Race-day sugar rules

If you skip sugar in longer events you won’t per­form at your best. To max­imise sugar’s per­for­mance ben­e­fits, fol­low these race-day rules

Runner's World (UK) - - Sugar -

Con­sume sugar in races last­ing longer than one hour

Stud­ies show that sugar boosts per­for­mance in events last­ing as lit­tle as 60 mins, even though

such events aren’t long enough to de­plete your carb stores. It ap­pears that sugar does this by sim­u­lat­ing the ner­vous sys­tem.

Take in even more in longer races

In very long events, your per­for­mance is limited by the de­ple­tion of carbs in the liver and mus­cles. While 30-60g of sugar or other fast-act­ing carbs will max­imise per­for­mance in shorter races, run­ners can gain fur­ther per­for­mance ben­e­fits from tak­ing in as much as 90g per hour in longer races.

Con­sume mul­ti­ple types of sugar

It’s im­pos­si­ble to get 90g of carbs per hour from a sports drink. It’s too much fluid. So in longer events, com­bine sports drinks and a more con­cen­trated source, such as en­ergy gels. It’s also hard for the body to ab­sorb 90g of a sin­gle type of carb in one hour. You need to con­sume a sugar such as glu­cose or fast-act­ing carb such as mal­todex­trin in com­bi­na­tion with fruc­tose in ap­prox­i­mately a 2:1 ra­tio. The body pro­cesses fruc­tose through a dif­fer­ent meta­bolic chan­nel to other sug­ars, so by com­bin­ing mul­ti­ple sug­ars you ab­sorb sugar through two chan­nels si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

Train your nu­tri­tion

Ac­cord­ing to Jeuk­endrup, one of the rea­sons GI prob­lems are com­mon in races is that run­ners try to take in a lot more fluid and carbs dur­ing events than they do in train­ing. ‘The gut is adapt­able,’ he says. Get it used to tak­ing in nu­tri­tion in long work­outs and you’ll have a much lower risk of run­ning into trou­ble on race day.

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