The load of carbohydrates. From a classic to a moderate and practical protocol
- Mixed diet with 50% carbohydrate intake;
- • Diet "poor" (but not devoid!) of carbohydrates (25%) for 3 days, followed by 3 days of diet rich in carbohydrates (70%), similar to the previous approach;
- • Mixed diet for 3 days (50% carbohydrate) followed by 3 days of moderate carbohydrate intake (70%).
Carbo load in practice: how to feed yourself in the 3 days before a long race
- Carbohydrates: 5-7 g carbohydrates/kg/day to be divided into each meal and snack (women may also take a smaller amount if they are already used to a low-carbohydrate diet)
- Protein: maintain a protein intake of no less than 0.3 g/kg per meal
- Attention to fibres: reduce the intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains until it is eliminated
- Avoid fasting: consume snacks to avoid going without for food for long periods of time
- Hydration: hydrate, considering that each g of carbohydrates binds 3 g of water (see boiled rise/pasta)
- Cocoa: to stop the training of the days before the race and keep the muscles oxygenated
Reducing fatigue: energy but also hydration during the race
How much worse is the performance when the hydration decreases
Sweating counts, that's why
Strategies to lower heat and stay hydrated
- Wearing cold clothing and using splashes of water is one way to cool the moving body. Wearing fresh clothing such as bottles of cold water at the top of the neck helps regulate body temperature. Another method suggested by the studies is to cool the body from the inside using cold drinks, obviously in small doses and with care. Some experiments, in fact, propose the consumption of fluids in the form of granita before and during exercise.
- Don't wait for thirst: hydrated parts and take water and mineral salts in small doses every 15 minutes during exercise. Thirst depends on many factors: dry mouth, psychological factors, information that reaches the hypothalamus from osmoceptors, speeders and baroreceptors. During physical activity, thirst is often not a reliable indicator of the body's real need for water. Moreover, thirst is qualitatively unspecific: it does not say what to drink.
- The mixture that hydrates and empties the stomach: if you sweat very little (race with low temperature and low humidity), sometimes just drink water. If sweat soaks the shirt and the race lasts more than an hour, there must be minerals in the drink: sodium, chlorine, potassium and magnesium. There may be water poisoning (hyponatraemia), sometimes fatal, for the use of sodium-free drinks in long races with adverse microclimate. For this reason, potassium and magnesium supplements should be used in the post-workout period and during the duration of the exercise, mixtures containing mainly sodium and chlorine should be preferred (even if they contain potassium and magnesium in addition).
- Allied with betaine: this substance is mainly contained in sugar beet and spinach. In endurance sports, betaine has a particular benefit: it defends the intracellular volume by protecting the enzymes of the citric acid cycle from the progressive loss of creatine molecules. In simple terms, it proves to be beneficial for reducing dehydration and hyperthermia in the case of prolonged training sessions and/or conducted in a hot, humid environment with poor ventilation. To enjoy the benefit you need 1.25 g of betaine. Hydration seems to be greater when mixed with mineral salts.
- Menthol, a fresh support. Menthol can alleviate the discomfort associated with shortness of breath or wheezing typical of physical exertion in a hot and/or humid environment. Athletes who have tested it also report better feelings of thermal comfort and / or decreased thermal sensation. The evaluations of the perceived effort after taking menthol were also lower. The use of menthol orally was more successful in endurance sports lasting 20-70 minutes, postponing the onset of fatigue and lengthening the time of exhaustion.