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Diet Article West Australianback to my publications list

This article appeared in the West Australian newspaper, Mind & Body lift out on May 18 2010.

Running Hydration

Good nutrition and hydration is vitally important when preparing for the 13.5 km Run for a Reason. What you eat and drink in the days preceding and during the event will no doubt affect your performance and influence your experience.

Carbohydrate loading, in which the body’s carbohydrate stores are boosted through specific diet and exercise changes in the days leading into the event, is only useful for activities lasting 90 minutes or longer. The Run for a Reason may take anywhere from 50 minutes for the highly competitive to 90 minutes for a jog/walk effort, so it is not appropriate for this event. That does not mean that carbohydrate is not important. A modified carbohydrate load can be utilised, meaning your meals the night before and the morning of the event should be carbohydrate based, and low in fat, to maximise fuel stores. Carbohydrate foods include pasta, rice, potatoes, breads and cereals. The food should also be something that you enjoy eating and your stomach is familiar with. If you get pre-race nerves, a liquid alternative may be helpful for breakfast like a fruit smoothie. This will also help with hydration before the event.

When walking, the body uses a combination of fuel stores for energy, and your carbohydrate (glycogen) and fat stores will not get depleted. Even if you run the 13.5km event your energy stores, when optimal will not be fully depleted. However, low carbohydrate stores can still affect performance, so consuming carbohydrates during this event in the form of a sports drink or a carbohydrate energy bar will be beneficial to improve performance. The body may benefit from a maximum intake of 1g of carbohydrate per kg body weight per hour of activity. So for a 70kg runner that’s 70g of carbohydrate if the event takes an hour. Smaller amounts of carbohydrates can still be beneficial. Ensure that the carbohydrates taken during the event are easy to consume and easy to digest.

Here are some example carbohydrate foods that can be taken during the event and their approximate carbohydrate content.


Carbohydrate Amount

600mls of sports drink


Piece of fruit


60g pack of jelly lollies


Sports gel



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