Performance Nutrition Principles

As well as nailing down an effective nutritional strategy for race day, your nutritional intake and training effectiveness are hugely intertwined, which is why we separate training and racing nutrition here. It stands to reason that progressively overloading the body with harder and harder training sessions is going to bring about change and adaptation (the training effect). However it also stands to reason that if you don’t put the correct type and number of calories into your body, you won’t have the energy to progress or the raw materials to make the repairs and therefore adapt. Hence, your nutritional intake during training is fundamental to your physical preparation for the event itself. You’re wanting to be on that start line in the best possible form and that will come from effective, progressive, well-balanced training – and that requires effective, progressive, well-balanced nutrition.

Once you’re on the start line, feeling perfectly prepared and in the form of your life, what’s going to happen if you don’t get your fuelling right? You could have the most amazing form in the world, but you’ll get beaten by someone much less fit and physically prepared than you if you don’t optimise your race day nutrition and they do. Think of it like this – which car’s the fastest over a 24 hour period, a Le Mans 24-hour race car or a 1-litre family hatchback? It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? How about we feed you a little bit more information. What if the Le Mans car starts the 24-hour race with one full tank of fuel and when it’s gone it’s gone and the family hatchback is allowed to refuel as many times as it wants – who’s going to win the 24-hour race? The human body is no different – it will store a limited amount of useful fuel and if you don’t constantly feed fuel back into it, it will stall, however big your engine!

By understanding both your training and race nutrition, you can have the biggest engine possible at the start of your chosen event and the fuel to take it the distance. Yes, you can be the Le Mans 24-hour race car with all the fuel it could possibly need…