’re totally wiped out, try adding 15 grams of carbs per hour. If you finish feeling energized but with GI distress, you probably ate too much, didn’t drink enough water, or need to experiment with other fuel sources.

Read the Labels

Gels: In order to dilute the high sugar content, chase these with a few sips of water. Try taking gels when you’re approaching a water stop. It may also be helpful to consume a gel slowly, over the course of a few minutes.

Chews: Like gels, chase these with water. Split packs of six chews into two fueling stops to avoid consuming too much sugar.

Sports Drinks: Drinks and mixes often provide about 15 grams of carbs per eight ounces, but choosing a brand that has less sugar—six to 12 grams per 16 ounces—can keep your stomach settled. Try alternating water and sports drink at each fluid stop, drinking to meet your thirst.

Top OFF the tank

Midrun fueling will help maintain your energy levels over the course of 26.2 miles, but your prerun meals are also crucial. For the two to three meals before your race, choose high-carb, moderate-protein, and low-fat and fiber options. Try: pasta primavera with chicken for a prerun dinner, and a bagel topped with scoop of peanut butter and a banana for a prerun breakfast.

Fueling Doesn’t Stop at the Finish Line

Within 30 minutes to an hour postrun, refuel with 15 to 30 grams of protein to prevent further muscle breakdown and kick start the recovery process. It’s also important to replenish your glycogen stores and the harder the workout, the more you’ll need. When in doubt, aim for 60 to 120 grams of carbohydrate in addition to your protein postworkout. Trust us, your body will thank you the next day if you refuel properly past the finish line.


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