But can we continue to reach new levels? The body is a machine and, like your car, you take it everywhere you go. But what about fuel? You spend big bucks fueling your car’s engine with high quality gasoline, but what about your body? You push it day after day to its limits in the gym or on the road, and then you go home and hit the sack. What about its fuel for the next day.
Over the past year, I have given many talks to Runners at the St. John’s Running Room. This coming weekend is Newfoundland’s Epic Tely 10 Race. It’s a 10 mile race which will see over 4500 Runners. Unfortunately, Newfoundland is known for crazy weather, and we have been training most of this summer in fairly cool temperatures. Last year, race day was extremely hot which negatively affected many runners. It’s really not looking like it will be hot this coming Sunday, but just in case, here are some general tips for Endurance Athletes (note that these are general guidelines; to find out your specifics, click here to book a consult):
Effort level of 7-9 out of 10: 6-8 ounces water every 20 minutes
Effort level of 5-7 out of 10: 4-6 ounces water every 20 minutes
When we sweat we lose electrolytes. These are key to maintaining our hormones and our overall wellbeing. There are many electrolytes, but the key ones that we need to focus on are Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium. When our electrolyte levels drop we may notice symptoms like cramping, side stitches, muscle fatigue, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, dry skin and dark urine. Most runners I speak with seem to know that we sweat out salt, but do not realize the importance of the others. Replacing salt without the other electrolytes may result in water retention and swelling.
Electrolytes must be replaced if exercise is over 90 minutes or if you are maintaining a high effort over a shorter distance. The more you sweat, the more electrolytes you require.
My favorite electrolyte replacement drinks are eload and Ultima Replenisher. Both are sold at The Running Room. For an even more cost efficient yet effective drink, you can try this homemade carbohydrate/electrolyte drink. I recommend you alternate water and your electrolyte drink every 20 minutes throughout an event.
Do I need to eat?
Let’s look at the car analogy again. What would happen if you got up in the morning and you left for work only to find out that there was no gas in your car? What would happen if you were driving across the country but you hadn’t had an oil change done in a couple of years?
It wouldn’t preform too well, would it? The same is true for your body. Here is the thing, if you want to be an endurance athlete than you are going to have to suck it up and eat something before, during and after long training sessions and races to optimize your performance.
Here are my rules:
- Avoid fat and protein within 30 minutes of your training session or race. These will slow down stomach emptying time which can leave you feeling full and bloated.
- If you are exercising over 90 minutes, you will need to consume approximately 100 calories every 45 minutes. This will vary based on speed and effort. These foods can include whole foods like clementines, grapes, pretzels, Kind bars, and raisins, or things like energy gels and gummies that are sold at your local sports/running stores.
- Eat fruit within 30 minutes following your training session to replace the glycogen that you burned during your workout. This will help optimize your recovery. Avoid fat and protein as it slows this process.
These notes are from my “Fuel the Body, Win the Game” program which I designed to educate athletes on the importance of fueling your body. It focuses on pre, during and post exercise nutrition to help every athlete reach optimal success. To learn more about this program or upcoming classes, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.