Coaching Ultra Distance and Stage Race Runners:
A Comprehensive Guide
Ultra distance running and stage races are becoming increasingly popular as runners look for new challenges and ways to push their limits. As a coach, it is important to have a solid understanding of the physical and mental demands of these events, as well as the nutrition and fuelling strategies that can make or break an athlete's performance. In this article, i will cover the key elements of coaching ultra distance and stage race runners, with a focus on nutrition and fuelling.
Understanding the Demands
Ultra distance running and stage races require a different approach to coaching than shorter distance events. Athletes need to be able to sustain their energy and focus over long periods of time, often in challenging terrain and weather conditions. They need to be mentally strong and able to push through physical discomfort and fatigue.
As a coach, it is important to build a training plan that gradually increases the athlete's mileage overload and time on their feet, while also incorporating specific workouts that simulate the demands of the event. This may include power walks ,hill repeats, long runs, back-to-back runs, and other workouts that challenge the athlete's endurance, strength, and mental toughness.
Nutrition and Fuelling Strategies
Nutrition and fuelling are critical elements of coaching ultra distance and stage race runners. Athletes need to fuel their bodies with the right nutrients to maintain energy levels, prevent cramping and other digestive issues, and avoid bonking or hitting the wall.
Here are some key strategies to keep in mind:
1. Hydration is Key
Dehydration can cause a range of issues for runners, from cramping to overheating and even heat stroke. As a coach, it is important to ensure that athletes are hydrating properly before, during, and after their runs. This may involve encouraging them to drink water, electrolyte drinks, or other fluids that help them maintain hydration levels.
2. Carbohydrates are Critical
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for endurance athletes. As such, it is important to ensure that your athletes are consuming enough carbs to maintain their energy levels. This may involve incorporating carb-rich foods into their meals and snacks, such as pasta, rice, bread, and fruit, however a great energy drink designed for such events would be an asset to your race day fuelling ( NEW has a Performance energy drink designed specifically this in mind )
3. Protein is Important, too
While carbs are critical, protein is also important for feeding ,maintaining muscle mass and repairing damaged tissues. As a coach, it is important to ensure that your athletes are consuming enough protein to support their training and recovery. This may involve incorporating protein-rich foods into their meals and snacks, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts, or using a top class Protien which could be found at www.johnsnewlifestyle.com.
4. Timing is Everything
Timing is critical when it comes to nutrition and fuelling. Athletes need to ensure that they are consuming the right foods and fluids at the right time to maintain energy levels and avoid digestive issues. As a coach, it is important to work with your athletes to develop a nutrition and fuelling plan that takes into account the timing of their workouts, races, and other events.
5. Experiment and Adapt
Nutrition and fuelling strategies can vary greatly from one athlete to another. As a coach, it is important to encourage your athletes to experiment with different foods and fluids during their training, and to adapt their strategies based on what works best for them. This may involve incorporating different types of foods or fluids, adjusting the timing of their meals and snacks, or experimenting with different amounts of carbs, protein, and other nutrients.
In conclusion, coaching ultra distance and stage race runners requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the physical and mental demands of these events, as well as the nutrition and fuelling strategies that can make or break an athlete's performance. By building a solid training plan and working with your athletes to develop a nutrition and fuelling strategy that works for them, you can help them
A final note , remember getting your body composition ideal and “perfecting“ your day to day energy system is critical , this would make your performance nutrition ( ie race day etc) smart .