Race nutrition: What to eat during your event

For longer races you need to have a nutrition strategy

Race nutrition becomes important for endurance events lasting longer than 1 hour. Energy supply is important before your glycogen storage get depleted, which is also known as “hitting the wall”. Intensity and duration of the event dictate what you should eat or drink. Liquid race nutrition is preferred for short or intense races. A 1 – 3 day carbo-loading phase is only required for events lasting longer than 2 hours while 300-600ml of a sports drink 3 – 1 hour before race start can be beneficial for any duration. The most important point is to practice race nutrition in your training and never try anything new on race day.

A few examples of a race nutrition strategy:

Race duration Carbohydrates per hour


30-60 minutes Mouth rinse with a carbohydrate rich sports drink


1-2 hours Up to 30g


2-3 hours Up to 60g


>3 hours Up to 90g


 

Example product Carbohydrates g/portion


isoactiveIsoactive 29g per 500 ml


Carbo-Basic 38g per 500ml


Long Energy 35g per 500ml


longenergypulverLong Energy 75g per 500ml


longenergypulverPowergel Original 27g


ultraenergycomplexUltra Energy Complex 25g


ultraenergycomplexEnergy Gel 35g


sponsergelSponser Gel 70g


In regards to hydration, the general rule is to drink by thirst. Individual hydration needs are dependent on many factors including climatic (temperature and humidity); sweat rate and sodium loss; event duration and intensity. The general advice for events lasting longer than 1 hour is to aim for approximate 400-800ml of water per hour, regularly at 15 minutes intervals and to take small gulps. Hydration will need to be at the higher end in hot or humid conditions and lower end in cool conditions or lower intensity. Salty sweaters and runners prone to cramping need to check that their drinks contain sufficient electrolytes.

Example Marathon Nutrition:

  • 3 – 1 hour before race start: 300-600ml of a sports drink.
  • 5min before race start: 200ml of sports drink or energy gel plus 200ml of water.
  • During the race: energy gel and water or sports drink every 30 minutes.

Remember to practice in training!

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