by Kerith Duncanson www.helpyourself.com.au
Many runners place so much emphasis on training that they overlook race practice in preparation for an event. Try to consider all aspects of your preparation, including nutrition, so that your best performances are not left on the training track.
For races up to one hour duration, ensure that you are replacing fluids at a rate of 250 – 500ml per 15 minutes (depending on personal perspiration rates and weather). Practice this by sipping fluids every 15 minutes in training during track sessions or interval workouts.
For races over 1 hour duration (half or full marathon) you need to replace fluid and carbohydrate. At least a litre of fluid and about 50 grams of carbohydrate would be ideal. Consider using a sports drink, as this provides up to 60 grams of carbohydrate per litre. Choose a brand that you enjoy the taste of in order to optimise usage.
If you have problems with stomach cramps during races, the cause may be lack of practice using fluid replacement /sports drinks, or delaying consumption of fluids until too late in the race.
For ideal effect, use sports drinks during long runs at least once a week in the month prior to your main race. It is advisable to continue doing some longer training sessions without the use of sports drinks, as depleting carbohydrate stores and switching to fat burning is also an important adaptive part of your preparation.
Drink extra fluids (say an additional litre of water per day) a few days before the race, and top up with sports drink pre-race, before using a combination of water and sports drink throughout the event.