Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab
Page numbers: 347-351
doi (if applicable):
Article type: Case study
A 25-year-old woman (height, 156.5 cm; body mass, 48 kg) who had completed triathlons and half-marathons trained 3 months for the endurance race, North Face 100. The number of running sessions increased from 3-4 to 7-10/week, and the duration increased to 2 runs > 4 hours each week in the final month. The runner lost 3.7 kg (skinfold decrease, 80 to 58.3 mm) during the training months. Daily food and fluid intake was changed in the final 2 months to be more “healthy” as reported by the runner. A 3 L-capacity camel pack was carried for the race. A support team provided information on “fueling” for performance before the race and at the last 3 checkpoints of the race—checkpoints 3 to 5. There was also a dietitian present at checkpoints 3 to 5 to record all foods and fluids consumed; total energy, carbohydrate (CHO), fat, protein, fiber, and sodium were estimated from records.
A CHO-rich meal was consumed the night before the race. Prerace breakfast was CHO-based (rice porridge) with coffee and a sports drink consumed 2 hours before the race. There was a cola drink at 30 minutes prerace. Fluid and food targets during the race included 40 g/hour CHO, 500 to 1,000 mg/hour sodium, and regular fluid intake. Overall, food and fluid provided 10,890 kJ; 558 g CHO; 6,150 mL fluid; and 7,403 mg sodium. Total fluid intake was provided by Gatorade Endurance (63%), cola (14%), and broth (20%). Together, the fluids provided 50% of CHO and 78% of sodium total intake. Overall, CHO intake was 34 g/hour in the first half of the race and 53 g/hour in the second half. Sodium intake was adequate at 52 mmol/L. Sweet snacks were consumed early in the race, with savory/salty snacks consumed in the later portions of the race (possibly because of the woman’s perception that sodium would relieve muscle cramps experienced early in the race). Muscle pain and cramping were also evident towards the race end, but fatigue was not a factor. The race was finished in 12 hours, 48 minutes, and 55 seconds.
In contrast to shorter endurance events, food and fluids were equally important for providing CHO in this ultraendurance race. Athletes participating in ultraendurance events should familiarize themselves with available food and fluid choices on race day and develop a compatible nutritional strategy to integrate into their daily training. Planning of race-day provisions is also important, but flexibility is necessary to allow for changes according to the athlete’s tolerance, environmental conditions, and opportunities for food and fluid intake on race day.