Race Nutrition for Runners

With the SMH Half Marathon just over a month away now is certainly to time to be perfecting your race nutrition strategy…

Gels, energy bars, Endura, Gatorade, salty water, lollies, Powerade etc etc. No matter what your personal preference or secret nutrition strategy is, one thing is common. Its tried, tested and works for you! For beginners or those new to long training runs the offers of advice and countless articles can be overwhelming. Here’s a few tips to make life easier formulating your own plan.Sports drinks

Examine your run based on duration and energy needs….

While it is important to maintain your fluids, unless your run is longer than 90mins sports drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes are not essential to keep you going. Regular water stops at the bubbler or bottles left en route can be enough to help you get through your training run. Try small regular drinks to aid absorbtion and prevent stitches developing. Over time many runners will feel more comfortable running for extended periods without stopping for drinks, instead choosing to rehydrate after the run.

For efforts longer than 90mins, you’ll need to plan regular opportunities for nutrition. I find sports drinks the simplest and least offensive to the digestive system to trial a few flavours and find your favourite. Gels can be another great way to get a quick shot of carbohydrate into the body but the consistency doesn’t agree with some people. Definitely Gupractice taking these in training before any races, and make sure you have some water on hand or are about to come up to a drink stop so you can wash down the sticky remnants. Snakes, jelly beans and other lollies can be another simple energy hit but again the best advice is practice. Eating on the run can be tricky at first so choose a flat section or slow slightly so you don’t gulp down your food as you gasp for air.

Use training runs or lead up races as opportunities to perfect your race nutrition strategy right down to the pre event meal the night before, pre race breakfast and test out your nutrition strategy to make sure it provides you what you need so you have the energy to do your best but also doesn’t upset your stomach or give you cramps or a stitch.

Guidelines for fluid replacement…. Aim for 250ml every 30mins or moderate-intense exercise. If you’d like an accurate picture of your fluid loss during training or a race, weigh yourself before & after your run (in the least clothing possible). Adding 100gm to your post run weight for each 100ml of fluid consumed during the run. If you are lighter when you finish your run you have a net loss and this is an indication of dehydration, which will affect performance. Even a 1% loss in body weight is significant so plan well.

If you have any questions or any more explanation on nutrition strategies feel free to post below.

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