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Why Fuel as a Runner?

Why Fuel as a Runner?

Dec 27th 2018

There are many myths surrounding the function of energy products, or at best, misconceptions. To start off the 2019 season, we have set out to dispel these myths and instill the basic concepts of fueling as an endurance athlete.  As you may know, or will come to know, your FUELing is critical to both understand, and practice leading up to prime time.

Better yet, we made a comprehensive yet brief video explaining HOW and WHY fueling specifically with carbohydrate during exercise extends time to exhaustion and improves performance. This is knowledge to be used by any athlete, and across any carbohydrate focused nutrition. 

As you can see in the video - carbohydrate is the ultimate and desired fuel source by the body to support performance endurance exercise. Shortly, we will explain how to simplify the practice of proper fueling as an athlete, introducing our TORQ Fueling System

For now, here are some key tips to keep in mind in your training and on race day for the trails ahead:

  1. The body has a limited supply of carbohydrate (CHO) in the liver and muscles, called glycogen. This is roughly 500g, which will last 60-90mins of exercise depending on exertion. The higher your heartrate, the faster the CHO burn. 
  2. Once you are out of stored carbohydrate (glycogen), you are done. Performance is completely curbed in order to preserve blood glucose to run more critical systems in the body. This does not feel very good, and most people have (or will) experience the 'bonk' or 'hitting the wall' at some point. 
  3. The more fuel (carbohydrate) you can take onboard, and digest, the higher exertion you can maintain over time (higher heartrate over time). 
  4. Fueling tips:
    1. Early morning races/training: you need to restock your liver glycogen as it has been depleted overnight. Trying to perform without fueling prior to exercise will be very limited and short in duration. A mixture of slow and fast carbohydrates (glucose and fructose) is a good idea for breakfast and/or pre-race snack. Try to eat 2-3hrs before event/training when possible. Bowl of instant oatmeal with some maple syrup and fruit on the side is a good choice which is easily digestible. AVOID foods with non-trivial amounts of fats, proteins, and fiber (yes, this means the PB&J pre-race). 
    2. Do not consume high GI carbohydrates, like sports gels or sports drinks, leading up to the event training (unless you are on short time and have not had a pre-race meal). Stick with water, and if hungry, go for the ultimate athlete's food...the mighty banana. 
    3. When running, start the timer. Try to consume ~60g of carbohydrate per hour out on the trail. With TORQ fueling products, you can achieve up to 90g - more on this on our fueling system page.
      1. Gels are prefered fuel sources for runners. Look for gels which offer a balance of the 5 key electrolytes (Sodium, Chloride, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium), as well as carbohydrates (typically glucose/maltodectrine/fructose). 
      2. If fueling mainly with gels on the run, don't forget to replenish some of the fluids at the aid stations. Gels alone cannot match the perspiration rates, especially in summer months. 
    4. Don't litter. Nuff said. 

We will continue to dive more into fueling best practices as we move into the 2019 race season, as well as more insight on how to ready your nutrition for the peak season event. 

For those looking to try a nutrition lineup designed specifically for the endurance athlete (faster/easier to digest, simple to plan and consume, unrivaled tastes and textures, with NO artificial anything), take a look at our COMPLETE SAMPLING KITS here

Happy fueling, Happy trails.