March 25, 2023
Running Nutrition

Running Nutrition

In this episode, the legendary Professor Tim Crowe joins me to talk about running nutrition. Jason Jarred has a common question to nut over, when is a meal plan a diet? And to finish up I review Creatine as a sports supplement, to help you decide if you need to be taking it. Don’t forget to rate the show on iTunes!

Check out this episode!


Running Nutrition– Tim Crowe

  • Personal interest in running- took up marathon running 15 years ago. Helps to put theory into practice!
  • Difference between a half and a full marathon in terms of metabolic needs. Half marathon: only running for 2 hours so nutrition and food isn’t THAT important. Run out of glycogen (carbohydrate) stores after 2 hours of high intensity physical activity.
  • Taking on additional carbohydrate during the event (hourly) is important to replenish these stores after 2 hours.
  • Half-marathon: don’t need to take on much nutrition during it, maybe just some mouth rinses or a gel.
  • Full-marathon: nutrition during the event is very important. Body also exposed to a higher level of stress during training which requires its own additional needs.
  • 30-60grams/hour of carbohydrate required in endurance sport. This is adequate for less than 2 hours of endurance sport.
  • Once hit 2-3 hours of endurance sport, benefit of taking on additional carbohydrates. Only taking on glucose: Body can only utilise maximum 60 grams/hour of glucose.
  • After 2 hours take on an additional form of carbohydrate (e.g. fructose) combined with glucose, body can take it up through a different pathway to utilise glucose use of up to 90 grams/hour.
  • Multiple transportable forms of carbohydrate (MTC’s) enhances carbohydrate take-on by the body.
  • The longer an athlete goes, the larger the requirement and higher risk of using up all glycogen stores. Take on additional forms of carbohydrate you will aid in preserving glycogen stores. Take up to 90 grams/hour- that’s a lot of energy the body can make use of and muscles can use.
  • Running 3-4 hour endurance events- fructose is your friend! Used in conjunction with other carbohydrate forms it’s very helpful but if you take too much of it can lead to gastrointestinal problems- that’s why it’s used as an aid!
  • If fructose gives you a problem then avoid it during events. If you can tolerate it then use it in conjunction with other carbohydrate forms.
  • If you’re competing for less than 2 hours you don’t need additional form of carbohydrate.
  • Low-carb, high-fat diet pushed by a selective group of people; it’s a fad. Evidence shows the best you can do on this diet in very long endurance sports maintain a decent level of work rate. At its best it’s equal with a normal carbohydrate diet. However you will fall behind in high-intensity, high-energy demands following this diet. Want a balance between high carbohydrate and high fat.
  • When you’re competing you want carbohydrates, when you ‘re training there may be times when low carbohydrate is better to allow adaptation to fat use.
  • Running first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or doing 2 sessions/ day (1 on an empty stomach) has a good consensus with athletes and people have been doing it for many years despite no evidence to support this type of training. Do it in training if it works for you but you need carbohydrate on race day! More ATP per unit of oxygen from glucose than you do from fat and carbohydrates are easy to take on during sport rather than eating fat during a race!
  • Leucine: protein is just as important in endurance sports as it is for someone lifting weights for muscle gain! 1.6 grams protein/kg of body weight required at an elite level of endurance training- on par with someone commencing a new gym-based training program. Protein needed due to the stress running causes as muscles break down (for continual growth and repair) and for the immune system. Protein is just as important for runners as strength-based athletes.
  • For the average runner, normal diet would probably be providing enough protein. For an elite runner, you’re probably eating more food and therefore protein anyway. Can get most of protein requirement from diet.
  • Best dietary sources of Leucine= dairy and whey protein.
  • Best supplements for runners:
  1. Caffeine: 2-3mgs/kg body weight linked to benefits with endurance sports. Category A supplement- good evidence.
  2. eetroot juice: Benefit in sports up to 30 mins. Nitrates increase oxygen efficiency, insulin sensitivity and can increase time to exhaustion.
  3. Beta-alanine: Only benefit in sports from 1-20 minutes duration (not good for marathon runners). Involved in making carnicine in muscle. Increase work rate in high intensity sports. Gives you pins and needles within 15 minutes of taking it!
  • Leading up to race day: days leading up to marathon don’t go crazy with carbohydrate loading; just eat a high carbohydrate diet all the time. Hydration: drink a lot of fluid 15 minutes before it starts. Caffeine tablets (guaranteed dose of caffeine). Beetroot juice doesn’t have a big benefit to play in marathons (wee will turn pink or purple as well!). Low fibre day to avoid gastrointestinal problems. Simple carbohydrates (e.g. lollies), sports drinks and gels during the race.
  • Don’t introduce new nutritional routines or techniques just before race day! Make sure you have trained yourself nutritionally (not just physically) well before the race.

