What you eat before, during, and after your training can have a big influence on your performance and recovery.
Carbohydrates, an Athlete’s Fuel
An endurance athlete’s preferred fuel during exercise is muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Endurance or intensity sessions deplete muscles of glycogen, so it’s important to consume carbohydrates to replenish these stores. The more active you are, the more carbohydrate you need: some high performance athletes may need twice as much carbohydrate as the recreational athletes. Studies have shown that athletes who don’t eat enough carbohydrates to match their training volume don’t perform as well.
Train Your Gut!
Just as you train your body for race day, you can train your gut to optimally absorb and deliver the fuel you need to perform. It is very important to practice fueling strategies during training (i.e, don’t regularly complete 2+ hour workouts with only water). Research shows that you can train your gut to tolerate and increase its ability to absorb carbohydrates . . . waiting until race day to try your carbohydrate fueling strategy means your gut won’t have the capacity to absorb all the carbs, and you’ll risk gastrointestinal problems.