When runners experience fatigue, the usual culprit is a lack of carbohydrates. Many believe that eating carbohydrates will make you gain fat mass, but the real problem is not burning off the calories that you consume. This means that runners need more carbohydrates in their diet to provide enough energy. Low carb diets and endurance exercise are not a good pair, as carbohydrates are what your body prefers to turn into energy. If you lack carbs, your body will start to convert protein and fat into energy, which is an insufficient form of energy for a runner.
Not all carbs are created equal. The more processed a carbohydrate is, the less nutrients it contains. This is why you should choose your carbs carefully. Processed and packaged sweets have empty calories, compared to whole grains. A nutritional carbohydrate diet consists of complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat forms of dairy. You’ll not only get your needed carbs from these foods, but other nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, and fiber.
You can find simple carbs from table sugar, dextrose, and maple syrup. These are great in moderate amounts for a quick boost of energy, in fact these ingredients are often found in certain energy gels for athletes. Slowly increase your consumption of carbohydrates over the course of a few days before your race.
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