Endurance sports: how to eat well before, during and after a long run

When we make a long effort, that is, more than 3 or 4 hours, you need to think about your nutrition and plan your intake based on intensity, expected performance and conditions : out of hand leaving everything to chance! This is less important for short comma action because the body has glycogen stores in the muscles, mainly from which it can pull to find the energy it needs. In the context of longer races, whether it's competitions or just training, You have to think about eating properly before, during and after, to not let your body suffer too much of effort and recover well afterwards. Let's see how to organize your meals together, with some product advice that I recommend.

What to eat before a perseverance effort:

We will assume here that we are talking about the framework for a competitive race, and not about training, so that during this type of effort we really want to go for performance and that it is therefore necessary to organize well. That said, it is highly recommended to test your nutrition / hydration strategy during exercise, to be sure:

  1. That all selected foods "pass" well – it is out of the question to test foods for the first time on a race day (you can hate the taste, the consistency, have a hard time chewing, digesting, diluting them, in short anything that can go wrong can end up happening). So we always test everything before and under similar conditions!
    Similarly, we test breakfast before the race, and if possible our meal the day before – in short, we limit the unexpected.
  2. That we are used to eating / drinking while walking / walking – It sounds simplistic, but if you are a beginner, your body is probably much more accustomed to eating sitting, without any external stress, and eating while doing something else is a skill to learn. You can practice it quite simply and it's a very good idea.

One week before the race :

We intend to increaseis the intake of carbohydrates and proteins. I know some people will starve a little because they are in the balance of food, but in the context of a race, it means less than having the reserves needed to be at the peak of performance.

You can increase your intake a little more every day until D-Day if you do not want to increase suddenly, but the important thing is to not have enough glycogen storage.
It is clear that we absolutely do not need to eat! But adopting 100 or 200 kcal extra (mostly complex carbohydrates) in a matter of days, just to make sure you go full-on, is a good idea.

Eat and drink the day before the race:

We can make a meal rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, whole grain rice or even cereal bread, preferably at least 16 hours before the race, so we have time to digest. It also doesn't mean making a big calorie surplus – that your body may have trouble digesting. We rather change the distribution of the macros (a small reminder of which macros are here!) And we choose the day before the race for 60% carbohydrates (quality, if possible complex).

Fast food, fatty foods and spicy dishes are absolutely avoided to avoid digestive problems that can interfere with exercise or running.

My favorite combination: pasta (200 g cooked), chicken (150 g) and tomato basil without added sugar (this is my "comfort food" right before sporting events, and once you find yours, the preparation will be much more zen. promised)

Hydration Page: DRINK MUCH. We can say that the goal is to have clear urine throughout the day and morning of the race. It will also prevent you from drinking much right before the race (and will pee afterwards – it's trivial, but still painful).

Eat and moisturize in the morning during exercise:

We choose 1:30 to 2 hours before the beginning of the session on something simple, based on carbohydrates, which will have time to be assimilated by the body. (One or toasted bread with peanut butter or an egg, for example). You can also choose 30 minutes before something easier and faster to digest as a fruit – banana and the most common choice.
Be careful and I'll say it again: try NOTHING again on a race day: eat something that you are used to and that you are sure you can digest properly – it is good for both food and equipment and your outfit.

I also recommend using a pre-workout based on caffeine and taurine for a lift that is always useful, especially in the case of very early awakening.

A tip for regular enticing OR coffee consumers: If you use a pre-workout during your regular workouts, or drink a lot of coffee in the office, try removing them 1 to 2 weeks before your competition or sporting event to get used to your body: the pre-effort dose will be a lot more efficient!

On the reco product side, I really like Pre workout Prozis Endurance because it contains sugars that replace the pre-race fruit to replenish the energy reserves. (I only take one ladle instead of 2, because I'm small in size) code TFT10 for a 10% discount on all orders!

Eat and drink in the long term:

The idea is that we will use (and therefore need) three important elements: food for energy intake, water to stay through the effort, and electrolytes (minerals that are important for the body's functioning, mainly sodium and potassium, but also calcium and magnesium).

