Nutrition and Performance – What Percentage?
Think back to the magazine and newspaper covers with Meb’s arms stretched high as he crossed the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon. What percentage of energy in the form of carbohydrates do you think an elite marathoner, like Meb, uses during a marathon? Would you guess 20%, 60%, 75%, maybe as much as 90%?
An elite marathoner uses about 85% of their energy in the form of carbohydrates during a marathon. When the elite runner makes a competitive surge the percentage increases to 100% of energy coming from carbohydrates. That’s a lot of carbohydrate-fueled perseverance!
How much carbohydrate do you think the body can store, as glycogen, to fuel an elite runner’s marathon?
Thinking in terms of distance, there is enough carbohydrate to fuel about 20 miles. This is assuming the elite runner ate a “carbo-loaded” diet leading up to the event. There are plenty of terms used to describe the dreaded 20 mile – rut, hole, pit, bonk, die, wall, crash, burn – point in the race that many runners face during a marathon. It’s not pleasant! This sheds light on the importance of carbohydrates for those fueling long events.
Carbohydrates support performance both leading up to…
and during long events, such as the marathon.
Fuel Smart, Race Hard.