endur8 provides runners and cyclists with essential fuelling instruction based upon their personal performance profile and the demands of the course they’re running or riding on. The endur8 app alerts them to the need to take on carbohydrates at fuelling points along their route.
But what fuels should endurance athletes be taking on and why?
Studies from the University of Bath* are among a number to show that athletes consuming carbohydrate-based sports drinks during an event – an Olympic distance triathlon – improved their performance times. The exact times when you consume carbohydrate and the type of carbs you take on board can, as the Bath University study also revealed, have a significant effect upon your performance.
Energy-containing carbohydrate is classed by its position on a scale called the Glycaemic Index (GI). This rates food types, giving each one a score according to its effect on the body’s blood-sugar or glucose levels.
The higher the GI, the quicker the food will make glucose levels rise when that food is digested.
So carbohydrate that’s rapidly digested and quickly converted into glucose which feeds into the bloodstream has the highest GI (high GI foods usually score more than 70 on the scale).
Carbohydrate that breaks down slowly, drip-feeding glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, usually has a lower GI (less than 55).
Consuming low GI foods two to three hours before a race or a long training ride or run will provide energy in the build up to your exercise and during the early stages of it.
But as you continue to run or ride – and when your endur8 app alerts you to take on fuel – it’s easier and more effective to consume high GI snacks or drinks made up of easily digested and rapidly delivered carbs.
Many athletes look to very simple sugary carbs with high GI scores to provide the energy boost they need. These can vary from ‘purpose-built’ energy gels and drinks to more personal taste-based snacks such as sweets like jelly babies, jaffa cakes and even white bread and lots of jam.
Depending on the type of event and planned duration, your consumption of carbohydrate and application of GI foods may look something like this:
|Time||Recommended Carb Intake|
|14 hours before a race||Low GI, high-carb: whole wheat pasta or brown rice & chicken|
|2-3 hours before a race||Low-Mid GI: Porridge, muesli rye bread toast or scrambled egg|
|60 minutes before a race||Mid-High GI: Energy drinks to aid hydration carb conversion|
|30 minutes before a race||Mid GI snack: a banana|
|30 minutes into the race||Fast delivery, High GI isotonic energy drinks, energy gels, dried fruit|
|Throughout the race||Continue taking carb-based snacks and drinks as endur8 alerts you|
|After the race||Recovery meals combining low-Mid GI foods with proteins and fats such as chocolate milk, protein-carb mix shakes|
|2-3 hours after||Low-Mid GI recovery gel; grilled salmon and steamed broccoli and sweet potato mash|