5 Common Nutrition Training Mistakes for Endurance Athletes

 5 Common Nutrition Training Mistakes for Endurance Athletes 


Alternative to commercial sports drinks and gels

What are the 5 common nutrition training mistakes endurance athletes? 

Surely you have heard of carbo-loading the night before the race. That is supposedly the best time to restock muscles glycogen. But is that true? Not really. Keep reading if you would like to learn about the most 5 common nutrition training mistakes endurance athletes make during their training. Proper nutrition and timing of your meals is imperative to maximize the benefits of overall training and performance. The quality, quantity, and timing of your foods, will affect your performance.

1.     Empty stomach workouts (long workouts vs. short workouts)

This is a mistake that I commonly see – long workouts on an empty stomach. Rolling out of bed and running may be okay on a 35 min tempo run, but on those long rides or runs you will need to wake up early to eat, just like event day. The reason you need to do this is that your body needs energy to perform.  You do not want to do long workouts on empty. The body will start conserving energy if it is trained to workout with no fuel.  It’s similar to starvation diets that ultimately drop your metabolic rate. Not a good idea!

If you are eating a solid meal before your long training session you may need to eat 3 hours before. If you are having a liquid meal then 2 hours will most likely work for you. Since we are all different the key is to find out what works for you.

Exercising on an empty stomach will work for a quick workout, or for losing weight during the off season. But while you are training make sure you eat before. And for the short early morning workouts – you may want to experiment with a small snack like 1-2 tablespoons of organic coconut butter before the workout.

2.     Not developing food routine (Elimination)

You must have seen lineups at the portable toilets during the races. Some people do not like discussing this “private” Issue but the reality is that mishaps can make or break the race.  Part of your training is to make sure you develop bathroom regularity.  For that you will need to wake up 2-3 hours before your long run, to make sure you have enough time to digest your food and take care of important business.  Missing valuable time or holding it for hours is not fun.

3.     Missing the window of opportunity

The biggest mistake I encounter with my clients is missing the window of opportunity to restock glycogen after a training session. The best time to restock your muscle glycogen is 15-30 minutes right after your training session during the weeks/months preceding the race. The pasta feed carbo-loading is not an efficient way to restock glycogen.

So many athletes experience a high after a hard workout, and are not interested in eating.  Plus some are promoting weight loss.  If your goals are to increase your glycogen stores, you must eat during the window of opportunity.  Regardless of where you are training, make sure you have food in your gym bag, car, or at home when you return.  It can be as simple as a banana and some almonds.  All you need is some good carbs and some protein, preferably in the ratio on 4:1. For every 4 grams of carbohydrate you should consume 1 gram of protein. The rate of glycogen restocking it 2-3 times higher immediately after the workout, and if you wait a couple of hours you miss that opportunity.

4.     Hydration issues

Make sure you drink before, during and after your long training sessions. You will need to carry your own fuel, and drink before you are thirsty, as dehydration greatly diminishes your performance. It becomes noticeable at 2% or greater dehydration (3 pounds for a 150 pound body). Long training workouts are the time to prefect your hydration, and figure out which brands works best for you.  My favorite brands are CarboPro Non GMO NSF certified which is practically flavorless plus Electrolyte Synergy or Ultima Replenisher for electrolytes and flavor. You also want to make sure you are not over hydrating – either hearing your stomach sloshing on the run, or having to frequently stop at the bathroom.

5.     Not listening to your body

Listen to your intuition! Your body will tell you a great deal about what is right or wrong for you.  If you consume foods, gels, sports drinks, bars that are upsetting your system, listen to your body and find something else.  The same principal can be applied to over training.  Your body will tell you if you are overdoing it.

If you would like to discuss your specific fueling needs, in order to improve your recovery as well as performance, contact me at Tri Holistic Nutrition.



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