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How to prevent a lack of energy during a race?

Endurance athletes spend months of training preparing for their race with a performance goal in mind. Often nutrition is excluded from the preparation plan when it should be a fundamental tool for all athletes. During the training season, and especially this special season, athletes should test and refine their nutritional plan to feel fully confident on race day.

An endurance athlete is defined as someone who also trains and competes for 90 minutes or more. A nutritional plan is especially important for these endurance athletes because they absolutely must avoid push-ups to ensure their performance. 

The body of an endurance athlete is like a racing car with two gas tanks. The duration and intensity of the activity determine which tank will be the main source of fuel.

Tank A is the body's fat store, which contains about 70 calories of fat that is available during low-intensity aerobic exercise. Reservoir B is the body's carbohydrate store, which is the glycogen stored in muscle and liver.

The body can only store about 2 calories of glycogen at a time, which powers both the working muscles and the brain. When our glycogen stores are too low, the brain and muscles send signals of fatigue.

When we exercise for less than 90 minutes, tank B has enough stores for us to hold during the activity. However, when we exercise for more than 90 minutes, we need to plan a nutritional plan to prevent the lack of fuel.

There are four key moments on which to avoid having a lack of fuel: Before exercise, during exercise, after exercise but also generally on a daily basis.


Food before exercise

A race car never starts without a fuel tank, so an endurance athlete should not start a workout without fueling. Eating before a workout ensures that the body starts with a full tank of glycogen.
If you have three or four hours to spare, eat 300 to 600 calories, mostly carbohydrates (2-3 g / kg bodyweight), moderate in protein and low in fat. Minimize the amount of fiber in this meal to avoid stomach problems during exercise. Even if you are not hungry, you should have something to eat before a long workout and optimal performance.

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Food during exercise

The timing of the refueling should be well planned. The fuel should be simple, easily digestible carbohydrates. This will facilitate the maintenance of energy and prevent fatigue.
Consume every 45-60 minutes when it is a long workout. ACSM guidelines recommend 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates (120 to 240 calories) per hour. Remember that for optimal performance, we must also provide the body with fluids and electrolytes. If the workout is less than 90 minutes but high intensity, perhaps drink an energy drink instead of water or take an energy gel with you.

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Eat after exercise

The goal of refueling after the workout is recovery. This supply will help you replenish the glycogen stores used during training, optimize protein synthesis to repair damaged muscle tissue, stimulate the development of new tissue, and replace fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat.

Within 30 minutes of exercise, an endurance athlete should have a 300-400 calorie snack containing carbohydrates (75-100 grams) and protein (15/20 grams).

After exercise, drink for every pound of body weight lost.

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Daily food

The fourth way to prevent your energy loss is to eat a balanced diet.

Simple rules exist, a good balance at the level of macro-nutrients: proteins (vegetable or animal), lipids (fats) and carbohydrates (sugars) is to be found.

For endurance athletes, this balance is around 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, 20% fat.

We must also be vigilant about the daily / weekly calorie intake, taking into account the workouts during which we consume (sometimes a lot) of calories.

In summary:

 Click on the image to enlarge can help you build your "Training Packt"personalized containing all the sports nutrition products useful for the optimization of the three phases of the nutritional strategy in Marathon (Before, During, After).

We will compose a pack with you to provide you with energy inputs, maintain a optimal hydration and finally heal your recovery.

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