Sugar is a critical addition to your race day routine and running diet if you want to see excellent results. It might have a bad reputation in general dieting circles, however, you can be very strategic about how you add it to your diet when running. Try these tips to see instant results.
Train with sugar – We all know what it’s like to suffer stomach problems during a run. It’s uncomfortable and it can be really awkward. It’s thought that one contributor to race day stomach conditions could be the sudden increase in fluids and carbs (sugars) in your running diet. If you flood your body with unexpected amounts you may suffer unwanted effects. Your stomach can be trained to accept extra nutrition. Use your running training in the lead up to a race to adapt your body to using more sugar and you’ll feel much better on the day.
Add sugar to races that are at least an hour in duration – Even shorter course runners can benefit from deliberately taking sugar during a race. It’s thought that runners can see a boost to performance because the sugar stimulates the nervous system. You could experiment with doses between 30g and 60g to see where your optimal intake is for shorter races. We’ll start talking about replacing glycogen stores in the next point.
Add plenty of sugar to support you through longer races – Carbs convert to glycogen in the liver and muscles. Your body draws on these stores to give you quick energy through a race. During longer races, you can increase your sugar intake to around 90g per hour. This can be difficult to achieve through sports drinks alone, so be sure to incorporate the more concentrated gels throughout the race.
Diversify types of sugar for more impact – As we mentioned above, it can be a challenge to onboard up to 90g of sugar at a time in your running diet . Help your body make the most of it by splitting the dose over different types of sugar. Each type is used slightly differently by the body, so you won’t overload one system of uptake and miss out on the benefits. Try taking a mixture of glucose with maltodextrin or fructose. The fructose in particular is used differently by the body.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site