Basics of nutrition: energy and hydration

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Authors: Katie KnightMasters Student in Nutrition Science at Texas Tech University (TTU) & Marleigh HefnerRegistered Dietitian and PhD student in Nutrition Sciences at TTU

Presentation & Welcome

Welcome to the MileSplit Texas health and nutrition blog series, which will run from August to November 2022 in honor of the cross country season. In this series, we’ll cover important food, nutrition, and nutrition topics for runners, coaches, parents, and high school administrators. The series will be divided into 8 articles to provide educational yet applicable information on the nutritional needs of distance runners. In general, the articles will cover recommendations for pre- and post-workout nutrition, a modified MyPlate for distance athletes, easy and appropriate recipes for runners, and a special topics article covering runners with diabetes, eating disorders and nutrition misinformation. The following blog post will serve as an introduction, including the basics of nutrition with energy and hydration guidelines.

Optimal sports nutrition

Many athletes and coaches know that nutrition and overall health are key to optimizing strength, endurance and athletic performance. In addition to supporting strength and performance, good nutrition provides energy, supports the immune and digestive systems, prevents nutrient deficiencies, aids in effective recovery, helps prevent injury and promotes athletic longevity. Optimal sports performance requires a diet containing the right ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, in addition to good hydration and an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Endurance athletes have very different and specialized nutritional needs than the general sedentary population, and even power athletes, such as sprinters (1).

Aerobic and anaerobic energy systems