Posted in Nutrition

Whether you are looking to run a new PB or complete your first 10K, getting your nutrition right around training and racing could be the key to success. Science in Sport has put together this practical guide to fuel you through to the finish line. 

Training 

The duration, intensity and goals of each training run will impact daily and session nutrition requirements. Carbohydrate can often change day-to-day, depending on the workload of that day, whereas daily protein intake should never be compromised. 
 
This periodised approach to carbohydrate intake would see high carbohydrate availability for key sessions, where the quality of work completed and overall performance are priorities. While easy miles can be considered train-low sessions, with low carbohydrate availability, to promote endurance type adaptations in the muscle. 
 
Caution should be taken when training with restricted carbohydrate availability, as this can impair immune function, have negative effects on athlete health and ultimately be detrimental to performance. Therefore, this low-carb approach should only be programmed around 1-2 sessions per week.

Easy Run

The duration and intensity of this run lends itself to a train-low approach, deliberately restricting carbohydrate feeding either before the session or in the recovery period following the session. This can be achieved by running first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast. 
 
Pre: GO Caffeine Shot, GO Hydro Tablets

During: n/a  

Post: Breakfast as usual

Pick-Up, Threshold or Interval Run 

These key sessions in the training week are designed to be tough, requiring increased levels of effort and quality running. As a result, high-carbohydrate availability around the session is key, providing the fuel to perform. 
 
Pre: GO Caffeine Shot, GO Hydro Tablets

During: n/a 

Post: REGO Rapid Recovery

Long Run

It is important to have a nutrition plan going into your chosen event and testing this out on a long-run day is essential. This allows the body to adapt to the challenges of carbohydrate loading and taking on carbohydrate while running, training the gut to tolerate this. How this comes together into a race-day plan is in the following section and this plan should be mirrored for each long run in training.  
 
Pre: carbohydrate-based breakfast, plus fluids

During: One or two GO Isotonic Gels, depending on run time/distance. 

Post: REGO Rapid Recovery

Event Day 

24 hours Before Race Day

The day before the race is a good opportunity to loading glycogen into the muscle to use as energy during running. Unlike traditional carbohydrate loading for longer endurance events, carb-loading in preparation for a 10k race can be achieved through an increase in intake the day before. Aim to include a carbohydrate source with all main meals, carbohydrate snacks between meals and use carbohydrate-based drinks during the day. Fat, fibre and protein intake should be minimised for this day, so to prevent excess bloating and promote a light feeling in the stomach.  
 
Race-Day Breakfast

Your breakfast acts as a key meal on race day, to top up energy stores and ensure you are fully fuelled for the start line. High glycaemic index carbohydrate choices would be superior to promote glycogen storage and subsequent utilisation during running performance, aiming for 1-3g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Your breakfast should reflect this and include normal breakfast foods: cereals, toast, bagels, jams, fruit juice. Breakfast should be 2-3 hours before the start of the race to allow for full digestion and prevent any chances of gastrointestinal distress while running. 
 ​
Hydration

Pre-race hydration is key, aim for 5-10ml of fluid per kilo of body weight in the 1-3 hours before the start. This can be split between breakfast and the build-up to the race. Fluids should include key electrolytes to aid fluid retention, GO Electrolyte can be used to meet both hydration and energy demands.  
 

Pre-Race

Caffeine is one of the most widely researched ergogenic aids in sports nutrition and could be used effectively before a 10k race. Caffeine acts centrally on the brain, lowering your perception of effort and reducing the feelings of fatigue – keeping you pushing harder for longer. A GO Energy + Caffeine Gel can be used 15-30 minutes before the start to deliver both energy and caffeine.    
 
During

For those targeting a time under 60 minutes, your body will have enough energy to perform during the race if you have sufficiently fuelled the day before and the morning of the race. If your target time is over 60 minutes fuelling during performance could be the difference between hitting your target and not. GO Isotonic Gels can be used during the 10k to deliver 22 grams of carbohydrate without the need for liquids. GO Hydro Tablets should be used to hydrate as required, with the goal of preventing greater than 3% body mass loss through fluid losses.  
 
Recovery

Hard racing depletes muscle glycogen stores and causes muscle damage, your recovery nutrition should, therefore, focus on both carbohydrates and protein. REGO Rapid Recovery can be used within 30 minutes of finishing a race to provide carbohydrates and protein to kick-start the recovery process.  

About the author

NChamanian's picture
Nassrin Chamanian
Published on: 29 Jan 2019

Pretty OK at bikes. Enthusiasm outstrips ability.