Nutrition Tips for Runners- Eat Your Way to the Podium

Whitney Dagg is not only one of New Zealand’s top trail runners, she also knows how to eat. With a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sport and Exercise Nutrition and a Diploma in Human Nutrition, and a string of wins and course records to her name, she is the perfect person to give some nutritional advice for your next backcountry running adventure or race!

“Eat Your Way to the Podium” is the second in a 3 part piece on nutrition (“Fuel Your Tank” HERE)If you want more advice on your nutrition need you can contact Whitney , is part of the Exponential Performance Coaching team, directly- details below.

Whitney winning the 2012 Routeburn Classic in record time

Whitney winning the 2012 Routeburn Classic in record time

Eat Your Way to the Podium

We all know how important nutrition becomes during a long race. Having a plan in place that you know works for you enables you to race to your full potential, and may even give you an advantage over your competition.

Food is not only fuel for your working muscles, but it also fuels your mind, and in the latter stages of the race, those technical trails can seem to use more of your brain than you thought possible. Food should become the highlight of your day, and an incentive to get to the next aid station, not a chore that you dread as you force your dry muesli bar down with a gulp of sports drink. You need to be prepared to accept changes in likes and dislikes as your race unfolds. It is common for your favourite foods to become suddenly undesirable, and that’s when having a variety of options becomes extremely important. For longer races, make sure you have pre-educated your support crew on your nutrition plan. Make sure they know what foods to have available if your preferences change.

How much to eat

A general guideline is to aim for 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour. If you are a smaller, lighter runner, you will require 60-70g/hour, and if you are taller or larger you will require 80-90g/hour. The amount of carbohydrate that you can tolerate is very individual, and some smaller athletes can tolerate larger amounts. You need to decide on regular intervals that you will eat. It’s better to eat smaller amounts often; therefore it is a good idea to eat every 30-45mins rather than every hour.

Race Food Criteria

- High in carbohydrate

- Have a high glycaemic index

- Low in fat

- Easily digested

- Practical

We all know about carbohydrate gels, but here are some tasty runner friendly options to add variety to your race nutrition…

Carbohydrate snacks and grams of available carbohydrate

  • 1 large banana = 30g
  • 15 dried apricot halves = 25g
  • 1 jam sandwich with white bread (1 tbsp of berry jam)  = 38g
  • 1 honey sandwich with white bread (1/2 tbsp honey) = 35g
  • 1 crumpet with ½ tbsp of honey = 22.6g (1 tbsp of honey = 16.7g of carbohydrate)
  • 1 slice of banana loaf (low fat recipe) = (1 slice (9.5 x 6.5 x 2.5cm) = 40g
  • 150g low fat creamed rice = 25g
  • 1 baked potato (90g) = 17.5g
  • 3 fruit filled biscuits = 30g – read food label and try to find one that is low in fat.
  • Apricot fruit leather (40g) = 23g
  • Crystallised ginger chunks (28g) = 26g
  • Low fat soft cereal bar (40g) = 28g
  • Rice bubble bar (LCM) (22g) = 17g

Don’t forget that if you are using a sports drink that contains carbohydrate, it will contribute to your total carbohydrate intake per hour. Always have at least 150-200ml of fluid eat time you eat to aid absorption of carbohydrate into your bloodstream.

Remember never try anything new on race day. Make sure that you have experimented with foods during training.

Whitney DaggExponential-Performance-Coaching-nz

Sports Nutrition Consultant
Exponential Performance Coaching

About BCR

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