20 Nutritional Tips for the Endurance Athlete

runner nutrition

The one thing I wish I was better at as a runner was nutrition. So when I heard that Weber State University’s Sports Nutritionist would be presenting as part of a running series put on by Mountain land Rehab., I could not resist attending. My former teammate and I sat and soaked in as much information as we possibly could in the hour period. From that, I have put together 20 tips for the endurance athlete. Some of these tips may need further explanation so if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment  or email me and i’ll reply to you as soon as I can!

20 Tips For The Endurance Athlete

1.   Carbo loading should occur 2 days before your racing event (That’s right! Pasta parties should occur the Thursday before your Saturday race!)
2.   Endurance athletes need to be eating carbs ALL THE TIME  to create the energy their muscles need to perform. 
3.   Look for quality carbs such as fruits, veggies, dairy, legumes (runners need over 300/grams per day).
4.   1/2 of your carbs should come from whole grains, whole wheat, and vegetables.
5.   You should not be trying to lose weight during training (that is for the winter months). Lose weight in the off season, get stronger and faster ‘in’ season.
6.   Don’t over do protein. Protein is used for muscle/tissue repair and building. It is not a high energy source (that’s what carbs are for!).
7.   Eat 1-3 hours before training or competition.
8.   Prior to  exercise, eat things low in fiber (AMEN!) Try a banana with peanut butter, peanut butter and honey on bread, or waffles with peanut butter.

9.   The average athlete only needs to eat during a workout if it is longer than 1 hour.

10.   For workouts over 1 hour, the average athlete needs 30-60 carbohydrate grams per/hour (1 GU is 25 grams). So in one hour you need at least 2 GU’s.

11.  For workouts over 1 hour the average endurance athlete should drink 4 ounces every 15 minutes.

12.   While working out, consume foods in small frequent bites, followed up by water.

13.   For relay athletes (Ragnar etc.) try to eat as soon as possible after your run/bike to be ready for your next leg.

14.   After exercise, remember the 3/4 rule. You need to have 3 eating episodes over 4 hours.

15.   Eat within 30 minutes after a workout using a 3:1 rule. 3 Carbs to 1 protein (Following these rules will help muscle recovery occur 3-4 times faster).

16.   You are under eating if you have significant hunger pangs in the early or middle part of exercise.

17.   You are under eating if you feel you are working hard but not making progress in your training.

18.   If you are working out for under 1 hour water is enough, if you are working out for more than that, drink a sports drink.

19.   Maintain hydration!!! Muscles are 74% water so make sure you are getting enough. THIS IS THE #1 THING THAT CAN RUIN YOUR RACE!

20.   The two most important nutrition factors for an endurance athlete are, 1) consume carbohydrates and 2) stay hydrated! 


Stacie Dorius

Looking for additional ways to amp up your nutrition? Check out these products!

M5 Endurance Supplements
The Feed Zone (Perfect for all you LOTOJA riders!)

Sports Nutrition for the Endurance Athlete
Ogio Endurance Fitness bag



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One Response to 20 Nutritional Tips for the Endurance Athlete

  1. Janelle Nelson May 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Could you please explain the 3/4 eatting episodes… in 4 hours. Did they say how many calories at each episode? Or how this helps? Is this specific to a run longer than 1 hour? Thanks!! :)

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