Running Nutrition Guide

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Train as you race!

No matter what distance of run you decide to tackle, there are certain elements you need to give serious thought to; your training and your nutrition. Don’t let those hard earned miles go to waste with poor nutritional strategies.

Your nutrition will be the make or break when it comes to not just surviving the miles but actually enjoying the event when race day comes and being able to train without fatigue.

We’ve put together the key nutritional considerations to help you fuel your training days and chosen race itself.

 

FUELLING YOUR TRAINING

Key Consideration: Train as you race!

Testing nutrition strategies before race day is essential for the following reasons:

  • Morning fuel: Your breakfast will be one of the most important meals you consume and will ensure you are fully fuelled when you cross the start line, so make sure you are comfortable with it and it works for you.
  • On the go feeding: Fuelling while running is key, so get confident at consuming food and fluid whilst at a good pace.
  • Carbohydrate intake: Since your body can only store enough carbohydrate for up to 90-120 minutes you will need to intake up to 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour during prolonged exercise (over 90 minutes) to maintain carbohydrate supply to your muscles(1). If you’re not used to consuming this much carbohydrate during exercise it is a good idea to test it out to ensure the body is capable.
  • Sweat rate: How much you sweat will dictate how much fluid you need to take-in. Aim to not lose any more than 2-3 % of your body mass during runs to maintain hydration and be ready to train the next day(2).

Below is an example nutrition guide to follow around your training:

Pre Training During your runs Post Training
Hydration It might not be easy to take on much fluid during training runs, so ensure you are fully hydrated. Drink 500 – 1000 ml of fluid at least 4 hours before your run and ensure that urine is a clear colour. Use SiS GO Electrolyte or SiS GO Hydro to increase fluid retention. Try not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass through sweating. This usually falls within drinking 500 ml of SiS GO Electrolyte per hour depending on temperature. During competition you’ll have ‘feed stations’, for training you won’t! For longer sessions, run a circuit that stops by your house. This will allow you to re-hydrate. Use SiS GO Hydro and/or SiS GO Electrolyte to replace electrolytes lost through sweat. To ensure that we are fully recovered to train again, aim to replace 150% of the fluid lost through sweating(3). Always make sure to weigh yourself before and after your training runs.
Energy Fuel for the work required throughout your training weeks(4). During short or low intense sessions, reduce carbohydrate intake. However, it’s important to practice your race-day fuelling plan during longer sessions, so that your body adapts to the work. Here, have a carbohydrate-based snack 3-4 hours before such as porridge, breads and yogurts. SiS GO Energy Bar 30 minutes before can help top up your energy stores Focus on electrolyte and fluid intake for shorter runs. For longer runs, aim to take on 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour. This can come from 3 SiS GO Isotonic Energy gels, which can be taken without the need for fluid. Find out the combination that works for you during training. If you’ve had a tough session, replenish your carbohydrate stores with 1.2 g/kg of carbohydrates, starting within 30 minutes of finishing your run.
Recovery Ensure that you rest well between runs as this is where adaptations take place. Overtraining is common in endurance runners. Aim to get the same amount of sleep each night throughout your training period. N/A Post-training recovery starts within 30 minutes of finishing a run. Take SiS REGO Rapid Recovery to replace glycogen and electrolyte stores and repair damaged muscles. Finally, ensure that your post training meal contains balanced carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.

 

 

RACE DAY

Key Consideration 1: Build up Strategies; the Importance of carbohydrate

Our muscles can store up to 400-500 g or around 2000 kcal of glycogen to be used as energy. Glycogen is the main fuel you will use during your race and is stored when you eat carbohydrates. To make sure these stores are fully loaded, reducing the onset of fatigue, you can step up your overall carbohydrate intake in the 48 hours before the event(5).

To do this, increase your carbohydrate portions at meal times, including foods such as rice, potatoes, pasta and cereals and add carbohydrate snacks in-between, such as cereal bars, fruit, or carbohydrate drinks such as SiS GO Electrolyte. Aim for 8-10g of carbohydrate per kilo of your body mass, per day.

Below is an example plan for a typical 70kg runner, providing 3500kcal, loading with 600g carbohydrates- great the day before a race:

Breakfast 3 Cups Granola with milk; 1 medium banana; 250ml fruit juice
Snack Toasted muffin with butter and jam;
Lunch 2x cups of brown pasta with tomato sauce
Snack 1 medium banana, 1 cup of yoghurt with honey
Dinner 1 cup of white rice with tomato sauce; 3x slices garlic bread
Snack Blueberry muffin
 

Key Consideration 2: Pre Race

Breakfast: Have breakfast 2-3 hours before the race. This should be mainly carbohydrate based as our liver glycogen stores decrease over night. Don’t leave breakfast too late as this could cause stomach cramps early on in the race. This should involve normal breakfast foods that you’re accustomed to such as toast, cereals and juices.

Hydration: Pre race hydration is key. Aim to drink 500ml-1000ml of fluid in the build up to the race, ideally 500ml 2-3 hours at breakfast and 500ml in the build up to the event. Don’t drink just water, SiS GO Electrolyte or SiS GO Hydro can increase fluid absobtion and retention, meaning there will be less stops for the toilet during the race.

