With our Endurance Sports Meal Plans, you stack the odds in your favour. To take maximum advantage of our meal plans, take the time to read the information below.
Whole wheat bread and pasta are carbohydrate-rich foods but also contain a great amount of dietary fibers. Even though they are usually recommended, these fiber-rich foods may lead to symptoms such as bloating before a race. Therefore, the meal plan includes a minimal amount of dietary fiber to facilitate digestion and elimination. This will avoid inopportune urges for a bowel movement during your race and ensure optimal absorption of carbohydrates. If you do not usually experience problems such as bloating or gas, you can always substitute items such as the suggested breakfast cereal or bread with your usual higher fiber ones.
Hydration recommendations vary depending on the temperature, humidity, your training program and your sweat rate. Given all of these variables, recommendations for fluid intake are not included in these menus. Keep in mind however that all liquids and “juicy” foods, like melon, contribute to optimal hydration as well as any sports drinks taken during training. The latter has also been integrated into the menu to help with carb-loading as well as to help ensure optimal hydration.
Clear or pale yellow urine is a good indication that your hydration status is adequate. Keep in mind that dietary supplements, like multivitamins, can change the color of your urine. This “pee-check” method is therefore only recommended for those not taking multivitamins.
The amount of fluid you need during a race will vary based on many factors including your intensity, your size and the environment (temperature, humidity) etc. As a general rule, aim to drink at least 500 mL of fluid per hour, more if you are a heavy sweater. Drink small sips every 5-10 minutes to ensure rapid absorption and reduced risk of “sloshing” in your stomach or other discomforts.
During efforts of over 90 minutes you will need roughly 30 to 60g of carbs per hour as well. If your fluid source is a sports drink (ie. Gatorade), 500mL of it will provide 30g of carbohydrates. Sports gel, jujubes, and sports beans are other adequate sources of carbs. Make sure you drink water with them (at least 500mL as mentioned above) to ensure their rapid absorption.
If you are a salty sweater (you notice white stains on your hat or clothes) you may need additional electrolytes or more fluid during a race. A consultation with an experienced sports nutritionist is recommended.
The storage of carbohydrates in the muscles as glycogen is accompanied by increased storage of water molecules. This will lead to small increase in weight. This weight-gain is a sign that the carb-loading is working. Make sure that you are comfortable with this increase before the race and know it will gradually disappear during the race through sweat and as your glycogen stores are used.
The protein-rich cereal that you may find listed in the breakfast or in the snacks refers to cereal containing at least 5 g of protein per serving. A few options you can find at your grocery are the Kellogg?s Vector, the Kashi GoLean, or the Nature?s Path cereal.
D-Day breakfast is very carefully planned for your pre-race needs. The number e.g. ”D-Day” 160 indicates the amount of carbohydrates found in this breakfast in order to complete your dietary preparation for your imminent start.
Your carb-loading menu is based on your body weight and personal preferences, as these are the most important factors in this protocol. Some recipes may be common to your training partner’s menu, because they are particularly suitable, i.e. quick, high in carbohydrates and low in fibre. We remind you that you can easily modify your menu by clicking on the blue “Swap meal” button: All suggested alternatives are nutritionally-equivalent.
We encourage you to self-adjust the amount of food if you feel hungry or have difficulty finishing a dish. Future menus for endurance sports will take other data into account such as pace, gender, etc. We are continuing to improve the customizability of menus and encourage you to send any feedback to us.
We have included quick-and-easy recipes for snacks like applesauce and banana bread for those who wish to make all of their food from scratch. Preparing for an endurance event can be stressful, and you may find yourself short on time. If this is the case, feel free to substitute store bought alternatives such as sweetened applesauce or dry oatmeal cookies, or fig-filled cookies. A piece of toast with jam is also an adequate alternative for snacks.
Recent studies have shown that it is theoretically possible to maximize glycogen stores 1 day before a race. This would require an athlete to consume 10 to 11g of carbohydrates per kg of their body weight the day before a race. For experienced carb-loaders, particularly those who weigh between 40 and 60kg, this may be possible. However as the sports nutritionists at VIVAÏ:Experts in Nutrition explain, most runners will find it difficult to eat this high volume of carbohydrates the day before their race. For this reason, they have recommended a carb-loading that takes place over 3 days.
If you are an experienced athlete and you are participating in a shorter event, you can do a 1 or 2-day carb-loading prior to your race.
Studies published in the 1960s suggested that a period of depletion of glycogen stores was necessary to achieve maximal storage. A period of intense training was recommended with little to no carbohydrate consumption followed by 2-5 days of carbohydrate loading. Numerous subsequent studies have shown that this depletion phase is not required to achieve maximal storage.
For more information about the glycogen depletion, please read: Burke, L.M., Hawley, J.A., Wong, S.H., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2011) Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci, 29 Suppl 1:S17-27
This customizable meal plan is for anyone who is actively practicing an endurance sport (longer than 90 minutes) such as half-marathons, marathons, cycling challenge-rides and road races, triathlons, etc.
It is designed to be used before an event such as a race and is not appropriate for use before weekly trainings.
IMPORTANT: The information provided on this website does not replace a medical consultation and is not intended for self diagnosis. We recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional before undertaking a change to your diet or lifestyle. See Terms & Conditions.