Richmond - Trestle

2015 XTERRA America Tour Preview

The 2015 XTERRA America Tour off-road triathlon schedule featuring 70 races in 35 states, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Among these events are 65 XTERRA Point Series races (XPS) and five XTERRA Championship Series (XCS) races – also known as the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series.

The five core majors remain intact for the seventh straight year. Of note, the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond is entering its 17th season (the longest running XTERRA outside of Worlds in Maui) and the Southeast Championship will celebrate its 10th year at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama and will also double as the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship this year.

April 25 – XTERRA West Championship – Lake Las Vegas, NV
May 16 – XTERRA Southeast  / USAT Nationals – Pelham, AL
June 14 – XTERRA East Championship – Richmond, VA
July 18 – XTERRA Mtn Championship – Beaver Creek, CO
Sep 19 – XTERRA Utah – Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, UT

For Pros: The top 15 elites at each championship event are awarded points based on overall pro finish.  Pros count their best three-of-four scores plus the points they get (or don’t get) at the XTERRA USA Championship in Utah. Thus, the final point total combines the best three scores in the first four races, plus the USA Championship race points.  He/she with the most points in the end is declared the U.S. Pro Series Champ. The U.S. Series will dish out $140,000 in prize money: $15,000 at each regional championship race, $20,000 at the USA Championship, and $60,000 to the top overall points scorers in the Series. The XTERRA World Championship on November 1 in Kapalua, Maui is a stand-alone event worth $100,000.

For Amateurs:  The XTERRA America Tour is designed to provide age group athletes (amateurs) with a bona-fide championship to compete for within their geographic region. At the end of the regular season the top performers in each of eight regions are honored as Regional Champions and invited to compete against other athletes their same age at the National Championship in Utah on Sept. 19.

Here’s how the Series works:

1) CHOOSE REGION: There are 8 regions, determined by a competitor’s primary residence at the time of their first race.

2) DETERMINE YOUR DIVISION/AGE GROUP: “XTERRA Age” is based on a competitor’s age on December 31, 2015.  Athletes compete in the following age categories: 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, and 75+ (m), and we also have Physically Challenged Divisions.

3) RACE AND SCORE: Series competitors race for points at their choice of events – including XTERRA Points Series (XPS) races & XTERRA Championship Series (XCS) races.  Competitors can enter as many events as they’d like but just their best four finishes count towards their total points score.  Competitors are required to race in at least one event in their region, and must COUNT two events in their region.

4) COUNT ‘EM UP:  Points are awarded to the top 15 finishers in each age group at each race. Athletes can earn more points at championship series races because, generally, participation is higher and the courses are tougher.  If an athlete races at more than one championship event, only the best finish counts at full points. Any other finishes earn points at the same rate as the XTERRA Points Series races.

5) BECOMING A REGIONAL CHAMP: At the end of the regular season in late August, the athlete with the most points – by gender, by division, by region – earns the title of XTERRA Regional Champion.  In addition, points scorers in each region are invited to compete for a national title at the XTERRA USA Championship in Utah.

See full 2015 XTERRA America Tour Rules document

To qualify to race at the XTERRA USA Championship, September 19, at Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah, amateur and physically challenged athletes must finish in the top 15 in their division at an XTERRA America Tour race.

Note: All XTERRA America Tour events are sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the national governing body of multisport in the United States. As such all athletes are subject to the rules and regulations set forth by the USAT.  Details available at

The XTERRA Points Series races are a collection of independently produced off-road triathlons owned and operated by local promoters, while the championship series events are bigger races with pro purses on full-length courses operated by TEAM Unlimited / XTERRA.

Flora Duffy

Duffy to Defend Title at XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs in NSW, Australia

The most dominant female racer in XTERRA is returning to Jervis Bay in New South Wales, Australia next month.

Flora Duffy, from Bermuda in the Caribbean, will defend her title at the 2nd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race on April 18, 2015.

“The area is gorgeous,” said Duffy after winning last year’s inaugural event. “Growing up in Bermuda I’m kind of a beach snob, so it takes a lot for a beach to impress me and I can tell you it is gorgeous here, that white sand and water is beautiful.”

The 27-year-old, two-time Olympian won the first two XTERRA majors of 2015 in the Philippines and South Africa and has now won nine of the last 10 she’s entered including the XTERRA USA, Asia-Pacific, and World Championship.

As the most prestigious event in the Asia-Pacific series that includes championship races in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Tahiti, and Saipan – the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship will offer $50,000 in prize money to the sport’s top professional athletes and produce a television show for international distribution.

