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Nutritional supplements for endurance sports


               (AP Photo/Franck Robichon, Pool)
The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is just two weeks away and athletes are making final preparations for the big race.  Nutrition is key to optimum performance.  There are tons of supplements that are alleged to promote energy and assist with recovery for endurance athletes. According a recent Strength and Conditioning Journal article, only a few have been shown to have science backing them.
Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions are one of the most effective nutritional supplements for endurance athletes.  Drinking 4-12 ounces of a 6-8% solution every 10-15 minutes can effectively replace lost carbohydrates, fluids, and electrolytes during the race.
Caffeine at a dose of 3-6 mg./kg. body weight taken about 30-60 minutes before the race can improve performance.  Caffeine has been shown to increase fat burning, spare glycogen (quick energy source in muscles), and reduce an athlete's perception of effort.
Adding a small amount of protein to carbohydrates in a pre-competition meal helps restore muscle glycogen, improve performance, and reduce muscle damage from prolonged exercise.
The big day is March 28.  Remember to be prepared for all weather conditions (see previous article) and use supplement strategies that work best for you. 
Kerksick, C. & Roberts, M. (2010, February). Supplements for endurance athletes. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 32(1), 55-64.
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