What kind of food should you eat during a long-distance race?

During physical exercise, carbohydrates (CHO) and fats are the main sources of energy for muscle. The intensity and duration of the effort, together with the CHO reserves prior to exercise and the training status of each person, modify the type of substrate (sugars or fats) used by muscle cells.

The importance of carbohydrates

The exercise intensity is one of the main factors why carbohydrates become the main source of energy for the muscle. That is, the more intense the exercise, the higher percentage of carbohydrate will be used by muscle compared to fat. That is why it is essential to focus on the role played by this macronutrient around the sporting event. The objective of this article is to know what type of energy you need to be able to perform better during a sports event such as Titan Desert Morocco.

The main thing in this type of event is to understand that it is a long distance race. It is essential to set a comfortable intensity of the race and control the intake of energy and hydration during each stage.

In the following image it can be clearly seen that as we increase the intensity of the race, our body will suffer a greater caloric expenditure and, in addition, it will ask us for more amount of sugars as a source of energy. If you look closely, as running power (watts) increases, the amount of energy from carbohydrates (in orange) increases. On the contrary, as this intensity increases, fats cease to have an important role as a source of energy.

Energy bars and drinks, great allies

For this reason, during high-intensity runs, it is more efficient to consume snacks such as candy bars, gels and/or energy drinks. The latter usually carry around 70-80g of carbohydrates per 500ml, so they help us maintain a high energy intake while hydrating us. At a medium race pace it is easier to tolerate those more solid snacks and with a higher energy intake.

This energy comes not only from sugars, but also from fats. When choosing a good bar, it is essential to prioritize healthy fats such as those found in nuts, peanut butter or tahini, olive oil...

At a theoretical level, the amount of energy that should be consumed in races longer than 2h is about 60g of carbohydrate per hour. If the test lasts more than 3 hours, it is recommended to increase the quantity to a minimum of 90g. And here I leave you a curious fact; Did you know that elite cyclists can consume 120g of carbohydrates/hour during the Tour de France?

It is thus, that to avoid gastrointestinal problems in the race it is essential to have a strategy and to have trained nutrition in the months prior to the event. So don't hesitate to ask your sports nutritionist for help!

I'm Martina Rebull from Comeypedalea

We are in constant motion, we grow, we learn, we change… Like the wheels of a bicycle, they never stop rolling. They are the engine that drives trips, motivations and challenges. No need to go anywhere, but always on the go. If you join the #alwayskeepteam you will enter the wheel of constant discovery to get to live better, in a healthier way through nutrition and sports.


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