The subject of nutrition in endurance sports is very controversial and there are many opinions. We find the pro-carbohydrates, which will tell you to eat only that. And on the other hand, pro-lipids which consume up to 80% of their calories in the form of fat. There are a whole range of methods that are constraining on a daily basis and that scientific studies only partially validate.
We therefore offer you classic solutions, known and recognized, effective and used for a long time!
A different meal for each type of training?
To maximize the effects of your training, you must give the body what it needs. Eating before running is the only way to do it. Especially since the needs are different depending on the type of training we will do.
For those with a varied training plan, training speeds will range from the slowest, such as recovery jogging, to hyper-intense sessions. The body does not create energy in the same way for each pace. The basis remains the same, the energy comes from carbohydrates and fats, but the use pattern changes completely between these two types of sessions. Aerobic running is often referred to as fundamental endurance running or marathon running (the slowest speeds).
Above a certain threshold, we also speak of anaerobic running, but it should be remembered that anaerobic running only works with sugars. Aerobics, on the other hand, uses both sugars and fats to produce energy. The slower you run, the more you use lipids to create energy.
Eat well before running intensely!
This is the key to performance! If you want to be able to be at the top of your game on a session that includes high intensities, you have to stock up on sugar accordingly. This sugar is stored in the muscles as glycogen. And if the stocks are low, the body will not be able to exploit its full potential and training will therefore make us progress less. The last meal before running an intense session should therefore contain carbohydrate-rich foods.
Snack in the last hour before the session
If you do your session at the end of the day, after work, the lunch is a little far away. You can have a small snack between 45 minutes and 1 hour before the session depending on your hunger. It can simply be a banana with some oilseeds (almonds, hazelnuts…).
Alternative method: restrict intake to stress the body
One of the principles often used by athletes, especially at the highest level, is the “low train, race high” principle, the objective being to limit the carbohydrate intake required for training to the minimum necessary to perform it correctly. Thus, on race day, with maximum carbohydrate stocks and a constant supply during the race, the body will be able to function at full capacity and make the most of these carbohydrates!
However, it is not easy to assess the contribution required for training. It is an effective technique if used properly but can also be counterproductive. If carbohydrates are overly limited and muscles do not function to their full potential, the progression associated with this training may be reduced.
Do we need carbohydrates before jogging?
If you run slowly while jogging, you use a large proportion of fat to produce energy. We can therefore potentially do without carbohydrates before running a jog. It is also the principle of fasting jogging. We do an intense training in the evening to empty the sugar reserves of the muscles and then we do not eat any or very little carbohydrates. The next morning when we wake up, we do a jog, without eating.
Thus, our body having very low sugar reserves, will have to work with what remains: lipids. It is one of the ways to improve the efficiency of our body in using lipids as an energy source, an interesting element especially for the marathon runner. So you don’t need to eat carbohydrates before you run a jog. If we respect a slow pace, without ever exceeding the fundamental endurance, everything is fine.
Fasting jogging should be tested carefully, gradually and by bringing a sweet food with you. On the other hand, for daytime jogging, there is no need to take a “special jogging” snack. The body’s reserves are sufficient to do without.