During a long excursion or in the long term, calories (energy), water and electrolytes should be consumed regularly, and this whether you feel the need or not. When you rush with effort, you sometimes forget to listen to yourself and forget to drink or eat when it is extremely important to the body.
A piece of advice for those who intend to face several hours of effort: place alarms every half hour or hour on your watches to ensure constant and regular supply.

Be careful! You need to focus on reloading without trying to replace what you lose completely : It's just not possible. we will use about 500 to 600 kilocalories per hour, and sweat a lot (up to several liters) depending on conditions. The goal, therefore, is to give your body just enough to maintain performance until you can rebuild stocks after exercise.

Also, and I insist, even if your main goal is weight loss: FORGET AB during the race. Your body needs fuel and it needs to be delivered, you count calories and you will limit yourself if you want another time. Endurance efforts are just not the place for this kind of consideration. πŸ˜‰

How often to eat during a long effort?

We generally recommend an intake of 150 or 200 kcal every hour. You are free to eat 100kcal every 30min or 200kcal once an hour – test and see what works best for you! We mainly choose carbohydrates that are easy to digest and we avoid proteins (unless we try for more than 7 or 8 hours) because the body has a lot of trouble assimilating them during the effort.

Some people like to eat nuts and other nuts – it may be a good long-term option, but keep in mind that it takes several hours for fat to digest – if you're looking for an instant boost, then not the right option.

personal I recommend switching between energy bars and gels simply because one and the other can become very tedious with power – especially over efforts that last several hours. I also like the comfort of having something to eat – not everyone has any bad digestion of solid foods during the run that I can understand too.

Bar-side recommendations:

  • If you need energy very quickly, I recommend the little Energy Bars Prozis – which has the advantage of being super easy to eat (and the strawberry flavor is really good, I don't have thathave still tasted the others). (code TFT10 for a 10% reduction on the entire site).
  • If you need something a little comforting, I recommend Carman's type of nut bars – or whatever brand you like – no bar made entirely of nuts, because they are too long to assimilate.
  • I repeat: no protein bars, since the body does not assimilate proteins during exercise – we will keep them for later!

Recommendations for gels:

  • Persistence Prozis gels – easy to drink and take (be careful, the packaging is a little fragile, so it is better to take them in a small waterproof bag)
  • MyProtein Gels – I like the orange flavor, it's perfect for swapping with bars and it's a little less sweet (whichever you prefer).

(not being a big fan of gels, I have trouble making an exhaustive list, share your favorite gels in the comments!)


If you need an extremely fast lift (in case of severe fatigue), candies and fruit pastes can be a good solution (and I won't say that often.) They are very concentrated in sugar, which is very quickly assimilated by the body – what you can regain some energy almost immediately.

how often to drink during a long effort?

We aim for 250 ml (a large glass) for at least half an hour, if possible alternating clean water and drinks with electrolytes. CIt is not always possible, but it is ideal for balancing the loss of minerals due to sweat.

Avoid drinking in large sips (to avoid stomach discomfort).

For electrolytes, there are several options available (including rehydration salts available at pharmacies, which are always a good option when trying to save money).

Personally, I really like caffeine + electrolyte prozis, especially because they give a nice taste of my water and a little boost – I don't like water alone and would have trouble drinking enough if I didn't have a lemon taste – and I take a glass of pure water on each rack of the runners (not to drink only electrolytes).

What to eat / drink after a run:

After exercise, it is important to replenish the reserves gradually: the body needs many elements to recover, but it is often a bit "in shock" and must be treated with care.

On the food side, we choose foods that are rich in protein (which we couldn't eat during exercise) and carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen stores).

On the hydration side, you have to try to fill up your entire stock, but without drinking very quickly (because it can go quite badly). So, within the hour or 2 hours after the end of the test, drink water in small sips, avoid sparkling drinks and try to add electrolytes if possible.
We also avoid alcohol if possible because it is absorbed very quickly by the body at these times. (It's just advice, I know some races give finishers a beer, and frankly, I don't blame anyone for drinking it: x)

Questions, feedback? Tell me everything in the comments!

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