Sports nutrition and supplementation for Trail Running

A correct approach to Trail Running, requires special attention to the nutritional aspects, whether related to reintegration of calories, water and minerals consumed during the training sessions and competitions, or related to the daily meals management.

The appropriate specialist for an everyday diet is the nutritionist, while in sport supplementation, it is better to refer to a specialist in endurance sports nutrition.

Here are some general guidelines for sport nutrition and supplementation in Trail Running, that you can customize and share with the nutritionist.

Example of a daily diet suggested to a TRM Trail Runner

Breakfast

Rusk, crisp bread or wholemeal bread with jam or honey and cereals. Drink skim milk, tea or coffee. If you are used to eating salty, eat light cheese or cottage cheese with ham and boiled. In some countries it is customary to eat even fish and rice. Avoid cakes, packaged snacks and biscuits containing butter and hydrogenated fats.

Lunch

Rice or pasta with vegetables or fish. In the case of a light lunch, have a salad accompanied by bread or a slice of pizza or, alternatively, a sandwich with vegetables, fish or white meat. End the meal with fruit, skimmed yoghurt or a fruit juice or smoothie. Also soy milk is suggested.

Dinner

Preferably vegetable proteins from tofu, seitan or legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, etc, otherwise fish, poultry or eggs, if not had for breakfast. Eat plenty of raw or cooked vegetables and finish with fruit or skimmed yoghurt.

For drinking, the best is undoubtedly water or natural fruit juices.

In regards to alcohol, as per carbonated drinks, expert nutritionists agree on the total elimination from the diets as well.

To do / not to do before and after training

  • Do not ever train in the morning fasting. This could be useful to professionals, but not recommended for beginners as particularly stressful from a physiological point of view. The workout fasting can be included only in custom programs;
  • Let pass 2-3 hours between meal and workout;
  • During long-distance training, get used to drink a sip of water or isotonic drink every 30 minutes;
  • At the end of each workout over 60 minutes, restore with 500 ml of water and minerals;
  • The first times, at the end of a workout, it may happen to experience a strong feeling of hunger.

Do not overeat, but reintegrate the calories really burned, or eat a fruit or a vegetable.

Nutrition and supplementation in endurance sports 

Endurance sports as the Trail Running, requires an enormous amount of energy and also:

  • to correctly nourish in order to receive the nutrients essential to carry out the physical activity, and be prepared to sustain any effort;
  • to supplement during trainings and competitions in order to avoid hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or muscle cramps;
  • to supplement after trainings and competitions in order to rebuild stocks of muscle glycogen, to enhance protein synthesis, to recover lost minerals.

Some general rules can be a guide to orient themselves, while every athlete need an ad hoc program.

  1. About 55% of total daily energy arise from carbohydrates. Generally speaking, a balanced meal for an athlete should provide, in terms of nutrients, 45-65% carbohydrates + 10-35% protein + 20-30% fat, vitamins and minerals. This may change depending on the intensity and duration of the training and time in which they take place;
  2. By way of exemple, the daily requirement of carbohydrates and proteins, to provide enough energy in a moderate training of less than 1h, and then recover, is about 5 to 7g of carbohydrate x 1kg of bodyweight, while a workout above 4-5h needs 8 to 12 g carbohydrate x 1kg of bodyweight. However the protein requirement, for a person who trains three times a week, ranges from 1.2 to 1.4g x 1kg bodyweight/day. Better if the 40% of the proteins are vegetable.
  3. Regarding the carbohydrates characteristics, it is preferable to assume carbohydrates with low GI (Glycemic Index) 60 to 90 min before the workout/competition, during workout keep low the insulin level with carbs with medium GI, and on post workout high GI to recover the muscle glycogen stock in association with proteins.

TRM experience in the Ultra over 100km

During workout/competition

  • Alternate liquid food to solid foods, by following a strict protocol to be tested repeatedly. Nurture every 45 min in small quantities;
  • Every carb gel, drink plenty of water;
  • Alternate sweet to salty to avoid sugar overloading effect, that cause hyperglycemia and gastrointestinal problems;
  • Drink every 20-25 min, alternating simple water to beverages that contain a mix of mineral salts and maltodextrin, adding 0.5 g of kitchen salt every 500 ml.

Post workout/competition: 

  • The first 60 minutes after the effort, our body is more receptive to restore energy and minerals burned, therefore nourish and hydrate during this period.

In endurance sports such as Trail Running, especially on Long Trail and Ultra, the energy supply from a normal nutrition is no longer sufficient, for which it is necessary to combine a correct supplementation’s program for supporting and recovering, developed on the athlete characteristics and goals.

TRM Team has long term field experience, and an expert professional, certified in Sport Nutrition and Supplementation.

Taking part to our Stages, or by requesting a personalized training program, the Nutrition and Supplemenation support will also be included in the package.