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Fuelling sport's two different engines
Around the Academy:

The differing diets of a sprinter and marathon runner
An endurance athlete and a sprinter are two incredibly different sporting animals.

Their nutritional requirements for a big race and recovery are explained by EIS Sports Dietician Karen Reid.


Loading up on fuel before any event is vital for success.

And this will cover everything from carbohydrates, to fat, protein and fluids.

CARBOHYDRATES
This is the body's most important source of fuel and endurance runners need lots of them.

Two to three days before a race they'll eat pasta, rice, potatoes, noodles, bread, cereals, to build up their reserves.

Sprinters need some carbs, but won't overload because they won't feel the benefit running over a short distance.


PROTEIN
All athletes need this to help maintain and develop muscles more than your average person on the street.

Many think sprinters need more protein because they have larger muscle mass.

But it's the endurance athletes that suffer most muscle damage and protein helps this.

So both need protein. It can be found in eggs, fish, meat, poultry, nuts, peas and lentils.

However they'll avoid fat-heavy proteins like burgers, sausages and bacon because they need to stay lean and trim.


FAT
Both sets of athletes will need to stay lean and not take in too many fat calories.

The last day before the race, both will eat more lightweight, compact, low-fat snacks for energy.

Carbohydrate snacks like dried fruit, bananas, pancakes, malt loaf, fig rolls are perfect. Jellied sweets and sports drinks are ideal for final race build-up.


FLUIDS
Evervybody needs to get water on board
It's important to preload on liquid with as much as 500ml to 1litre up to an hour before running.

Dehydration causes performances to dip. Water is lost through sweat and this comes from the blood and will cause stress on the heart.

Sprinters need to make sure they don't drink too much water to avoid weighing more before a big race.

But they'll need to rehydrate between heats.

Athletes should replace their weight loss - caused by sweating - after a race with the equivalent weight in fluid.

When you sweat you lose salt as well as water - this can lead to cramp - so water and a salty snack or sports drink will help.

It depends on the size of athlete and intensity of work, but you'd normally lose 0.5 to 1 litre. In a hot place like Athens it would be 1-2 litres.


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Who is Karen Reid?
Works with athletes assessing their nutritional requirements based on the demands of their sport and general lifestyle, setting goals for carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitimins and minerals intake




FROM THE BBC >>
:: BBC Nutrition
:: BBC Sport's athletics index

INTERNET LINKS >>
:: performancefood
:: EIS
:: EIS - What is sports nutrition?
:: UK Athletics

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