During competition, I have eight runs in a day. I find myself getting tired. Is there something that I can eat to help me finish strong?
Running on Empty, age 16 (male, downhill skiing)
Dear Running on Empty,
It’s a great question and honestly there’s no one food or style of eating I can recommend, because everybody is different.
If you’ve ever kept an exercise journal, you know how that can help you get more fit. Consider something similar to with your food intake. Notice how different foods, and different meal timing, make you feel. Most of us can agree that eating three brownies will probably make us tired afterward.
Start with non-competition days. What foods give you energy? And since you are asking about stamina, we are talking, sustained energy, not a quick burst of energy.
On the flipside, notice and record which foods and drinks take away your energy. Some people write a food diary, not to count calories, but to understand the impact on performance. Include the times a day that you eat. Are there large gaps in time between meals? Do you feel loggy after a certain meal or eating at a certain time of day?
Just get curious and be patient. I know you’ll discover which foods and timing work best for you. Once you do, keep doing that and you should feel your stamina increase over time.