Nutrition Advice for Endurance Events

From working as a sports nutritionist for the past 7 years, working with marathon runners and triathletes here are my general nutrition guidelines for athletes and aspiring athletes.  Get these few basic tips right and you can take your performance to a new level.

 Always eat breakfast. I’m always amazed by how many athletes either skip this meal or just eat junk food (cereals loaded with sugar and salt, white bread and jam). Try to eat foods such as porridge, muesli (not coco pops), eggs or nut butter on toast or kippers.

Carbohydrate loading is not necessary for events under 90-100 minutes, however it is advised for events longer than this. So what does that mean? Any team sport, jog in the park or power sport such as martial arts, judo or javelin does not require eating lots of carbs for energy. But triathlons, marathons and half marathons do require carbs for energy. Based on this rule carbohydrate intake can be between 7-8g and 10-12g of CHO per kilo of body weight per day depending on the length of your sporting event.

You must also consume between 1-2g of healthy lean protein per kilo of body weight per day. Protein is not bad for you bones or your kidneys, it doesn’t take a week to digest (yes I have been questioned on this by confused athletes) and it will actually aid your performance and recovery.

Fat is not bad for you, it does not make you fat (unless you eat lots of processed junk food fats such as doughnuts, fish and chips and other deep fried foods) and some fats are essential – you have to eat them. Fats like fish, oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, butter and eggs are healthy.

A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is essential. For optimal healthy and recovery. This means eating lots of VEGETABLES. No one eats enough vegetables – that’s a fact! Aim to at a variety of colours – reds, greens, yellows, brown, white / tans and purple / blues. – all containing a host of different nutrients.

 Aim to drink more water then sports drinks. Replace water and electrolytes (1.5L per kg of BW lost) on a daily basis and after training and sports. You only really needs sports drink during a sporting event to top up your blood glucose levels.

This article was a guest post by Steve Hines who is a nutritionist in Wandsworth UK.

The Benefits of Bare Foot Running

Many wonder why it would ever be beneficial to run bare foot? They’re worried about their feet going unprotected. The truth is, when you run in the right environment, there is no risk at all. Of course, it is always wise to be careful. Look where you are going, and where you are stepping.

It’s Natural Running

When the human foot was developed, there was no such thing as shoes. Everyone walked, and ran bare foot. That’s why we are equipped with thick calluses at the bottom of our feet. These can help protect breakage when we are unfortunate enough to come across something sharp. However, if you’re not used to running bare foot, the calluses on your foot may not be fully developed. It’s best to start things out slow and just walk.

Your Feet Will Not Over Heat

Many quite exercising a lot earlier then they have to because they’re beginning to sweat and feel hot. This can diminish the quality of a workout. A great way to prevent this is by choosing a natural run. If your feet are able to breath, the rest of your body will maintain a cooler temperature as well.



No More Twisted Ankles

Tennis shoes are easy to put on improperly. Even when put on in the right way, they do increase our chance for twisting, and breaking, our ankles while running. Your ankle bone will not have to twist over the rim of your tennis shoe if you’re not wearing a pair. This is not to say that you won’t suffer from some injury, but it will be less extensive.

Less Pressure On Your Knee

Runner’s knee is a very common problem among those who job, or run persistently. The shoe that you’re wearing helps put pressure on this joint when it makes contact with the ground. This can cause a problem so severe that you’ll need orthopedic surgery. You can reduce the pressure on your knee to the minimal amount if you choose to run bare foot.

It’s Worth A Try

You might find that running bare foot is a great way to increase your endurance. You may also notice a decrease in injury when choosing this method of exercising. If you’re unsure about running barefoot, wear slim shoes, or socks. In many nations, running bare foot is the norm. It’s time for you to catch on.

Do You Want to Run a Marathon?

A group of runners in a cross country race.The London marathon is fast approaching again and many of you will be ramping up the miles over the next few weeks. It’s this time of year that I start to see many people with running injuries. The main reason that I see people with running injuries is due to 1 of 2 antecedents.


Poor biomechanics

Let’s briefly take a look at what I mean.

Biomechanics means life movement. It’s a term used to describe the shape and position of your body and how you move. The main biomechanical faults I see is foot position and pelvic position.

If you have a flat or over pronated foot this causes problems all the way up the leg. The solution is to get some custom made insoles that you can put in your running shoes. This resolves most problems with the foot. A capable Reading physiotherapist or a podiatrist can help with this.

Pelvic biomechanics can also impact your running health. There is a large amount of muscle that comes off the pelvis and any fault in the pelvic position or movement can alter muscle function and cause all sorts of problems such as ITB syndrome, patella-femoral joint irritation, shin splints etc… It can also create leg length discrepancies, which can compound any running injury.

The next antecedent is over load. This can happen in 1 of 2 ways: A sedentary person who suddenly decides to run a marathon and starts the training. They have essentially gone from doing nothing to running 20-30 miles a week. Their body is simply not conditioned to deal with this and it breaks down. Or, they have run a marathon and two half marathons already in a year and their body simply has not had time to recover and rebuild from all this activity.

Each needs a slightly different management strategy but essentially seeing a physio to put a plan together for you would be a great idea.

Is Bare Foot Running New?

Bare footBare foot running is all the rage at the moment with several famous athletes competing at the top level using this technique. Also much research and study is being done on the biomechanics behind bare foot running. Clealy bare foot running is not new, in fact it’s about as old as anything can get – since the dawn of time!

Many ancient societies including the ancient Greeks and the modern day Tarahumara of Mexico practice the art of running in bare feet. In fact it is rumored that the first marathon runner, Pheidippidies of Greece, ran the course from Athens to Sparta with no footwear.

Since running became really popular among fitness enthusiasts a whole market of running shoes has been developed to serve this audience. However, it is claimed, that the huge rise in repetitive strain and over use injuries seen in recreational runners over the last 20 years is caused by the heavily supported modern day running shoe.

Common running injuries include ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, achilles tendon injuries and stress fractures and proponents of bare foot running attribute this to the modern day running shoe. While there is no conclusive evidence yet to support this there is some evidence to suggest that evolution has designed the perfect instrument for shock absorption and force transfer in the human foot.

The problem lies in the fact that many people don’t have optimal foot biomechanics to start with and therefore can’t shock absorb very well and could be in danger of exacerbating any problems with bare foot running. In the meantime, scientists and marketers have come up with barely there running shoes including the Five Fingers system which offers some covering and protection to the foot but feels very much like bar foot running.

Time will tell as to the veracity of the claims of the fans of bare foot running but I don’t see them changing from their opinion any time soon.