‘Most endurance sessions are at a moderate intensity (around 65-75% of your maximum oxygen uptake), so your sports nutrition goals will be to ‘avoid fatigue by “training” your system to be as fuelefficient as possible,’ explains Dr Susan Kleiner, co-founder of International Society of Sports Nutrition (drskleiner.com) and author of Power Eating (Human Kinetics, £14.99). ‘During the first 20 minutes of your run, your primary fuel source will be carbohydrate, but after that time, it will be evenly split between carbohydrate and fat.’
After an hour or more of training, it will be essential to replenish your carbohydrate levels as they will have been exhausted. ‘Since your body can store far more fat than carbohydrate, you need to adjust your fuel to meet your pacing demands, so you’ll need more carbs, says Kleiner. ‘As an overall diet, I like a 40:30:30 carb, protein, fat dietary composition in food for endurance, and then add in sports supplements for athletes' training sessions,’ she adds. ‘But I must emphasise that everyone is different. Elite athletes need more carbohydrates in their diet and during their training; others can do quite well at 40 per cent or less on low-to-moderate intensity days.
FUEL UP FOR ENDURANCE
PRE-WORKOUT: ‘For training at a moderate intensity at any time other than very early, as long you’ve been eating balanced meals (as above), and your last meal/snack has been within two-and-a-half hours of a two-hour training session, nothing really special has to happen pre-workout,’ says Kleiner. If you need a snack, say because your last meal was more than three hours previously, protein and a small amount of fat works well if you’ve been following a high-fat diet, says Kleiner. ‘A lot of my clients like Greek yoghurt and peanut butter. If you’re still eating at least 40 per cent carbohydrates, then choose protein and carbohydrate – 20g protein and 0.5 to 1g carbs per kg bodyweight she advises, such as Greek yoghurt with fruit or honey.’ You could also consider a liquid sports nutrition product.
‘My favorite brand is USANA Health Sciences (usana.com), which offers whey- and plant-based options. Or you can create your own recipe with protein powder and fruit. Just make sure you’ve got enough digestion time pre-workout.’
POST-WORKOUT: Usually a moderate workout is followed by high-intensity training, so Kleiner recommends a protein-carb meal with 20-30g of protein and 0.5 to 1g of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight, depending on the intensity and duration of your training session.
DO I NEED A SUPPLEMENT? ‘I always advise taking a daily vitamin-mineral supplement, fish oil, vitamin D (based on blood test results), plus iron and calcium for many women,’ says Kleiner. ‘I usually recommend a protein and a carb supplement, too, according to need.’
'YOU NEED TO ADJUST YOUR FUEL TO YOUR PACING'