Optimising your fuelling strategy is essential for peak performance during any fitness event. With events such as The Hoka Half, Hoka 10KM and Coogee Run Swim Run just around the corner – many members who are partaking are coming near the end of their training (or maybe just beginning…). No matter what effort you’ve put in this far, did you know that what you eat from now until the event can impact your performance on the day?

Read on for some top tips that you can incorporate into the rest of your training and peak your performance on the day!


Fuelling before a fitness event


Fuelling days before the fitness event


Start increasing your carbohydrate intake 3 days before. Glycogen is stored in the liver and skeletal muscles. We utilise ‘carb loading’ to make sure that come race day, these stores are at full capacity. When these stores are full, this contains enough glycogen for 90-120 minutes of intense activity. 5-8g/kg of bodyweight is recommended.


Fuelling the morning of the fitness event


Before your runs or swims- you want to make sure that you are fuelling appropriately. 2-4 hours beforehand, you should aim to include some ‘slow-releasing carbs’ into your diet. Think porridge, pasta or rice. To maximise your efforts, look to top up your energy stores 30-60 minutes prior to your activity with ‘fast-releasing carbs’ such as a banana, jam + toast, energy bar or dried fruit.

This is also a good time for caffeine. Make sure this is something you have tried before – it is NOT the time to try new meals which is why I suggest adding it into your training in the next 3 weeks prior to events.


Hydration before a fitness event


As an active person it is important that you are drinking enough at least 2-3L of water EACH day. Not only do you lose plenty of water when you exercise, you also lose essential salts through sweat. Before or after long runs especially on those hot Sydney days – an electrolyte tablet or drink is recommended to account for salts lost during the run.



Fuelling and hydration during a fitness event




Even though you’ve eaten your high carb meals and topped up the glycogen stores prior to your run, depending on how much activity you will be doing it may not be enough! If you are partaking in an activity over 70 minutes, taking on board additional carbs in the form of gels or sweets is recommended.

Despite having enough glycogen for 90-120 minutes we don’t want to run low so topping up with around 30g of carbs every hour is essential for a strong performance.




When running distances- drinking water is essential throughout. The exact amount is individual dependent but generally is between 400-800ml/ hour. Little and often is recommended to prevent bloating and stitches. An electrolyte may be beneficial especially on hotter days. And again, the more practice you do beforehand, the more your body can adapt on race day.

If you’re starting to run low on energy or feeling thirsty then you’ve left it too late!!



Fuelling after a fitness event


Relax rest and recover – you are done! Try to take protein within 30 minutes of finishing your run. Chocolate milk, a yoghurt or protein bar are great options which also contain carbs. Look to follow this with high protein meals to maximise recovery. Carbohydrates are again important to replenish the depleted energy stores. If you’re not eating a meal for a few hours, jellies, a banana or rice cakes are beneficial within 30 minutes of finishing so you can swiftly recover for your next race or practice.



In Summary


Focusing on good day to day nutrition from here on out will influence your training and performance on the day. Aim for three balanced meals a day consisting of carbs, proteins and vegetables. Also consider eating more fresh food and less processed foods. Think of eating for fuel such as putting fuel in your car. Put more fuel into the tank and eat more as your activity goes up so you can push on. Again, you don’t want to eat any new foods on race day so use your current training to practice your nutritional strategy on the day – there is no one size fits all!


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