general population. 2 , 3 Physical exercise has proven beneficial for the improvement of health status and physical fitness in these patients. 3 However, concerns remain about the safety of strenuous physical exercise. Ultraendurance running, possibly one of the most demanding types of sport, has gained
Sonsoles Hernández-Sánchez, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Javier S. Morales, Juan J. Carrero, Alejandro Lucia and Jonatan R. Ruiz
Claire Blennerhassett, Lars R. McNaughton, Lorcan Cronin and S. Andy Sparks
There has been a substantial increase in the number of recreational athletes participating in ultraendurance races ( Knechtle et al., 2010 ), evidenced by an exponential increase in the number of participants in ultratriathlons ( Lenher et al., 2012 ) and 12-hr ultramarathon running events
Richard B. Kreider
The physiological effects of endurance exercise have been a primary area of research in exercise science for many years. This research has led not only to a greater understanding of human physiology but also the limits of human performance. This is especially true regarding the effects of endurance exercise on energy metabolism and nutrition. However, as science has attempted to understand the physiological and nutritional demands of endurance exercise lasting 1 to 3 hours, an increasing number of athletes have begun participating in ultraendurance events lasting 4 to 24 hours. Consequently some research groups are now investigating the physiological responses to ultraendurance training and performance. This paper reviews the literature on ultraendurance performance and discusses nutritional factors that may affect bioenergetic, thermoregulatory, endocrinological, and hematological responses to ultraendurance performance.
Elizabeth A. Applegate
The nutritional considerations of the ultraendurance athlete center around proper caloric and nutrient intake during training as well as adequate energy and fluid replacement during competition to maintain optimal performance. Energy needs of ultraendurance athletes during training vary widely, depending upon duration, intensity, and type of exercise training. These athletes may train several hours daily, thus risking inadequate caloric intake that can lead to chronic fatigue, weight loss, and impaired physical performance. It is not known whether protein needs are increased in ultraendurance athletes as a result of extended exercise training. Additionally, micronutrient needs may be altered for these athletes while dietary intake is generally over the RDA because of high caloric intake. Prior to competition, ultraendurance athletes should consider glycogen supercompensation and a prerace meal eaten 4 hrs before as a means of improving performance. Carbohydrate feedings during prolonged exercise can significantly affect performance. During events lasting over several hours, sodium sweat losses and/or the consumption of sodium-free fluids may precipitate hyponatremia.
Martin D. Hoffman
Participation in ultraendurance sports has been increasing in recent years. This participation growth has been associated with an increase in research focused on such events. While the total amount of research related to these sports remains relatively small compared with other sports, the research growth is encouraging. New sources for research funding for ultraendurance sports should advance the science. In addition to continued opportunities with observational studies, promising areas of investigation remain for experimental studies and research that uses ultraendurance-sport environments as models for studies relevant to wider populations. Insight into the breadth of research opportunities in ultraendurance sports can be gained by reviewing the abstracts published online in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from the annual Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference that took place this year in Chamonix, France.
Barbara D. Eden and Peter J. Abernethy
The food and fluid intake of a male ultraendurance runner was recorded throughout a 1,005-km race completed over 9 days. The nutrient analysis showed an average daily energy intake of 25,000 kJ with 62% from carbohydrate, 27% from fat, and 11% from protein. Carbohydrate intake was estimated to be 16.8 g ·
Alice K. Lindeman
Meeting the energy demands of ultraendurance cycling requires careful planning and monitoring of food and fluid intake. This case study presents the nutrient intake of a cyclist while training for and competing in the Race Across AMerica (RAAM). Carbohydrate accounted for 65% of the calories consumed during training (4,743 kcal), 75% during 24-hr races (10,343 kcal), and 78% during RAAM (8,429 kcal). Gastrointestinal complaints during RAAM included nausea, feeling of fullness, and abdominal distension. Although probably exacerbated by sleep deprivation, these problems were all diet related. Based on this experience, it appears that by controlling the carbohydrate concentration of beverages, limiting dietary fiber, and relying on carbohydrate as the primary energy source, one could both control gastrointestinal symptoms and promote optimal performance in training and in ultramarathon cycling.
Stephanie K. Gaskell and Ricardo J.S. Costa
endurance events, with incidence rates of ≥60% consistently observed in individuals partaking in ultraendurance competitions. This far exceeds incidence rates in shorter endurance running events, such as half-marathon, marathon, and exertional stress <2 hr, with minimal symptoms reported ( Costa et
Giulia De Ioannon, Giuseppe Cibelli, Sergio Mignardi, Agnese Antonelli, Laura Capranica and Maria Francesca Piacentini
To evaluate the pacing strategy, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and mood during a 78.1-km solo ultraendurance open-water swim.
Before and after the event, anthropometric parameters, cortisol, and the profile of mood state (POMS) of 1 male athlete (age 48 y, height 172 cm, body mass 68 kg, body fat 7.2%, athletic achievement: Italian record holder of the Channel Swim) were ascertained. Every 3 h during the event, average swimming speed (SS), stroke rate, stroke length (SL), and RPE were recorded.
The athlete completed the event in 23:44 h:min. Compared with the first 3 h of swimming, decreases in SS (−33%) and SL (−25%) were observed between 18 h and 21 h. Thereafter, the athlete increased SS (+41%) and SL (+17%) between 21 h and the end. RPE steadily increased from the beginning to the last 6 h of swimming. Cortisol showed a 23-fold increase. After the event, POMS showed a 500% increase in fatigue, 44% decrease in tension, and 77% decrease in vigor.
For the first time ever an athlete crossed the Adriatic Sea. This case study shows that the athlete adopted a variable pacing strategy to complete 78 km. Despite the athlete perceiving his effort at maximum during the last 6 h, the observed increases in SS at the end of the event might substantiate his high potential motivation to accomplish this challenging and unique event.
Wade L. Knez and Jonathan M. Peake
Ultraendurance exercise training places large energy demands on athletes and causes a high turnover of vitamins through sweat losses, metabolism, and the musculoskeletal repair process. Ultraendurance athletes may not consume sufficient quantities or quality of food in their diet to meet these needs. Consequently, they may use oral vitamin and mineral supplements to maintain their health and performance. We assessed the vitamin and mineral intake of ultraendurance athletes in their regular diet, in addition to oral vitamin and mineral supplements. Thirty-seven ultraendurance triathletes (24 men and 13 women) completed a 7-day nutrition diary including a questionnaire to determine nutrition adequacy and supplement intake. Compared with dietary reference intakes for the general population, both male and female triathletes met or exceeded all except for vitamin D. In addition, female athletes consumed slightly less than the recommended daily intake for folate and potassium; however, the difference was trivial. Over 60% of the athletes reported using vitamin supplements, of which vitamin C (97.5%), vitamin E (78.3%), and multivitamins (52.2%) were the most commonly used supplements. Almost half (47.8%) the athletes who used supplements did so to prevent or reduce cold symptoms. Only 1 athlete used supplements on formal medical advice. Vitamin C and E supplementation was common in ultraendurance triathletes, despite no evidence of dietary deficiency in these 2 vitamins.