by Kerith Duncanson www.helpyourself.com.au
The two nutrition priorities after a big training session or race are rehydration and glycogen replacement. Endurance athletes are well-aware of the need to replace fluids, but carbohydrate consumption is equally important after a training or racing as you will have depleted muscles of glycogen and the only way to refuel them is to eat (or drink) carbohydrates.
Many athletes suffer unnecessary fatigue for days after a training session or event simply because they haven’t refueled their muscles. Inadequate carbohydrate consumption, in combination with muscle fibre damage, may delay muscle glycogen repletion for up to a week, resulting in poor training performance, fatigue and lethargy.
Sugars are equally as effective as traditional carbohydrate foods in restoring glycogen stores immediately after an endurance event. Aim to consume about 50 grams of carbohydrate within an hour of your training session. This could come from either of these choices: 800ml of sports drink or 500ml of fruit juice or 2 slices thick toast with jam or honey or 2 breakfast bars or 3 pieces of fruit (or a combination of these).
Once you have recovered it is advisable to sit down to a carbohydrate rich meal to further boost your glycogen stores. It is important that you begin reloading immediately following the session because this enables the body to resynthesise glycogen twice as quickly as when feeding is delayed for more than two hours.
If you put these ideas into practice, you will undoubtedly recover faster and therefore be able to train more consistently between races, which adds up to better performances. Train hard, race smart and RECOVER well, you will notice the difference!