Running Nutrition

In The News– Jason Jarred

When is a meal plan a diet?

  • Meal plans- cautious with what they mean. It could just be a diet! If it’s telling you what you can and cannot eat and it’s very rigid with no options then it is a diet.
  • We know that diets don’t work long-term. What works best is adherence to an eating style for a long time.
  • Clients want something that will work in the short-term. If you can’t stay on a type of eating long-term then it won’t work.
  • People need to be educated along with a meal plan- asked about the foods they enjoy eating, what options are convenient for them, what time they eat, when they are hungry etc. It’s not just a meal plan it’s a detailed discussion and covers how to adjust your way of eating to suit your life. Eating is never perfect- it’s when we believe that it should be perfect is when everything falls to pieces.
  • Once somebody binges off a meal plan they’re less likely to try the following day as they feel like a failure.
  • Diet has a lot of strict rules whereas a lifestyle change is flexible and takes into account the unexpected.
  • Eating is more than a meal plan- it’s about your relationship with food, the environment you live in and how you feel about food- a meal plan is irrelevant.
  • People need to take responsibility for their food choices and not blame others.
  • People use fear as a motivator but it’s not sustainable. Need to use more positive reasons to motivate us as they are like anchors.
  • People want meal plans!

Supplement review– Gabrielle Maston

Featuring Creatine

  • Popular in power training.
  • Used across many formulations in food products and powders.
  • Highly researched with proven benefits to increase power and strength.
  • Amino acid derived compound naturally synthesised by the body from the foods we eat. Liver, kidneys and pancreas make the creatinine. Can consume creatinine in the foods we eat in a typical Western diet that contains animal protein sources (meats).
  • Used as a fuel source during first 15 seconds of explosive exercise e.g. lifting 1 rep max on bench-press or squat or 100m sprint- use most of creatinine for power part of movement. Reserves in the body are small so needs to be replenished rapidly for people to continue to perform repetitive bouts of exercise e.g. 30 minute gym workout- doing multiple sets to failure- eating into our creatinine source and may need more towards the end.
  • For people who don’t require their body to produce huge amount of power (e.g. inactive or involved in pilates or yoga and not lifting heaps of weight)- no real need to take in more creatinine than what you’re already getting in your normal diet as you’re not using up your stores.
  • If you are doing heavy resistance training you’re more likely to become depleted- body can’t produce enough creatinine to match the amount of training you’re doing. Beneficial to supplement! Also beneficial for vegans or vegetarians when you’re not eating animal products- not getting much creatinine from plant sources so an added extra benefit to use creatinine supplementation to stay on top of strength and power training. Very beneficial for aging athletes- over the age of 50 and still competing in sports- creatinine might help retain muscle mass.
  • Different loadings for different groups: doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. Creatinine can be harmful for kidneys due to the salt content so be careful of supplement cocktails. Talk to a sports dietitian for the right dose to avoid harm. Need 3-6 grams daily to increase high intensity exercise training and improve muscle mass- needs a loading phase of 2 weeks. Take a bit extra for 2 weeks then commence normal dose. Cycle the dose- don’t stay on it forever as kidneys need a rest. Do a couple of cycles throughout the year.
  • Consider putting creatinine with carbohydrate in training shakes- shown to give best results. Some studies shown when combined with protein you get even better results!
  • Creatinine esters are not good and don’t work.
  • Need fluid retention and cells to swell for the supplement to work so just take the pure creatinine not the esters that claim to not cause fluid retention (which means they don’t work!).
  • If you have kidney problems talk to your doctor before taking creatinine.
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