Photo Credit: Runstreet.com
A Dietitian-Approved Series for Distance AthletesNutrition Basics: Energy & Hydration
Authors: Katie Knight, Nutritional Sciences Master's Student at Texas Tech University (TTU) & Marleigh Hefner, Registered & Licensed Dietitian & Nutritional Sciences PhD Student at TTU
Introduction & Welcome
Welcome to the MileSplit Texas health and nutrition blog series, which will be running from August to November 2022 in honor of cross-country season. In this series, we will be discussing important food, nutrition, and nutrition-related topics for high-school runners, coaches, parents, and administrators. The series will be divided into 8 posts to provide educational but applicable information for distance runners' nutrient needs. In general, the articles will address recommendations for pre- and post-workout nutrition, a modified MyPlate for distance athletes, easy and appropriate recipes for runners, and a special topics post covering runners with diabetes, disordered eating, and addressing nutrition misinformation. The following blog post will act as an introduction, including nutrition basics with energy and hydration guidelines.
Optimal Athletic Nutrition
Many athletes and coaches know that nutrition and overall health are essential to optimizing strength, endurance, and athletic performance. In addition to supporting strength and performance, proper nutrition provides energy, supports the immune and digestive systems, prevents nutritional deficiencies, aids in efficient recovery, helps prevent injuries, and promotes athletic longevity. Optimal athletic performance requires a diet containing the correct ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, in addition to proper hydration and adequate vitamins and mineral intake. Endurance athletes have vastly different and specialized nutritional needs than the sedentary general population, and even power athletes, such as sprinters (1).