Fuelling the Run – Run Nutrition Essentials

Sports nutrition can be a little confusing with so many options and opinions out there, and there’s often the perception that it’s “just for the pros”. But when you’re running for 1-2+ hours at a time and logging bulk hours in training, your body is being pushed up to and beyond its normal limits and it’s going to appreciate the extra support.

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The 3 Fundamentals of Sports Nutrition

So what nutrition should you incorporate and when/how? Although there’s a myriad of supplement options available, for most of us the 3 core fundamentals of nutrition we should consider are hydration, energy and recovery, get these right and you can be confident you’re giving yourself a fighting chance of performing at your peak and reducing the already significant impacts on your body.

1. HYDRATION

Depending on conditions, it can take as little as 1 hour of exercise for the performance sapping effects of dehydration to kick in, with symptoms such as: Increased fatigue and perception of effort (everything feels harder), increased core temp and decreased alertness. These effects can kick in with as little as 2% loss of body mass in fluid, and losses of up to 7% aren’t uncommon on longer events. Let’s put that into perspective, that’s 7kg in fluid loss for a 100kg person…WOW!!

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Find YOUR hydration level: Sweat rates can vary MASSIVELY! Practice and monitor your hydration/dehydration levels in training to find your perfect hydration rate – weigh yourself per and post-run and aim to not lose more than 2% of your body weight.

Hydration isn’t just water: Water is refreshing and fine for shorter runs, but when your run lengths and fluid losses increase, you should definitely consider added electrolytes. As a suggested introductory guide, we’d aim for 1-2 doses/hour of a premium electrolyte/ hydration formula such as Endura Performance Fuel to optimise your hydration and electrolyte levels.

2. ENERGY

Your body only has enough glycogen (energy) stores for around an hour/90 minutes of moderate intensity running (less for higher intensity), once you’ve burned through those stores, your risk of running out of energy (bonking/hitting the wall) increases the further you push. For longer runs (especially those at race pace), you’ll need around 1g of carbs/hour per kg of body weight to keep your energy tanks topped up.

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DON’T WAIT: If you wait until you’re getting low on energy before you top up, it’s too late. Start early (around the 45 minute mark), so you’re getting fresh energy before your body’s stores are completely tapped. Ask any experienced runner what it feels like to hit the wall…it’s not pretty or fun.

WATER OPTIMISES DIGESTION: Gels work best when they’re washed down with around 350ml water – it helps digest the Gel and get it into your muscles faster, reducing the chance of stomach upsets and helping get you fresh energy FAST.

3. RECOVERY

The first 30 minutes post-run are crucial to recovery, your body is tapped and crying out for you to replace what you’ve just burned through, the sooner you can start refuelling, the sooner the recovery process can begin and the better you’ll feel in the coming days. The key nutrients to consider are:

  • Hydration/Electrolytes – aim to replace 150% of the fluid you’ve lost and 1-2 doses of electrolytes
  • Energy – you need to replenish glycogen levels, carbs are the best option and aim for 1g per kilo you weigh.
  • Protein – the building block of muscles and a recovery must-have, aim for at least 10g of protein
  • Inflammation-reducing foods such as blueberries, almonds and green leafy vegetables are definitely worth including

A healthy/fresh meal of protein and veggies washed down with an electrolyte-rich drink is a great way to kick off your recovery, but if you’re time poor Endura Optimizer ticks all the boxes for an easy and delicious recovery drink.

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SLEEP IS KEY TO RECOVERY: One of the most important recovery time is during sleep, as this is when the body does most of its rebuilding. A serve of Optimizer before bed will give your body everything it needs to fuel your overnight recovery.

Don’t wait till race day! Just like you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) trial a new set of shoes on race day, you shouldn’t wait till race day to find out how your body reacts to Gels or Electrolytes. The best bet is to trial your nutrition in training to:

  1. teach your body to digest it under the stress of running
  2. get you used to eating/drinking on the run (it can be harder than you think)
  3. know what, when and how much works for you

As such, we’d recommend starting to work Gels and Electrolytes into your longer runs (anything over a couple of hours) early in the piece, it’ll give you so much more confidence on race day.

RUNNING NUTRITION GUIDE

PRE HOUR ONE HOUR TWO HOUR 3+ POST

ENERGY

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30g CARBS
(1 ENERGY GEL)
60g – 90g CARBS
(1-2 ENERGY GELS)
60g – 90g CARBS
(1-2 ENERGY GELS)
60g – 90g CARBS PER HOUR
(1-2 ENERGY GELS)
 

ELECTROLYTES/ HYDRATION

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1 DOSE
within 30 minutes prior to start
60g – 90g CARBS
(1-2 ENERGY GELS PLUS 1 DOSE PERFORMANCE FUEL)
60g – 90g CARBS
(1-2 ENERGY GELS PLUS 1 DOSE PERFORMANCE FUEL)
60g – 90g CARBS
(1-2 ENERGY GELS PLUS 1 DOSE PERFORMANCE FUEL)
1-2 DOSES
within the first hour of finishing

PROTEIN/EXTRA NUTRIENTS

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½ SERVE OF OPTIMIZER PER HOUR
adds 5g of protein to help prevent muscle catabolism
1 SERVE OF OPTIMIZER
within 20 minutes of finishing

 

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Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, consult your health professional.