Santa Cruz de Tenerife, March 23, 2021. Hospiten is committed to healthy practices in sport, where nutrition is a fundamental to improving performance in sport and avoiding injuries.
Food is one of the pillars of what is called invisible training and, together with rest and hydration, is one of the most forgotten factors between one training session and another, but it is essential for optimum performance.
According to Dr. Ignacio Llorente, a specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition at Hospiten, athletes have been aware of food for a relatively short time despite it being a part of their training. “There is more emphasis on physical programming than on programming eating and hydration. They have to be aware that their eating habits must also be trained. An adequate diet improves results a lot, avoids fatigue and, above all, injuries”, says the doctor.
One of the most common problems in long-distance events is that injuries happen, not because of the pace over the course of the race, but because of the diet before, during and after the race. At the end of the competition there is a period of about half an hour when it is very important for the runner to consume a large amount of carbohydrates and proteins for good muscle recovery and avoid the likelihood of muscle damage.
The diet for an athlete should be a roadmap to be followed throughout the training program. It must be a healthy, varied, balanced diet that includes all the components of what good nutrition is. It is important to include carbohydrates, starches of intermediate and slow rates of absorption, fruit and vegetables, as well as animal and vegetable proteins. In this case, legumes, or pulses, play an essential role.
Dr. Llorente stresses that “just as an athlete draws up a plan for the race, the same must be done with food during exercise. In the days before the event, it is important to prepare the body for the physical effort to which it is going to be subjected”.
The first thing is to increase the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, which are what will provide more energy in the first kilometers. A start to a race that must be trained on a deficit to take advantage of body fat as a source of energy for good performance during the race. And then train what to eat at each stop and in what order.
The importance of good hydration
It is essential for a runner to be clear about the profile of the race (route, variations in altitude, when to make stops…). In summary, draw up a plan adapted to the route so that you are hydrated at all times and do not run out of carbohydrate reserves.
Hydration is essential in a long-distance race. The key to optimum performance is to set off well hydrated and drink continuously during the race.
The refreshment stations are a support for the runner, but runners must also carry liquid on them to be able to top up on hydration during the race.
An athlete becoming dehydrated will determine whether or not they have a very significant decrease in athletic performance during a race. In addition, in the case of practicing an endurance sport, it is important to add a vitamin or mineral supplement and more so when training for a high performance competition.
About the Hospiten Group
The Hospiten Group is an international health network committed to providing the highest quality service, with 50 years of experience, which has twenty private medical-hospital centers in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica and Panama. The Group is chaired by Dr. Pedro Luis Cobiella and attends more than 1,900,000 patients from all over the world annually and employs more than 5,000 people.