"Information/research for optimal nutrition for endurance” -Shar
This is different sort of question for me considering the bulk of my interest is with resistance training. However, I think that some techniques that are used for resistance training nutrition can also transcend into endurance training. First of all, it goes without saying that as an endurance runner, you need carbohydrates. If you were simply a sprinter (i.e. exerting force in less than 60 second intervals) you would still need some carbohydrates, but certainly not as much an ultra marathon runner.
There are three energy systems in the body. The first is “immediate". This primarily relies on ATP and Phosphocreatine stores and is primarily used during intense, short bursts of movement, such as sprinting. The second is the Anaerobic glycolytic system. This system primarily relies upon using glucose and glycogen and is typically called into play just after or near the end of the immediate system’s usage. The third system is primarily what you as an endurance athlete are concerned with; oxidative. This system primarily calls upon glucose (sugar), glycogen (sugar stored in muscle), fat, and protein. Each of these systems have limiting factors that result in fatigue. The primary culprits in this situation are likely due to lactate accumulation as well as glycogen depletion. As such, you’re primary goal should be to be able to better deal with the lactate accumulation and also store as much glycogen in the muscle, prior to the event. So what are some things to do in order to achieve this? Let me give you my take, and the reasons behind why I think this will work.
The role of increasing mitochondria
When glucose is consumed in the form of carbohydrates, it meets it’s fate in one of two ways. The first being that it can be converted to pyruvic acid and then into lactic acid (which is likely what you don’t want to occur). At this point, it can also be converted converted back to pyruvic acid (which is good) or it can continue to accumulate which will result in further fatigue. The second being that the glucose can be converted to pyruvic acid and move further into glycolysis where it can eventually be metabolized in mitochondria resulting in ATP. Further, there are two more scenarios. Either you have a lot of mitochondria that can metabolize the pyruvic acid or you have few mitochondria and the lactate accumulation becomes too much, and you fatigue quickly. Thus, you want more mitochondria.
Peroxisome proliferator-activate gamma coactivator 1-alpha is involved in energy metabolism, specifically in regulating mitochondrial biogenesis. PGC-1a is activated by endurance exercise. This is done primarily to achieve what the previous paragraph was all about; increasing the amount of mitochondria. Thus, just simply doing endurance training, you’ll increase mitochondria. But I’m guessing you want to perform at a high level. As such, it would be in your best interest to try to increase the amount of mitochondria past simply training.
How to increase PGC-1a
PGC-1a will become activated during time in which energy begins deplete, such as during endurance training. However, it is also further activated through different factors that are related to times of energy loss. In order to keep this article short and easy to understand, I will simply name some of the things that will promote PGC-1a:
Ways to utilize all of these to increase mitochondrial biogenesis
Increasing all of these will be a result of being in a lower energy state. As such, it may be in your best interest to every so often, train in a fasted state. No I don’t advocate that you should do this prior any even where your performance really matters (unless you like to) but I do think that it is something that can be utilized in training for a number of reasons:
Wrapping it up.
Some key points to remember from the above information:
Baar, K. (2014, January 1). SSE #115: New Ideas About Nutrition and the Adaptation to Endurance Training. Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://www.gssiweb.org/Article/sse-115-new-ideas-about-nutrition-and-the-adaptation-to-endurance-training
PPARGC1A. (2014, October 24). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PPARGC1A
Seiler, S. (1996, January 1). The Lactate Threshold. Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://www.aemma.org/misc/lactate_threshold.htm