Long Endurance Training: 4 Steps to Nutrition Success

Long endurance training sessions that last at least three hours take more than mental grit to get through. You need the proper nutrition; and without it, you'll lack the strength and alertness needed to finish.

The trick is to nourish your body for what's to come rather than try to play catch-up and replenish what you've already lost.

It's not enough to eat a plate of pasta and salad before a long workout. You need to consume the right amount of nutrients hourly to keep your body working at full capacity the whole time.

Use this recipe to prepare for your next long training workout. With easy-to-follow directions for drinking and eating, fueling will be the least of your worries.

More: Powerhouse Pre-Training Smoothie

What You Need

  • 18 to 24 ounces of fluid per hour
  • 75 to 90 grams of carbs per hour, preferably a majority from glucose or maltodextrin, and minimal from fructose
  • 400 to 700 milligrams of sodium per hour
  • 100 to 300 milligrams of potassium per hour
  • 1.5 to 3 grams of each: l-glutamine and BCAAs (optional bonus)

What about protein? Whole proteins are a potential source of stomach issues among athletes. Branched-chain amino acids provide benefits of protein without the risk of digestion troubles. If you're an athlete who can eat proteins without issue, choose a drink with proteins added or get it from your food.

More: 9 Portable Protein Snacks for Endurance Athletes


1. Choose Your Drink

Find a drink you like—one you can drink hour after hour without causing stomach pain or cottonmouth.

Whatever drink you choose, it must be a good source of carbohydrates to make a dent in your hourly needs. That means choosing a drink that will fulfill your body's need for 90 grams of carbs per hour.

If your drink only provides 30 or so grams, you'll have 50-plus grams of carbs to intake every hour from other foods.

The Details

  • Minimally concentrated drink brands include Osmo Nutrition drinks, Skratchlabs and Gatorade.
  • Higher-concentrated drinks provide more carbohydrates. If you can stomach them, try Carborocket Half Evil 333, Tailwind and Infinite Nutrition GoFar.

More: DIY Sports Drinks

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