Track and Field Nutrition

Track and field athletes have various nutritional needs depending on the requirement of the specific training regimen.

Nutritional Guidelines For All Athletes

  • Eat every two-three hours
  • Eat protein and complex carbohydrates
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • Post work out nutrition with 30 minutes
  • Never skip a meal, always keep snack items with you

Proper Sports Nutrition Benefits

  • Optimize gains from training program
  • Enhance recovery between workouts and events
  • Achievement of ideal % body fat and weight
  • A reduced risk of injury and illness
  • Confidence in being well-prepared to face competition
  • Consistency in achieving high level competition performances

Track and Field Specific Nutritional Considerations

Endurance Events

Meal guidelines

3 hours before practice or competition

16-20 ounces of water, lean meats, fruits and nuts

1 hour before practice or competition

5-10 ounces of water, low fat granola bar

During practice or competition

6 ounces of water per 20 minutes of activity

6 ounces of sports drink with electrolytes per hour

6-ounce meal replacement bar for activities over 2 hours

Within 30 minutes post practice or competition

Fruit, granola bar, breads

Up to 6 hours post-workout-competition (every 2-3 hours)

Lean meat, grilled fish, fruits, vegetables, breads and dairy

At least 8 ounces of water per hour depending on climate conditions

Special Considerations

Decreasing fiber and protein intake pre and post workout can help reduce stomach discomfort during long training sessions.

Liquid meals can be used if this is persistent problem with athletes.

Sprints, Hurdles and Jumps

Meal guidelines

3 hours before practice or competition

16 ounces of milk or juice, beans, lean meats, fruits and nuts

1 hour before practice or competition

8 ounces of water, low fat granola bar, fruit

During practice or competition

8 ounces of water per 20 minutes of activity

8 ounces of sports drink with electrolytes per hour

Within 30 minutes post practice or competition

Fruit, granola bar, pretzels, bagels

Meal replacement with protein and carbohydrates

Up to 6 hours post-workout-competition (every 2 hours)

Lean meat, grilled fish, fruits, vegetables, breads and dairy

At least 8 ounces of water per hour

Special Considerations

Balance nutrition and calories: speed and power athletes need proper nutrition and caloric intake to maintain or improve body composition.

Throws

Meal guidelines

3 hours before practice or competition

16 ounces of chocolate milk, beans, lean meats, fruits and nuts

1 hour before practice or competition

8 ounces of milk or protein shake, granola bar, fruit

During practice or competition

8 ounces of water per 20 minutes of activity

8 ounces of sports drink with electrolytes per hour

Within 30 minutes post practice or competition

Fruit, granola bar, pretzels, bagels

16 ounces of meal replacement with protein and carbohydrates

Up to 6 hours post-workout-competition (every 2 hours)

Lean meat, grilled fish, fruits, vegetables, breads and dairy

At least 8 ounces of water per hour

Special Considerations

Achieve weight gain in throwers by eating more breads, fruit or nut based desserts and higher fat dairy products.

Here is a great article on nutrition for young athletes from Stack.com


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