Energy and macronutrient intake during 28 days continuous ultra-running covering 1261.7 km

Howe, Christopher C.F., Busby, Olivia C., Spice, Christopher and Moir, Hannah J. (2014) Energy and macronutrient intake during 28 days continuous ultra-running covering 1261.7 km. In: American College of Sports Medicine 61st Annual Meeting; 27 - 31 May 2014, Orlando, Florida, U.S..


To date there is very little data on the nutritional requirements for multi-day ultra-endurance running (MDUER). It has previously been reported that during 78 consecutive days of MDUER, total daily energy and macronutrient intakes met consensus guidelines for ultra-endurance exercise and were sufficient to avoid substantial reductions in body mass (BM) when nutrition support was provided (Dempster et al., 2013. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab). Purpose: To investigate the nutritional intake and changes in body composition of a well-trained male ultra-endurance runner completing a MDUER challenge covering 45.06km·day-1 for 28 consecutive days (total distance 1261.7km) in order to assess whether current guidelines were able to be met. Method: Dietary intake before, during and after running were recorded daily and analysed through nutritional analysis software. BM and percentage body fat (%BF) were measured pre and post-event via air displacement plesthymography. Morning, pre-run, post-run and pre-sleep BM were measured using portable electronic scales throughout the event. Results: Total daily mean energy intake (EI) of the 28 days was 16.6±3.1MJ·d-1 and macronutrient intake was 551±105g·d-1 (6.83±1.36g·kg-1·d-1) carbohydrate (CHO) and 144±45g·d-1 (1.79±0.56 g·kg-1·d-1) protein (PRO). Mean CHO and PRO intakes during running were 109±37g·h-1 and 27±14g·h-1 respectively. Within one hour post-running CHO and PRO intakes were 5.1±3.8g·kgBM-1 and 1.4±0.8g·kgBM-1 respectively. Exercise-induced BM loss was 2.1±0.89kg (P<0.001) which equated to a percentage loss of 2.6±1.1%. Throughout the 28 days total pre to post-challenge BM loss was and %BF decreased from 21.4% pre-challenge to 17.7% post-challenge. Conclusion: Total daily EI was not sufficient to maintain BM over the 28 days and was below previously reported values for MDUER (23±3.2MJ·day-1). CHO intake during running was greater than current guidelines (60-90g·h-1) for ultra-endurance events; however total daily CHO intake was below consensus guidelines (8-12g-kg-1·d-1) for extreme exercise commitment. Total daily protein intake was greater than recommended for ultra-endurance athletes (≥1.2-1.4g·kg-1·d-1). This highlights the potential need for planned nutritional strategies and guidance for individuals participating in MDUER.

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