Carbohydrate requirements for a distance runner

by Jackie B.

I am an occupational health nurse trying to find some information for one of our plant employees.


The employee is a 47 year old male. He has lost approximately 18 lbs. in the past 3 months through healthy eating (Weight Watchers) and running.

He is training for a half-marathon in January 2009. He feels like he may not be getting enough carbohydrates. He feels a real lack of energy about half way through his training runs, which vary from 4 to 10 miles at this point.

I've given him some information on carbohydrates in general, such as type of food, available carbs/serving, glycemic index, etc.

Can you help in providing any other information about the nutritional needs of an active adult male, especially one who is training for distance running? What resources can he check out on his own?

Thanks for a great website! We currently have a weight loss challenge in place for our employees. I may have more questions for you later.

Sincerely,
Jackie B. RN




Jackie,

Thanks for writing. Kudos to your employee for his success and kudos to YOU for helping him with continued success as well as your entire staff's by implementing a weight loss challenge.

Your employee's lack of energy during a run can certainly be the result of not eating enough carbohydrates on a consistent basis. The recommended range for training is 4-7 grams of carbohydrate per kg body weight per day (and 7-10 grams carb/kg if training 2-3 hours per day).

I'd also suggest he try carrying some sports gel to "eat" during the run if he feels those lows. They are a source of easy to digest carbs that provided very fast energy.

I highly recommend Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
and Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners
as great resources.

I'd be happy to assist this employee (or any other interested) by providing a personalized nutrition counseling session via phone. I can calculate more exact nutrient requirements, and make personalzied recommendations based on food preferences that way!

Best,
Suzette

P.S. Let me know if I can be of any assistance with the weight loss challenge. My weight loss toolbox and the food journal I wrote may be of use.

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