Advanced Nutrition Guides
Sports Nutrition for Runners
Sports Nutrition is all about maintaining energy levels and minimizing fatigue. Below we’ve summarised our top tips to fuelling and hydrating your training sessions.
Why We Need Carbohydrate
Carbohydrate is the essential fuel your body needs during exercise, but your store is relatively small. Depleting your store of carbohydrate, known as glycogen depletion, can happen after one long session or several days of more moderate distance running. Glycogen depletion makes you feel like you have no energy and your legs are like lead. It also makes you prone to overtraining, which can lead to poor recovery, coughs, colds, loss of muscle strength to protect joints, failure to improve your performance despite training hard, disrupted sleep, poor concentration and negative moods.
Electrolytes & Fluids
Keeping hydrated is an absolute must if you want to optimize your training benefits and recover properly. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium, are lost through sweat and need to be replaced.
Fitting in training with work and family commitments is difficult. Running after a meal is not possible for many people, but EnergyBars and gels are a good way to take on some extra fuel just before your run, without causing bloating or a stomach upset. Note: they are not a substitute for a proper balanced diet.
If it’s warm and you want to hydrate, a sports drink like EnergySource will provide carbohydrate and electrolytes before training. If it’s been a hard day at work or home, caffeine gives you the extra boost needed to get out running when you don’t feel like it.
Running up to 90 minutes
Carbohydrate is the fuel that lets you run strong and makes your run enjoyable. Although your body has a limited store of carbohydrate, it’s normally sufficient for running up to 90 minutes.
For shorter runs, you only need to take on fluids with electrolytes (ZERO) to remain HYDRATED. The exception is when running at high intensity or running for 90 minutes or more day-after-day. You should then switch to sports drinks and gels which also provide carbohydrate.
If weight management is your goal, consuming a calorie-free electrolyte drink (ZERO) instead of an energy drink reduces your calorie intake and will mean that you burn a higher proportion of fat during exercise. If you are exercising over 60 minutes on consecutive days, consume Protein Recovery immediately after exercise. The whey protein (isolate) used in Protein Recovery is a very high quality source of protein. Protein contributes to muscle growth and maintenance. After exercise, your muscles are often low in carbohydrate (glycogen). Protein Recovery also contains carbohydrate.
Hard Run Sessions
Longer runs or short high intensity sessions, especially on consecutive days, can deplete your body’s carbohydrate reserves and as a result your energy levels will drop. You will feel fatigued in the latter stages of your training session, feel tired for the remainder of the day and perhaps not feel ready for your training the following day.
Your body is telling you that it needs more carbohydrate. For more demanding training you must focus on remaining HYDRATED and ensuring that you have an adequate ENERGY intake. If you deplete your body’s carbohydrate reserves then your body’s energy levels will drop.
Our most advanced drink
4:1 EnergySource is a new generation of sports drink. It contains electrolytes, carbohydrate and 20% whey protein isolate. Whey Isolate is a very high quality source of protein. Protein contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass, which can result in stronger and more resilient muscle. For long runs over 1.5 hours, and/or high intensity sprint reps we recommend using 4:1 EnergySource.
Try in training before your event
Using gels during hard sessions lets you get used to using them before race day. This is important, as they should be a crucial part of your race day strategy. Check out our Marathon Race Guide on how to fuel your next marathon.
After your run
The body recovers at the greatest rate during the two-hour window immediately after exercise – but only if you provide it with the vital high quality nutrients it needs. Aim to have a Protein Recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing.