The importance of carbohydrates

A runner must consider the inevitable differences between sedentary and sports nutrition.

He must also keep in mind the distances over which he trains and competes.

Then there’s the type of training he performs and the developed load model.

The use of carbohydrates is fundamental for long-distance runners, together with all the other elements. The keyword is always the same: balance (and not deprivation).

Studies have clearly shown the importance of glycogen in maintaining high levels of intensity during an exercise session that lasts for more than an hour.

A low-carbohydrate diet quickly depletes liver and muscle glycogen. As a consequence, this affects both the performance in short-term (anaerobic) exercising and in extended (aerobic) high-intensity endurance exercising. Therefore, relying on fasting or eating a low-carb diet with a high fat or protein content is counterproductive for weight control, physical performance, optimal nutrition and good health.

Relying on a low-carbohydrate diet makes it extremely difficult (from an energy support standpoint) to undertake vigorous physical activity or training.

Moreover, training or competing with low glycogen reserves increases the chances of injuries, due to the important role that carbohydrates play in maintaining the central nervous system function and neuromuscular coordination.

To get the most out of your body, you always find an optimal balance of: training, nutrition and rest, together with motivation.

Massimo Santucci and Dr. Augusto Innocenti

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