Scientifically-Based Nutritional Strategy for Better Results

Scientifically-Based Nutritional Strategy for Better Results

If you follow a scientific nutritional strategy, this can reduce your marathon result for almost 11 minutes.

marathon-finish-line_Nutritional Strategy
Runners following a scientifically-based nutritional strategy crossed the finish line on average 10:55 minutes faster than racers who freely chose their nutritional strategy.

Sport scientists from Denmark suggest that scientifically calculating your race-day nutritional and hydration requirements could cut a very valuable 10 minutes and 55 seconds from your marathon time.

Their research in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism describes the performance gains of adopting a scientifically-based rather than a freely chosen nutritional strategy. The research examined non-elite runners in the build up to the Copenhagen Marathon. Each runner was paired with another of a similar fitness and ability, which was based on their results in a 10km time trial before the race.

One person in the pair was free to choose their own race refueling requirements, while the other adopted a scientifically-based nutritional strategy – they had to consume 0.75- liter of water and gels delivering 60g maltodextrin and glucose, 0.06g sodium and 0.09g caffeine per hour.

The findings were stunning: the average marathon times of the free-choice fueling group were 3:49:26 (± 0:25:05), while the group with scientifically-based nutrition strategy averaged 3:38:31 (± 0:24:54).

In other words, non-elite runners crossed the finish line on average 10:55 minutes/4.7% faster by following a scientific rather than a freely chosen nutritional strategy.

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Written by Sean Lewis

Sean Lewis has been a keen runner since early years and took part in several 5k, 10k, half-marathons and marathons. He met his wife six years ago during a 10k race and they still like to go for a good run together.


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