Monday, May 2, 2011

Mid Run FUEL

            Mid Run FUEL is defined as the energy consumed after an endurance event has started to enhance or optimize performance. It can be liquid, gel, solid, or a combination of all three.  The main purposes are to keep an athlete hydrated, nourished, and add pep to their step.  Fueling during a long training session or event is a learned skill that requires time and planning.  An athlete has to allow time to discover which products, timing and amounts work best for them. Unfortunately, this is best learned through trial and error and attention to the individual body. Never assume that just because certain sources work well for someone else, it will also work well for you. Tolerance for fuel during exercise is an individual matter. 
Trial and error should take place during training sessions that most closely simulate the event you are training for (i.e. long runs). The body’s tolerance for mid run fuel and fluid will change significantly depending on the weather, distance, and terrain. 
 A common phenomenon many athletes experience during long events is “runner’s nausea”.  There are many possible explanations behind “runner’s nausea” or queasiness.
1.  The intensity of exercise has a great deal to do with how well the stomach tolerates fuel. If you race at a much higher intensity than you trained for you can experience some unusual, unforeseen nausea on race day. Due to the high intensity, the gut does not process what is taken.
FUEL Tip: Have a few workouts at race day pace and have a pacing strategy for the main event.
2. Excessive fluids or overdrinking can also cause nausea. The stomach only holds about 32 ounces of fluid at any given time and empties at a rate of about 30-42 ounces per hour.  If the stomach is at capacity and then exceeded, it has no choice but to remove the excess by vomiting.
3.  Nonetheless, dehydration or under hydration in the heat may also contribute to nausea. If fluid intake is below an athlete’s sweat rate for a long enough body fluids are directed away from the digestive tract to the skin for cooling and muscles for work. The process of redistributing vital water to outer extremities leaves nothing to process the fuel taken in and triggers nausea.
FUEL Tip: Have a pre-determined hydration strategy for race.
4. None of the above may be an explanation. Gastrointestinal distress during a given event could be due to a multitude of different reasons. Other causes are nervous excitement, food poisoning, exhaustions, or extreme heat.  Or competing in an event that one is just not properly trained for can lead to a variety of mid race complications.
FUEL Tip: Never eat anything hazardous (i.e. raw fish, rare meat, raw eggs etc.) or new foods days leading up to the race. Some food poisoning can take up to 72 hours before kicking in. Get plenty of rest the week before an event and always be well trained and conditioned for the upcoming distance.
Although mid run fueling is as individualized as the shoes on your feet there are some sound guidelines to follow. Mid run fuel requirements also change with the distance or time spent exercising.
Exercise lasting 30 minutes to 90 minutes.
Assuming proper nutrition is consumed days and hours before the body is well prepared with glycogen stores (fuel). 
Before: 16-24 oz. water+ ENDUROLYTES or NUUN 30-60 min prior to exercise
During: May not be necessary.  However, 5-10 oz. every 20-30 min if needed.
After:   A solid recommendation of about 4 oz. per 10 minutes of exercise. Example: ran 30 minutes = 12 oz. of fluid to rehydrate; 90 min = 36 oz.
Glycogen storage are not fully depleted, no reason to consume sports or high sugary recovery drinks.
Exercise lasting 90 minutes to 4 hours.
There is a greater risk for depleted muscle glycogen, dehydration and/or hyponatremia.  Nutritional goals must begin early in the event and promote adequate fluids and carbohydrates.
Before: 16-24 oz. water+ ENDUROLYTES or NUUN 30-60 min prior to exercise
During:  5-10 oz. every 20-30 min. Take in energy in the form of gels/gue, liquid or solid food 45 minutes after exercise was started and every 45 minutes thereafter.
Ex: 45 minutes after exercise started consume a gue with 6-8oz of water
       After 45 minutes has passed consume another gue with 6-8oz of water
       Continue this cycle of 1:45 minutes until finished.
FUEL Tip: Never consume gue with sports drinks.
After:  A solid recommendation of about 4 oz. per 10 minutes of exercise.
Post Run FUEL- Consume a 4:1 ration of carbohydrates and protein   within 30 minutes of exercise to begin to replenish glycogen (fuel) stores and repair damaged muscle. (i.e. chocolate milk, protein shake, some commercial recovery drinks etc.)
Exercise lasting longer than 4 hours.
The same basic recommendations as 90 minutes to 4 hours however, at this duration nutrition is critical in ways other than performance! Exercising longer than 4 hours can be hazardous to the athlete’s health if not properly fueling along the way. It is nearly impossible to “catch up” on glycogen replacement if mid run fueling is delayed.
Do NOT delay carbohydrate intake – start at 45 minutes
Do NOT fall behind on hydration- 5-10 oz. every 20-30 minutes.  
Do NOT fail to recovery properly.

Improper mid run fueling strategies can lead to bonking, hitting the wall, DNF (did not finish), or health damage. 
FUEL Tip: Start developing a mid-run FUEL strategy as early in training as possible. The better prepared on race day the more optimal your performance and overall experience!

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