Essential Summer Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Endurance Athletes

Summertime often signals the beginning of training for fall endurance races, such as running and cycling.

Endurance training during the summer requires many hours spent outdoors in the sun and heat, so a concern athletes should know about training in these conditions is the amount of electrolytes (e.g. sodium) and fluid lost through their sweat, as well as how much energy they’re using while they’re on the trails or roads. All athletes need to replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost, and athletes who are training for more than 90 minutes need to replenish carbohydrates (a key energy source) to delay fatigue or that dreaded “bonking” feeling.

Fortunately, nutrition and hydration products have made it easier to replenish energy and electrolytes during exercise through a wide variety of research-supported nutrition supplements. It is recommended that athletes consume 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour of moderate-to-intense exercise that lasts over 90 minutes. It is also recommended to include a fluid that contains electrolytes (e.g. namely, sodium) for those hot/humid, prolonged, or very intense workouts. The use of these supplements may be a tool to bring training to the next level and keep the body healthy during the training season.  It is always recommended to experiment different nutrition strategies during training sessions to find the most appropriate one for the athlete’s needs so that they go into their race with a clear plan of what and when they’ll be consuming fuel or drinking something.

Here is a look at some common hydration/fuel options available today:

 

Drinks

Gatorade

(16 fl oz)

The Right Stuff

(0.7 fl oz/1 packet)

Makes 16oz prepared drink

Nuun tabs

(1 tab)

Makes 16oz prepared drink

Gu Brew Drink Mix

(19 g/1 packet)

Makes 16oz prepared drink

Calories 106 0 10 73
Carbohydrates 29g 0g 4g 18g
-Sugar 28g 0g 1g 9g
Sodium 213mg 1780mg 360mg 250mg
Potassium 60mg 0mg 100mg 30mg

 

 

Gels

Hammer Gel

(1 gel pack)

PowerGel

(1 gel pack)

Clif Shot Gel

(1 gel pack)

GU Energy Gel

(1 gel pack)

Calories 90 110 100 100
Carbohydrates 22g 27g 24g 23g
-Sugar 2g 10g 12g 6g
Sodium 20mg 200mg 60mg 55mg
Potassium 35mg 20mg 55mg 35mg

 

 

Solids

Cliff Shot Blocks

(3 pcs.)

Sport Beans

(1 pack)

Raisins

(1/4 cup)

Honey Stinger Energy Chews

(1 packet)

Calories 100 100 130 160
Carbohydrates 24g 25g 31g 39g
             -Sugar 12g 19g 29g 27g
Sodium 50mg 80mg 10mg 80mg
Potassium 20mg 40mg 310mg 40mg

Written by: Nicole Severson, Junior Dietetics Student at South Dakota State University