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Posted: November 5, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Nutrition: Increasing Endurance During Marathons

By Pamela Nisevich

In the world of competitive sports, many factors can affect an athlete's performance. These can range from mental strength, training methods, and other factors including overall health status, injury status, and, of course, overall fitness. Should one of these facets of performance suffer, an athlete's training regimen, health, race, or game day performance can also suffer.

As a certified specialist in sports dietetics and an elite athlete training for a tenth marathon, I was well aware of the lingering effects of rigorous training. I knew that after months of logging 50-plus miles a week, lifting weights, and other physical activity, it was likely that I would feel fully trained yet slightly drained by the time race day arrived. This race season, I decided to do something different. I paid closer attention to my diet and recovery, and incorporated TAHITIAN NONI® Juice (TNJ) into my daily training regimen.

The use of TAHITIAN NONI Juice by athletes is growing in popularity. Morinda citrifolia (noni), though, has been used for centuries for the fruit's positive impact on overall health. The noni plant has been used for over 2000 years by the people of Polynesia as a source of food and medicine. Noni's impact on overall health can be related to the fruit's high antioxidant content as well as other phytochemical compounds.

TAHITIAN NONI Juice as a Performance Booster

Traditionally, noni juice had been used by Polynesians to restore vigor and strength following long and strenuous voyages. Recently, research has found that TNJ can increase an athlete's endurance significantly. In a recent placebo-controlled trial of 40 highly-trained athletes, those athletes who consumed 100ml of TNJ twice daily increased their endurance (time-to-fatigue) by 21% and also benefited from improved antioxidant status.

Athletics have recently experienced a boon of performance boosters, yet many carry significant consequences following failed drug screens. Chemical analyses conducted by multiple laboratories (, China Doping Control Center, and Anti-doping Center Moscow) and drug-urine screening of human volunteers revealed that TNJ does not contain any illegal drugs or substances prohibited by the World Anti-doping Agency.

The undertaking of a marathon is no a small feat. Indeed to race for 26.2 miles requires great aerobic capacity, energy stores, muscle strength, and endurance ability. Yet the challenge of running 26.2 miles seems to appeal to more and more people. Each year, nearly half a million marathon finishes are recorded and one can assume even more individuals begin training for such a daunting task. When training for any endurance activities, athletes are inundated with nutrition information, such as how much carbohydrate, protein, fat, and micronutrients to consume during training and racing. TAHITIAN NONI Juice provides an excellent amount of carbohydrate to the diet, containing three grams of carbohydrate per ounce.

Carbohydrate is stored in muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. In most athletes, the amount that can be stored ranges from approximately 375 grams to 500 grams, depending on intensity of training and dietary intake. Since stores are limited, carbohydrates must be consumed daily during training and before, during, and after training runs and races. The amount of carbohydrate endurance athletes need ranges from 6-10 grams per kilogram per day (g/kg/day), which equates to about 2.7-4.5 g/lb/day. A daily intake of 100ml twice daily, which has been found to increase endurance, will provide approximately 20 grams of carbohydrate per day.

Incorporating TNJ into your daily training regimen

Before, during, and after exercise

Before Exercise

It's lunch time, and while you can't ignore the hunger pains in your stomach, you also can't forget that a hard workout awaits you in a couple of hours. What to choose?

The focus of any meal eaten before an exercise session should be on carbohydrates. The meal may contain protein but should be lower in fat, which takes longer to digest. For each hour between lunch time and the workout, athletes should aim for an intake of 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilo. For example, if the time between lunch and the workout is about 3 hours, aim for 3g/kg of carbohydrate, or about 205 g for a 150-pound runner. An example intake for a 150-pound runner would be equivalent to 8 oz of TNJ, 2 cups of whole-grain pasta, 1 cup of marinara sauce, 2 pieces of whole-grain toast, and 1 cup of steamed vegetables.

If the time between lunch and the workout is 1 hour or less, aim for 1g/kg of carb. For a quick “bite” close to the workout time, consider a fruit smoothie made with TNJ, which will provide energy from carbs while being easily digested.

When filling up the tank before exercise, the endurance athlete should not forgo hydration and TNJ intake counts towards overall fluid intake. To begin an event well-hydrated, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) recommend drinking 13-20 ounces (about 1 2/3 to 2 ½ cups) of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise.

During Exercise

During exercise, athletes rely heavily on preexisting glycogen and fat stores. By consuming carbohydrate during the workout or race, the athlete ensures that there will be fuel available for the kick to the finish. Carb ingestion increases blood glucose levels, permitting greater utilization of blood glucose for energy. When glucose remains available, carbohydrate oxidation can occur even if muscle glycogen stores are low, allowing for continued endurance and performance. The general recommendation for carb intake during exercise ranges from 30-60 g/hour for intense exercise that lasts longer than an hour.

During the early stages of training, athletes should gradually add TNJ and other forms of carbohydrate to daily meals so that on race day, they know how much to ingest and their GI system is ready to take on the load. Carbohydrate can be supplied in the form of food or fluid, depending on athlete preference and tolerance. Athletes should aim to spread out the total carbohydrate intake so that the same amount is taken every 15-20 minutes during activity. A sports drink containing 4-8% carbohydrate, or 10-18 grams of carb per 8-ounce serving is the carb concentration that is best absorbed by the GI tract during training and can help to meet carbohydrate and fluid needs. A mix of 4oz of TNJ with 4oz of water provides the correct concentration of carbohydrate that should be well tolerated during exercise.

After Exercise

During exercise, muscles are broken down and glycogen stores are often depleted. For these reasons alone, recovery is crucial to the endurance athlete. Daily training without attention paid to recovery can be disastrous. Improper recovery can lead to fatigue, malaise, and susceptibility to injury.

For improved muscle repair, athletes should take in a small amount of protein with a high-carb recovery meal. Because many athletes fail to consume adequate fluids during an event and finish dehydrated, rehydration is of utmost importance for both health and future performance. By rehydrating with a mix of water and TNJ, athletes can easily meet both fluid and energy requirements and promote accelerated recovery.

The Outcome of Training with TAHITIAN NONI Juice

In a world full of innovative training regimens, mysterious supplements, and conflicting opinions as to how to get the edge over the competition, many athletes are left confused and wandering from one school of training thought to another. Similar to other athletes, I began marathon training with the goal of improving upon past races, yet wondering how I could improve my performance and arrive at the finish line sooner than planned. After months of focusing on adequate fuel for training, I began to incorporate 90-100ml of TNJ twice daily, with the hopes of increasing my time to fatigue. Did it work? Following a rigorous personal case study of daily TNJ supplementation, I satisfactorily finished the Chicago marathon, earning a new personal record (PR) with a time of 3:09; taking over 7 minutes off of my previous PR. I'd say it worked. I recommend TAHITIAN NONI Juice to athletes I work with who are looking for both energy to burn and an edge over their competition.

About Pamela Nisevich

Pamela M. Nisevich is a nutrition expert and consultant specializing in the areas of sports nutrition, weight management, and pediatrics. She is an adjunct instructor at Sinclair Community College, a former instructor at Miami University, and a clinical dietitian at Dayton Children's Medical Center. Pamela's media outreach and participation includes nutrition expert appearances on NBC and CBS affiliates and as an author in Today's Dietitian, IDEA Fitness Journal, My Family Doctor, and various newsletters and educational handouts.

Pamela is the Director of Continuing Education for the American Dietetic Association Practice Group, Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists (SCAN) and a member of SCAN's Executive Committee.

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