An Assessment of Carbohydrate Intake in Collegiate Distance Runners

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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To determine the extent to which well-trained endurance athletes practice the dietary recommendations for maximizing muscle glycogen resynthesis, collegiate cross-country runners (14 males and 10 females) kept 4-day dietary and activity records during a training period and a competitive period in the regular cross-country season. The mean running mileages for men and women were 16.0 ± 1.0 and 10.7 ± 0.6 km/day during the training period and 14.6 ± 0.8 and 8.7 ± 0.5 km/day during the competitive period, respectively. Males reported adequate energy intake in both phases, whereas females fell short of the RDA. However, the percentage of calories from carbohydrate was found to be inadequate (< 60%) for male runners. Although female runners derived 65-67% of calories from carbohydrate, the daily amount of carbohydrate taken was insufficient (< 10 g/kg body weight). Carbohydrate was ingested immediately postexercise approximately 50% of the time or less, with even far less taken in suggested quantities (−1 g carbohydrate/kg body weight). There were no significant differences in dietary trends between training and competitive phases. The results suggest that these endurance athletes were not practicing the recommended feeding regimen for optimal muscle glycogen restoration.

J.A. Tanaka and W. Landis are with the Department of Home Economics, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306. H. Tanaka is with the Exercise Science Unit, University of Tennessee–Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996-2700. Direct correspondence to H. Tanaka.

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