Thoughts on Nutrition for Strength Competitions & Endurance Racing

Just wanted to slap together some thoughts on this, as I think I have worked it out for myself. I will post something a bit more detailed on my work blog, and might even type a bit more furiously to update my ebook at some point.

General Nutrition

  • Whole foods > Processed foods
  • Eating for performance > Eating for fat loss
  • Performance in this case does not just mean performance in the gym / on the field / in the race. It means mental performance, physical performance, emotional performance – you know, the performance of how your body as a whole works…. (stopping before this blabbers on into a blog for work purposes…)
  • Some supplements are helpful.

Nutrition for Endurance Races

Although I have not raced in a couple of years, this is something I have the most experience with.

  • 5km is different to 100km and in this case I will say pretty much the exact opposite of everyone else.
  • You probably don’t need as much food as you think you do.
  • Shorter races = more high GL sugar/carbs required.
  • Longer races = lower GL food, higher fat required. Carb intake depends on competitor’s nutrition under normal circumstances.
  • Lead up = 3 days to immediately before race.
  • Lead up = Cut any processed foods, easy to digest food only (often reducing fibre intake), increase vegetables, increase supplements. 24 hours before = prehydrate with salted water. Carb intake to tolerance. Immediately before = nothing or fats or high GI carbs depending on race & GI tolerance.
  • During – Under half marathon, just water or salted water. Marathon – Salted water, possibly added sugar or caffeine in last 10km. Ultra marathon – EITHER high fat, low GL with high GL options during lows and at night + caffeine at night OR high GL carb all the way, but only if you are accustomed to that in normal non-racing circumstances.
  • If you are expecting to finish on the podium then some rules get broken.
  • After ultra – Everything you can get your hands on. Eat the car on the way home if necessary.
  • After marathon or less – back to usual programming.
  • For the adventure athletes and triathletes, another way to look at this would be time-based. Up to 2 hours = up to half marathon. Up to 3.5 hours = marathon. 4-8 hours short ultra. 8-24+ hours = long ultra = blend between short ultra and multi day event for food. Multi day events = more real food of the anything and everything variety, processed too.
  • If you want detailed explanation of this, reply here and I’ll let you know when I post it on my real blog and/or when the ebook is updated.

Nutrition for Strength Sports

  • Whole foods > Processed foods
  • Lead up = 3 days to weigh in, and then from weigh in to immediately before comp
  • Lead up = Lots of water, low GL, normal carb to usual, easy to digest, often lower fibre. Supplements as usual. If cutting weight, follow cutting protocol, and stick to first point 😉
  • Before weigh in – Coffee if it is a diuretic for you. Not if it’s not.
  • After weigh in – Coffee, salted water, high GL sugar/carb.
  • During comp – Coffee (if no gastric issues), high GL sugar/carb, supplements as usual.
  • After comp – Nutrition as usual (I personally don’t do this, but I should)

During competition or races, obviously you are eating purely for your performance of that activity at that point in time. This is not the time to think Honey makes you fat so I’ll take the low carb option. It’s not the time to think Oops I ate a few too many handfuls of nuts and went over my calorie limit this week or I won’t sleep well tonight after all this coffee because none of that matters during the present time under this circumstance. 

Supplements that might be helpful

  • BCAAs
  • Protein shakes
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Creatine
  • Acytel L Carnitine
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • B Vitamin complex
  • Fish Oil
  • Don’t forget good ol’ water with sea salt. Hydration helps lots 🙂

Supplements do not replace good nutrition.

For the endurance athletes – Note my lack of gels
For the strength and endurance athletes – Note my lack of jelly beans
For the strength athletes – Note my lack of pies, macdonalds, kfc etc

My protocol for sports performance can be applied to vegans or omnivores, 6 small meal a day eaters or 1 massive meal a day eaters. Can be applied to people with food intolerances. Can not be applied to people who don’t want to eat real food.

That will do for now. I can see this turning into a whole other ebook as there is way too much to post here, let alone my work blog.

You can comment here or email me (contact details somewhere on your right) if you want more info. If you want specific detailed info on anything, if you are really canny you can e-stalk me to find out. 3 posts for me in 1 day. That shows what too much caffeine does for me. For now… I have people to smash, kids to whip, work to do 🙂


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Nutrition for Strength Competitions & Endurance Racing

  1. binrunning

    this is a good read. my nutrition is terrible, but i’ve only been running about a year. i’ll get to that part a good month or two before i attempt my first half marathon i think

    1. Anna Post author

      Good nutrition now will help your training as you build up your mileage. I found when I got over 50km/week I was constantly getting sick. So lots of nutrient rich food is needed before you get to that point 🙂


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