Do you have an upcoming marathon, century bike ride, triathlon, tennis tournament or other endurance event?Perhaps you feel confused about how to maintain energy during extended exercise sessions?
This handy guide can help you figure out your calorie targets. Because your body’s response to food during exercise is unique to you, please experiment during training, observe the benefits (or costs), and tweak accordingly!
Exercise duration: : Less than 45-60 minutes
Carbohydrate intake during exercise: nothing other than pre-exercise snack
Examples: A pre-exercise meal (oatmeal) or snack (banana) will do the job to keep you adequately fueled during the workout
Exercise duration: 1-2.5 hours
Carbohydrate intake during exercise: 30 to 60 grams carb/hour
Examples: Consume 120 to 240 calories of carbs in the form of sports drinks, gummy candy, gels, dried pineapple, banana, and other commercial or standard foods
Exercise duration: More than 2.5 hours
Carbohydrate intake during exercise: 60 to 90 grams carb/hour
Examples: For long events like extended training for a 100 mile bike ride, Ironman triathlon, or trail run, target 240 to 360 calories per hour from a variety of carbohydrates including fruit, gummy candy, and granola bars, as tolerated.To avoid “flavor fatigue”, include not only sugary sweets (sports drinks, candies and gels) but also peanut butter and honey sandwiches, beef jerky, pretzels, chicken broth, cheese sticks, and other foods that offer savory and salty flavors. Be sure to experiment during training to figure out what you can tolerate!
For more information: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners, or Cyclist’s Food Guide.