Food and macronutrient intake of elite Kenyan distance runners

Dept of Exercise and Sports Science, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism (Impact Factor: 2.44). 01/2005; 14(6).
Source: OAI


The food and macronutrient intake of elite Kenyan runners was compared to recommendations for endurance athletes. Estimated energy intake (EI: 2987 +/- 293 kcal; mean +/- standard deviation) was lower than energy expenditure (EE: 3605 +/- 119 kcal; P < 0.001) and body mass (BM: 58.9 +/- 2.7 kg vs. 58.3 +/- 2.6 kg; P < 0.001) was reduced over the 7-d intense training period. Diet was high in carbohydrate (76.5%, 0.4 g/kg BM per day) and low in fat (13.4 %). Protein intake (10.1 %; 1.3 g/kg BM per day) matched recommendations for protein intake. Fluid intake was modest and mainly in the form of water (1113 +/- 269 mL; 0.34 +/- 0.16 mL/kcal) and tea (1243 +/- 348 mL). Although the diet met most recommendations for endurance athletes for macronutrient intake, it remains to be determined if modifying energy balance and fluid intake will enhance the performance of elite Kenyan runners.

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Available from: Vincent Ochieng Onywera, Jun 23, 2014
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    • "This cross-sectional data analysis is limited since aspects such as anthropometry [35-37], the physiology [54,55], and the training [35-37] of the runners, their previous experience [34-37], their pacing strategy [56], the environmental conditions [57], and both nutrition [58-60] and fluid intake [61,62] were not considered. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to compare the trends in participation, performance and age of finishers in 'Badwater' and 'Spartathlon' as two of the toughest ultramarathons in the world of more than 200 km of distance. Running speed and age of male and female finishers in Badwater and Spartathlon were analyzed from 2000 to 2012. Age of peak performance and sex difference in running speed were investigated during the studied period. The number of female and male finishes increased in Badwater and Spartathlon. Women accounted on average for 21.5% ± 6.9% in Badwater and 10.8% ± 2.3% in Spartathlon. There was a significant increase in female participation in Badwater from 18.4% to 19.1% (p < 0.01) and in Spartathlon from 11.9% to 12.5% (p = 0.02). In men, the age of finishers was higher in Badwater (46.5 ± 9.3 years) compared to Spartathlon (44.8 ± 8.2 years) (p < 0.01). The age of female finishers of both races was similar with 43.0 ± 7.5 years in Badwater and 44.5 ± 7.8 years in Spartathlon (p > 0.05). Over the years, the age of the annual five fastest men decreased in Badwater from 42.4 ± 4.2 to 39.8 ± 5.7 years (p < 0.05). For women, the age remained unchanged at 42.3 ± 3.8 years in Badwater (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the age was unchanged at 39.7 ± 2.4 years for men and 44.6 ± 3.2 years for women (p > 0.05). In Badwater, women and men became faster over the years. The running speed increased from 7.9 ± 0.7 to 8.7 ± 0.6 km/h (p < 0.01) in men and from 5.4 ± 1.1 to 6.6 ± 0.5 km/h (p < 0.01) in women. The sex difference in running speed remained unchanged at 19.8% ± 4.8% (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the running speed was stable over time at 10.8 ± 0.7 km/h for men and 8.7 ± 0.5 km/h for women (p > 0.05). The sex difference remained unchanged at 19.6% ± 2.5% (p > 0.05). These results suggest that for both Badwater and Spartathlon, (a) female participation increased, (b) the fastest finishers were approximately 40 to 45 years, and (c) the sex difference was at approximately 20%. Women will not outrun men in both Badwater and Spartathlon races. Master ultramarathoners can achieve a high level of performance in ultramarathons greater than 200 km under extreme conditions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013
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    • "The question is how such an extraordinary achievement by such a small-sized population could take place. Several aspects were looked at, including population genetics (Larsen 2003, 2004; Yang et al. 2007), food intake (Onywera et al. 2004), demography and social organization (Larsen 2003; Onywera et al. 2006), and hematology (Prommer et al. 2010). In the field of exercise physiology, maximal oxygen consumption, lactate threshold and running economy (Billat et al. 2003; Larsen et al. 2004; Saltin et al. 1995b), muscle morphology and muscle fiber typing (Saltin et al. 1995a) were investigated. "