Snacking: A pre race snack is perfect to ensure we don’t eat everything at once for breakfast, which could cause stomach discomfort. An SiS GO Energy Bar, 30 minutes before you start will help ‘top up’ your energy stores.

Key Consideration 3: During the Race

  • For shorter runs less than 90 minutes like a 10k, focus on hydration and electrolyte intake. If you have trained using a caffeine product such as SiS GO Isotonic Gels + Caffeine, this should be taken just before the race to kick in and last you short length of the race.
  • For longer runs over 90 minutes like a marathon, focus on hydration and carbohydrate intake. Our bodies can absorb around 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour so know how long you’ll be running and pack enough nutrition to see you through to the end(5). Here, caffeine should be taken towards the end of your race to give you increased mental stimulation.

The tables below provide an example nutrition plan during the race. Most importantly, don’t try this nutrition plan on race day for first time.

Shorter Races (<90 min)

Event Day (<90min) During Race
Hydration
  • Aim not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass (usually around 500 ml of fluid per hour depending on sweat rate and temperature/humidity)
  • Rehydrate using an electrolyte drink: SiS GO Hydro provides a precise 30 mmol/L of Sodium, which will help retain the fluid
  • Some short races like a 10K might not have “fuel stations” so carry a bottle in your race belt
  • For an extra lift at the start of the race, take an SiS GO Caffeine Shot, which may increase concentration and endurance performance
Energy
  • Focus on hydration and electrolyte intake
  • SiS GO Electrolyte can be consumed throughout shorter races, which contain added carbohydrates for energy, but will also help absorb the electrolytes into the system
  • An SiS GO Isotonic Energy gel can be used at the half way mark to top up energy stores if necessary

 

Longer Races (>90 min)

Event Day (>90min) During Race
Hydration
  • Aim not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass (usually 500 ml of fluid per hour depending on sweat rate and temperature/humidity)
  • Rehydrate using an electrolyte drink: SiS GO Hydro provides a precise 30mmol of Sodium, which will help retain the fluid
Energy
  • Focus should be on hydration and carbohydrate intake
  • After 30 minutes of the race, aim to take on 60-90g carbohydrate per hour. This can be achieved through gels and/or fluid sources depending on individual preference
  • Along with appropriate hydration and fluid intake, this could come from: 3x SiS GO Isotonic Energy gels or 1x 500ml SiS GO Electrolyte and 1 Isotonic Energy Gel
  • Towards the end of the race consume an SiS GO Isotonic Gels + Caffeine (75 or 150mg) which may increase concentration and endurance performance
  • SiS GO Isotonic Energy gels are preferred by long distance runners as they easily carried in a race belt and do not require fluid for easy digestion

 

POST-TRAINING / RACING: RECOVERY

After training or racing over long or short distance the body will be in a state of depletion; to reduce fatigue, the risk of injury and promote physiological adaptations it is important to recover well by refuelling and getting enough rest. Consider these three key points for the ultimate post-run recovery:

  • Refuel: The capacity of your muscles to absorb and store nutrients is increased 30-60 minutes post-exercise, so it is important to replace carbohydrates and provide protein and electrolytes within this time. This can be done with “real food” such as carbohydrate (e.g. rice, pasta, breads etc) and protein options (e.g. greek yoghurt, chicken, fish etc), however this is not always possible or palatable immediately after training or a race. SiS REGO Rapid Recovery provides the body with 23g of carbohydrate, 20g of protein and 1 gram of salt, which is what the body needs to begin the adaptation and recovery process after training and competition.
  • Food: Take on a full carbohydrate based meal within 1 hour of finishing a tough training run or race. This should also include a source of protein and plenty of vegetables.
  • Always plan ahead: Pre-planning your meals or snacks after training ensures that you can take advantage of the 30-60 minute recovery window. If you have to drive back from a race or are heading out to training straight after work, ensure you have the appropriate meals with you. Have SiS REGO Rapid Recovery pre-mixed in your kitbag for when you finish training and competition.
  • Don’t forget protein before sleep: Sleep is one of the most important aspects of recovery. During sleep, it is also important to have the muscles to have a supply of protein (i.e. amino acids) to help the muscle recovery. Consuming 40 g of SiS Overnight Protein prior to sleep can help to deliver a sustained supply of amino acids during the overnight period. Mixing with milk (as opposed to water) can also deliver more carbohydrates to help with recovery of glycogen stores.

Related Articles:

    References

    1. Jeukendrup, A. (2014). A step towards personalized sports nutrition: carbohydrate intake during exercise. Sports Medicine44(1), 25-33.
    2. Casa, D. J., DeMartini, J. K., Bergeron, M. F., Csillan, D., Eichner, E. R., Lopez, R. M. & Yeargin, S. W. (2015). National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement: exertional heat illnesses. Journal of Athletic Training50(9), 986-1000.
    3. Baker, L. B., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2014). Optimal composition of fluid‐replacement beverages. Comprehensive Physiology, 4, 575-630
    4. Impey, S. G., Hammond, K. M., Shepherd, S. O., Sharples, A. P., Stewart, C., Limb, M., ... & Close, G. L. (2016). Fuel for the work required: a practical approach to amalgamating train‐low paradigms for endurance athletes. Physiological reports4(10), e12803.
    5. Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics, dietitians of canada, and the american college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics116(3), 501-528.

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