Editors Note: We have partnered with the Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club to hold a series of articles highlighted by their staff. Below is a nutrition-based article for endurance athletes by W.R.A.C. Dietician, Trainer and Instructor Tammi.
By Tammi Flynn, MS, RD, CSCS
Endurance events include and are not limited to a broad range of activities that may last between 1-4 hours. These events such as marathons, triathlons, cycling and various other popular adventure races require careful planning of nutrition and hydration which will aide in the ability to complete the event. Lack of proper nutrition is one of the main reasons for an athlete to not finish an event.
Most of these events take months to prepare for which includes periodization of training as well as nutrition. Breaking down the plan to smaller increments for training and nutrition will aide in the success of completion. The macronutrient and fluid needs will range throughout the phases of training from preparation cycle, pre-race cycle, race day and recovery period. It will also range on the level of fitness and gender of the athlete.
Macronutrient and fluid needs will range depending on the intensity and duration in the following cycles based on kilogram body weights (1 Kg = 2.2 lbs):
Preparation: Carbohydrate may range 5-12 grams/kg, Protein 1.2-1.7 g/kg, Fat 0.g-1.0 g/kg, hydration should be adequate so that urine color is pale yellow.
Prerace: Carbohydrates 7-13 g/kg, Protein 1.4-2.0 g/kg, Fat 0.8-1.0 g/kg, adequate fluid as preparation cycle
Race: Carbohydrates 7-19 g/kg, Protein 1.2-2.0 g/kg, Fat 0.8-2.0 g/kg, fluid increased slightly to match loses
Recovery: Carbohydrates 5-6 g/kg,, Protein 1.2-1.4 g/kg, Fat 0.8-1.0 g/kg, fluid adequate as previously suggested
Timing for consumption is important with each of these phases. Fluid intake should be monitored closely to prevent over consumption which can lead to hyponatremia and under consumption can lead to dehydration.
Include 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily along with high fiber, complex carbohydrates. Try a variety of foods and experiment with nutritional supplements and energy bars during the preparation cycle. Consider environmental conditions and adjust fluid intake accordingly. Make a plan to ensure your success in your event.
TAMMI FLYNN, Trainer/ Dietitian/ Instructor, has a Masters Degree in Nutrition Science, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and group exercise instructor. She’s been in the fitness industry since the 80’s with various certifications including Balanced Habits Food Coach and Level 1 Nutrition Coach in Precision Nutrition.
Her current interests are working with young athletes on programming and diet to maximize their performance. She has worked with local soccer, lacrosse, track, cross country skiing, wrestling and hockey teams, and has even written a Fitness and Nutrition book, The “3 Apple-a-Day” Plan: Your Foundation for Permanent Fat Loss.
Article reference used-Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. American Dietetic Association