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    ABSTRACT: On ten top-level Kenyan marathon runners (KA) plus nine European controls (EC, equivalent to KA), we measured maximal oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]) and the energy cost of running (C (r)) on track during training camps at moderate altitude, to better understand the KA dominance in the marathon. At each incremental running speed, steady-state oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]) was measured by telemetric metabolic cart, and lactate by electro-enzymatic method. The speed requiring [Formula: see text] provided the maximal aerobic velocity (v (max)). The energy cost of running was calculated by dividing net [Formula: see text] by the corresponding speed. The speed at lactate threshold (v (ΘAN)) was computed from individual Lâ(b) versus speed curves. The sustainable [Formula: see text] fraction (F (d)) at v (ΘAN) (F (ΘAN)) was computed dividing v (ΘAN) by v (max). The F (d) for the marathon (F (mar)) was determined as F (mar) = 0.92 F (ΘAN). Overall, [Formula: see text] (64.9 ± 5.8 vs. 63.9 ± 3.7 ml kg(-1) min(-1)), v (max) (5.55 ± 0.30 vs. 5.41 ± 0.29 m s(-1)) and C (r) (3.64 ± 0.28 vs. 3.63 ± 0.31 J kg(-1) m(-1)) resulted the same in KA as in EC. In both groups, C (r) increased linearly with the square of speed. F (ΘAN) was 0.896 ± 0.054 in KA and 0.909 ± 0.068 in EC; F (mar) was 0.825 ± 0.050 in KA and 0.836 ± 0.062 in EC (NS). Accounting for altitude, running speed predictions from present data are close to actual running performances, if F (ΘAN) instead of F (mar) is taken as index of F (d). In conclusion, both KA and EC did not have a very high [Formula: see text], but had extremely high F (d), and low C (r), equal between them. The dominance of KA over EC cannot be explained on energetic grounds.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Arbeitsphysiologie
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    • "Additionally, the total water intake in the current study (3.2 L) is in accordance with optimal kidney function and urine output maintenance at high altitude (i.e., 3-4 L/day) [2]. This is also in agreement with the existing literature [8,9,18] where elite Kenyan distance runners maintained their hydration status due to the consumption of foods with a high quantity of water (e.g., ugali) [9]. On the other hand, fluid intake recommendations as set by the ACSM guidelines indicate that athletes should consume 5-7 mL/kg of BM of fluids at least 4 hours prior to the exercise session aiming to start the physical activity euhydrated with normal plasma electrolyte levels [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Explanations for the phenomenal success of East African distance runners include unique dietary practices. The aim of the present study was to assess the food and macronutrient intake of elite Ethiopian distance runners during a period of high intensity exercise training at altitude and prior to major competition. The dietary intake of 10 highly-trained Ethiopian long distance runners, living and training at high altitude (approximately 2400 m above sea level) was assessed during a 7 day period of intense training prior to competition using the standard weighed intake method. Training was also assessed using an activity/training diary. Body mass was stable (i.e., was well maintained) over the assessment period (pre: 56.7 ± 4.3 kg vs. post: 56.6 ± 4.2 kg, P = 0.54; mean ± SD). The diet comprised of 13375 ± 1378 kJ and was high in carbohydrate (64.3 ± 2.6%, 545 ± 49 g, 9.7 ± 0.9 g/kg). Fat and protein intake was 23.3 ± 2.1% (83 ± 14 g) and 12.4 ± 0.6% (99 ± 13 g, 1.8 ± 0.2 g/kg), respectively. Fluid intake comprised mainly of water (1751 ± 583 mL), while no fluids were consumed before or during training with only modest amounts being consumed following training. Similar to previous studies in elite Kenyan distance runners, the diet of these elite Ethiopian distance runners met most recommendations of endurance athletes for macronutrient intake but not for fluid intake.
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