General dietary rules
Many athletes divide their three large meals into four to eight small meals to create their food intake and to balance their training. Before a competition or a long training session, digestion should already be completed. This means that a meal directly before the sporting activity should be excluded.
If the digestive processes take up too much energy capacity of the body during the competition, the performance level can be reduced. The last food intake before a training session or a competition should not be too luxurious and should have taken place about two to three hours before the exercise. Before the endurance training, the corresponding meal should contain sufficient carbohydrates to ensure that the glycogen stores are fully replenished before the unit.
Smaller drinks can also be taken less than two hours before exercise, as they hardly affect the stomach activity. During the competition it is necessary to drink enough fluids, especially during endurance training over ten kilometres. However, you should make sure that the liquid contains a maximum of five percent sugar.
In addition, you should not drink a lot at once, but about 200 millilitres every 15-20 minutes. In this way, the fatigue limit can be pushed backwards in the case of continuous stress. Even after the competition, the right nutrition can help to regenerate optimally and prepare for the next competition.
Particularly after continuous exertion, you are not directly hungry. However, it is highly recommended to eat food rich in carbohydrates and liquids directly after sport. The sugar quickly teaches the stomach and the blood sugar concentration rises again quickly.
If the carbohydrate stores are completely empty, it can take up to 24 hours until they are completely replenished. The athlete should therefore take in 50-75 grams of carbohydrates every two hours. About five to seven percent of the storage capacity is replenished every hour, which means it can take up to a day for the body to replenish the stores completely.
The right choice of food can help you optimize your performance considerably. When it comes to endurance training, you can follow relatively simple recommendations and thus achieve good results and progress. But not only the type of food is decisive.
In addition, the percentage composition is of central importance in order to be prepared for a long lasting endurance strain. The logistical distribution of food intake times is also an aspect that should not be underestimated. Anyone who skips a meal or a drink before or during an endurance test must expect to end up on a starvation diet and, in the worst case, to have to stop the competition.
Because without sufficient fluids and food, the body’s performance is greatly reduced and at some point it will tire completely. Above all, one should not forget to drink as well as to eat. Even with too little liquid in the body, the performance is greatly reduced.