Updated: Mar 3, 2020
'Hitting the Wall' is common expression among endurance athletes. It refers to running out of energy and it is unmistakable: the feeling of severe weakness, fatigue, confusion, and disorientation is something you will not want to experience more than once. This often happens due to a lack of fuel for that training or race. This feeling can also occur at different points in a race for different people depending on what they have eaten pre race. I have had athletes report hitting the wall at five miles in and others at twenty miles in.
When working with endurance athletes, I ask the following questions:
1. What do you eat pre-race and during your race?
2. And how much of that did you eat?
3. What macro ratio are are consuming during training seasons?
4. What dietary supplements are part of your routine?
5. Have you tested your race day food plan before race day and found that it worked for you?
These questions can usually give me the general information I need to find out if they are consuming enough carbohydrates to support competition day, or if they are consuming the most ideal forms of carbohydrates. Fruit is fast energy, which makes a great addition to breakfast. Carbs like oatmeal or a bagel with some peanut butter will provide longer lasting energy than only a bowl of fruit.
The fun part of personal nutrition is getting to experiment with different pre and post training foods. Pick a snack and try it before training for a few days or a week and see how you feel and how you perform. Try another food the week after and compare them. This is how you find the best fuel for you and what you are trying to accomplish in your workouts. How you are eating when you are training is how you should be eating on race day. Race day is not the day to change up your nutrition plan. Find what works for you and stick with it until it doesn't work anymore.
Smith-Ryan AE, Antonia J. (2013) Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements (2013) Linus Learning.