New Research Changes Thoughts on How to Fuel on Race Day


It’s undeniable that carbohydrate intake during a long race improves performance, but exactly how much, what type and when you need it is less certain. Recently, researchers at Loughborough University in the U.K. decided to pose a different question: what is the best pattern of carbohydrate intake to improve performance? Contrary to what many runners might think, they found you’re better off gulping down your sports drink, rather than sipping slowly, if you want to get the maximum benefit from it on race day.

The general guidelines around carbohydrate intake suggest that for events lasting 1-2.5 hours, you should consume approximately 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. For anything longer, you should increase that amount to 90 grams of carbohydrates every hour. When you ingest carbohydrates, they end up in your stomach, and gastric emptying gradually releases them into your intestine, which then regulates the supply of carbohydrates to the rest of your body.

The volume of carbohydrates in your stomach is one of the primary influences on how fast your stomach will empty. The larger the volume, the faster it will empty into your intestine. Because it’s the intestine (not the stomach) that regulates the release of carbohydrates to the rest of your body, researchers thought that the pattern or timing of when you took in that fuel during exercise didn’t matter, but the scientists in the U.K. found otherwise.

Read more at: https://runningmagazine.ca/health-nutrition/runners-gulp-dont-sip-your-carbs-on-race-day/

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