What keeps a triathlon athlete going in spite of the heat and long hours of vigorous physical activity is a properly hydrated and fueled body. In endurance sports, nutrition is equivalent to keeping oneself hydrated at all times, especially during the game. If you don’t give yourself the proper nutrition it needs, your game performance will suffer.
Sports that require special attention to endurance nutrition (and thus help you level up your performance) are: running, swimming, triathlon, cycling, rowing, mountain biking, adventure racing, cross-country skiing, mountaineering and trekking.
Let us say that you have prepared yourself for an endurance sport. Your nutrition focuses on giving you enough fuel to last you a day of vigorous physical activity. You eat foods rich in protein to keep your muscles fit for the game and carbohydrates to give you enough energy and fuel your muscles to run fast, steady, and consistently. What else can you do to perform much better in endurance sports?
Start the day with a full tank of water. Athletes don’t eat during a game, but they do drink water. Studies show, of which common people now know, that humans can last a month without eating but will die quickly without drinking water, lasting approximately 3 days to one week. That is how important water is to our body. Hydration is an important nutrition component to humans, most especially to athletes involved in endurance sports. So the endurance sports nutrition tip from athletes and trainers: drink lots of water before the game. Hydration is the key to winning endurance sports competitions. And drinking water before the game starts puts you in a great head-start. Don’t drink too much too near the start of the game or you could get cramps.
Hydrate yourself regularly during the game. Drink often during the game. Most endurance sports nutrition guide books will tell you the same thing. Athletes in endurance sports sweat off two quarts of water per hour especially in hot and humid weather. So you must drink at least four and as much as eight ounces of water every fifteen to twenty minutes. Sports drink may also replace water. Here’s a tip that endurance sports nutrition guide books may not have told you: to know when it is time to gulp on your water or sports drink bottle, set your timer to alarm every 15 or 20 minutes within 24 hours. Consider short sips instead of large quantities at a time. This prevents you from bloating during competition. Freeze your drinking bottles and then pack them up in insulated foams to keep it cool. Even if you don’t sweat still do gulp down the liquid in your drinking bottle. You may not know it and may not notice it but you may have sweat more than you thought.
Pack up extra bottles. Carry more drinking bottles if you can. Don’t be afraid to look like a camel with extra hump at your back. You need all those liquids in your endurance sport. It will keep you going and in shape. Besides, you will drain these drinking bottles one at a time every 15 or 20 minutes. At that rate, you may not even know that your endurance sports drinks have been drained down your esophageal pipes.
- In endurance sports nutrition, it has debated whether water or sports drink should be consumed by an athlete competing in endurance sports. Researches have shown that endurance sports athletes (competing under the sweltering heat of the sun) who were provided with water as a means of hydrating themselves replace only one and half to two-thirds of fluid loss, while those who were given with sports drink have shown hydration nearly to a hundred percent. The reason for this is that sports drink contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) which help retain fluid in the body and balance the presence of these minerals that are vital in normal bodily function. We lose electrolytes when we sweat. Dizziness, muscle cramps, extreme exhaustion, and irregular heartbeat are the symptoms of electrolytes loss in the body.