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Endurance Nutrition


By Rob - Posted on 05 March 2007

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Just following up from here...

My profile for last year's Dirtworks is here:

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/730947

The HR graph tells the story... during the first few hours was able to keep the HR up and was doing OK-ish. Towards the end (the last 40%?) though, it dips quiet a lot. Notice I had a sprint finish, oh, the legs loved that Eye-wink

Anyhow - I was eating from the off. Powerbars (think I had 3 or 4), peanut butter & honey sangers (2 rounds) & Gu. Think I only had a 2 or 3 Gu.

Given a Powerbar is 236cal, Gu less than half of that, that's only 1416cal plus the sangers at best estimate (plus whatever energy was in 3-4 scoops of Enduro - 90cal each). Clearly this was woefully inadequate.

According to the Edge (which isn't renowned for it's energy measurement) I burn at least 500cal/hour on even pathetically flat trails like Terrey Hills. Was on the gym bike tonight - it said I was burning just over 600cal/hour on the setting I was on - which felt a little more strenuous than the average TH ride. They seem to concur, but then again, could both be miles off.

Given this, and an incredibly optimistic aim of 7 hours for the DW (I'd be more than happy with 7:30-8), this means I have to take in at least 3,500cal over the event - almost 15 power bars worth! Yerch!

Clearly on the hunt for food like everyone else. I'm lucky enough to be able to scoff down chocolate, etc without feeling ill. Snickers bars could go in the mix, but early in the day - don't want to drink them. Might also bin the sangers in favour of Enduro or other bars.

Anyhow - them's the thoughts right now, hope this helps someone, or enables someone to help me! Eye-wink

Having read the other article, I was surprised that people were eating sandwiches with white bread. IIRC white bread has a high Glyceamic Index (GI), as opposed to specific Low GI breads.

Does the GI figure into what foods you do or don't take?

When I plan on a ride I try to eat carbs the night before, protein and carbs in the am if possible, and then I eat plain old fruit and nut bars during the ride. I usually have 2 bottles. One with water and the other with Gatorade. I usually always drink the water before the gatorade, except on a hot day when I might drink them both at the same time.

Here is a link to a site about what the Tour de France riders eat.

I eat white bread for digestibility, not GI. The sandwiches are by far the slowest-digesting part of my race diet. They're there for the salt and so that I get a break from sweet-tasting food.

The rest of the foods have a shockingly high GI anyway. Most gels are very close to 100.

For MTB races, I generally go fairly high GI because I need to be able to digest the foods very quickly (and recover quickly if I bonk). For other events where the peak intensity is lower (Audax and AR) I rely more on body fat stores and will go for lower GI foods. There's a convenience factor, too - I don't have to stop and eat every five minutes with low GI foods.

Audax tends to be more 'whatever is available to buy' rather than a pre-planned diet anyway.

So, today I visited a couple of supposed sports nutrition shops in North Sydney.
The GMC guys were hopeless to be honest. Told them I wanted something for long lasting, slow release energy... they offered me protein bars. They don't have anything even remotely high in carbs.

The other lot were OK, had Enduro bars and gels. Have tried the bars as you know, they are OK. Happy with Gu for quick hit, but these are for emergency use only I think. They had something else, (sorry - I forget the name as) it didn't sound that promising. Was about twice the size of a Powerbar, but not as dense. The guy said it was dry and you needed to drink a lot when eating it - not exactly ideal.

They also gave me a sample of Optimizer (sic - bad since it's made in Aus!). This sounds like it may be OK before an event, or mixed with water half way through and chugged down. Will try this on Saturday and see how it tastes.

Hit the supermarket, stumbled across dried fruit. Ahhhh... some yoghurt coated apricots and plain dried apricots. Slightly more carbs than a Powerbar, lots more of that sugar - good for energy but... 5 times less sodium and lots of potassium. Not sure what this means, but it's fruit, so natural, how bad can it be? Will toss some of these into the mix and see how it goes.

banana, and they can be had for $2 a kilo, kicks the arse of anything else if you're budget minded?

Yeah, I love bananas and eat many, but... you can't carry them round in a backpack easily? For this reason think they aren't the best for in ride fuel.

Do a quick search and there's a few places saying that a medium banana has around 100cal energy. This is OK, but what's easier to carry, 1 Powerbar or 3 bananas?

I race alot of the 24hr, 12hr, 8 hr, 100km solo, So keeping fed is really important,

Dinner the night before
Huge pasta dish and 2 glasses of red wine

My breakfast usually consists of ( For a 100km race ) eat 40mins before race start.
2 x tins rice cream
2 x bananas
1 x muffin
1 x extra strong coffee ( because its some stupid early time in the morning.)

This will get me through to about the 60km mark
also having gu gel, every 15km after the 40km mark helps as well.
carry a banana or 2 to eat at the 50km transition mark
plenty of water.

Basically when doing a race like this your body kind of shuts down pumping blood to your stomach after approx 4 hrs of intense exsercise.
so its best to eat as much as possible before the start.

hope that helps somehow

Ahhhh... found some good stuff on the AIS site just now:

http://www.ais.org.au/nutrition/documents/FuelMt... (83Kb)

They also have a small booklet about it:

http://www.ais.org.au/nutrition/documents/Curren... (939Kb)

Had a quick flip through this (it looks like the free handout we were given on one event actually). They say one should have 30-60g carbs per hour. So, for my 7 hour optimism that's up to 10 powerbars, so maybe I wasn't so far [ erm - OK, so 40% is quiet bad Eye-wink ] out with the other estimate. They are advocating gels too, so perhaps they are not all that bad. Also stuff like Jam sangers - perhaps peanut butter and honey will get the boot Eye-wink

Dreggsy - I like the sound of rice pudding/creamed rice/whatever we call it for breakie - thanks for that one.

Hey Rob,

thanks for posting the links! Interesting read. I think I need my personal dietician, cook and personal trainer from now on Smiling.

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