Comrades and Two-Oceans information evening 8 Feb 2018 – Nutrition

Nutrition for runners


Kim Hoffman (084206 2715)

Nutrition is not just important the week leading up to your run but it also essential when training.

Since long distance running is an endurance sport it is best to have carbs in your daily diet.

One of the primary functions of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy.

Most of the carbohydrates in the foods you eat are digested and broken down into glucose before entering the bloodstream.

Glucose in the blood is taken up into your body’s cells and used to produce a fuel molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through a series of complex processes known as cellular respiration. Cells can then use ATP to power a variety of metabolic tasks.

Most cells in the body can produce ATP from several sources, including dietary carbohydrates and fats. But if you are consuming a diet with a mix of these nutrients, most of your body’s cells will prefer to use carbs as their primary energy source.

Based on these recommendations, you should consume 2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbs per pound (0.45kg)  for light to moderate training that last less than one hour, 3.2 to 4.5 grams per pound (0.45Kg) for heavy training at high intensity and 4.5 to 5.5 grams per pound of body weight each day when running longer than four to five hours.

Which Carbs should you concentrate on

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  • Carrots, pumpkin, mielies
  • Rice and pasta (Preferably whole grain)
  • Bread (Brown of whole wheat)
  • Cereals (Oats or Swiss-style muesli)
  • Vegetables
  • Try to avoid treats as they have don’t have any nutritional value.


As very important part of your diet is protein, not only is it a very dense form of energy it helps with muscle recovery.

According to the ISSN, which says endurance athletes like runners need 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein per body mass kilogram a day.

Which proteins should I aim for?

Always try to go lean as animal fat is unhealthy. Choice of meat from best on top.

  1. Chicken
  2. Fish
  3. Shellfish
  4. Ostrich
  5. Extra Lean Mince
  6. Eggs
  7. Biltong
  8. Cheese (Rather go for soft cheese as it is lower in fat.)
  9. Choose a fillet over rump or eye rib steak.

Fat is good for you as well but go for natural fats like avo or eat olive oils.  Also note as soon as you heat up oil it becomes saturated and loses its “goodness”.

On Race Day

There is no way your body can store enough energy to get you through a marathon without refueling.

You need to practice your fuelling strategies on long training runs to see what your body can cope with.

If you are only going to run for 60 to 90 minutes you don’t need to worry about fuel but as soon as you go over 90 minutes of exercise it is best to fuel early on so that you don’t hit the dreaded wall.

Start fuel every 60 minutes.  You can either fuel with a gel, tailwind or something more natural.

Stay away from fiber and high protein for fuelling as it takes longer for your body to convert it into energy.

A good solid energy source is jelly beans, bread or potatoes.

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