Training for and competing in endurance events like cross-country running and skiing, triathlons and bicycle racing significantly lowers muscle and liver glycogen stores. Muscle glycogen depletion is a well-recognized limitation to endurance performance. Athletes who train exhaustively on successive days must consume adequate carbohydrate and calories to prevent the cumulative depletion of muscle glycogen.
Here are some nutritional recommendations for endurance athletes:
- In the week prior to event (for event lasting longer than 90 minutes): maximize muscle glycogen through carbohydrate loading.
- In the period 1 to 4 hours before prolonged training and competition, consume a carbohydrate rich meal.
- For events lasting 1 hour or longer: consume carbohydrates during the day of competition.
- During all events, insure proper hydration. For fluid replacement guidelines, click here.