The main event combines a 1.5-kilometer ocean swim at Callala Beach, approximately two and a half hours south on Sydney, with 30-kilometers of mountain biking followed by 10-kilometers of trail running.

Last year Duffy edged 2013 XTERRA World Champion Nicky Samuels from New Zealand to win the women’s title while Dan Hugo from South Africa held off a hard-charging Courtney Atkinson from Australia to win the men’s race.

The event lures amateur and professional athletes from around the world to New South Wales, and locals flock to the event in pursuit of XTERRA Australia Championship honours.

The off-road sports festival weekend also includes a sprint distance off-road triathlon, trail runs, and relay team competitions attracting more than 500 competitors of all ages.

For more information and links to registration for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship visit For more information on the XTERRA brand and worldwide event
series, visit Athlete inquiries may be directed to, and media may contact

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, the world’s largest privately owned professional salon hair care company, Outrigger Resorts – one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging, retail and hospitality companies in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia – the official swim sponsor.

Emma and Josiah

Middaugh, Garrard Named America’s Best

Josiah Middaugh and Emma Garrard were named the USA Triathlon Elite Off-Road Triathletes of the Year for the second straight year on Monday.

Middaugh, 36, of Eagle-Vail, Colorado, has been America’s best for more than a decade now. This year he placed 2nd at XTERRA Costa Rica (to Leonardo Chacon), won the U.S. Pro Series opener at Lake Las Vegas in April and the second stop in Pelham, Alabama in May. He was 3rd at the XTERRA East Championship, then won the Mountain Championship in his back yard at Beaver Creek. In Europe, he finished 2nd at both the XTERRA Czech and XTERRA Germany/ITU Cross Tri World Championship race. He placed 2nd at the XTERRA USA  Championship race (top American) and won the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series for the second season in a row. He was named the XTERRA National Champ for the 10th time as the fastest American in the Pro Series. Middaugh was also 2nd at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, crossing the line a little more than one-minute behind his nemesis Ruben Ruzafa from Spain (who also won the Czech, Germany, and USA races).

Middaugh has been the fastest American at XTERRA Worlds seven times since 2004.

Garrard had the best season of her career, placing 2nd at all four regionals, 5th at XTERRA Germany, won her first major at XTERRA England in August, and placed 4th at the USA and World Championship races where she was the top American at both for the second straight year. Emma was also honored as the XTERRA  National Champ by virtue of finishing as the top American in the Pro Series.

About USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon is the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Renata Bucher

The March of XTERRA is Underway

The XTERRA Philippines and South Africa Championship races set a high standard for what’s to come on the 2015 World Tour and this month the schedule rolls out in full force with an epic adventure on the South Island of New Zealand, the start of the American and European Tours, the Crown Jewel at XTERRA Saipan, and a gem in Costa Rica.

Every stop is a gateway to the 20th running of the XTERRA World Championship in Kapalua, Maui set for November 1.

XTERRA’s version of “March Madness” starts Saturday at XTERRA Motatapu, where the young Kiwi Oliver Shaw looks to take the next step in his evolution as an XTERRA Pro on one of the hardest courses on Tour (see related story “Olly Shaw’s Time to Shine“).

In the U.S. the chase to win one of 200 regional championship titles starts at Hickory Knob State Park in McCormick, South Carolina on Sunday, the 22nd.  It’s the first of 65 races in 35 states on this year’s XTERRA America Tour (see how the Series works).

Then on March 28 in the middle of the Western Pacific Ocean – 1,300 miles south of Tokyo, 1,400 miles east of Manila, 3,200 miles west of Honolulu, and 2,900 miles north of Sydney, XTERRA Saipan will celebrate its 14th running as the sports original exotic destination.

On the 29th XTERRA Costa Rica hosts a strong contingent of elites with the likes of Josiah Middaugh, Emma Gerrard, Lesley Paterson, Mauricio Mendez, Christine Jeffrey, Craig Evans, Laura Mira, Sebastian Neef, Sara McClarty, Alex Modestou, and more for an XTERRA island adventure all its own. They’ve even got live race coverage planned so even those of us who can’t make it can join in the fun.

Also on the 29th the Euro’s get in the mix at the inaugural running of XTERRA Malta, the first of 12 majors on the European Tour where amateur and elite athletes can collect points towards Tour titles, fame, cash, and glory.

It’s time to explore!  Find your adventure at

Olly Shaw

Olly Shaw’s Time to Shine

Oliver Shaw just turned 23-years-old, but he’s already a seasoned XTERRA veteran.

“I started XTERRA eight years ago at the New Zealand Champs which are held at Rotorua every year. I’m from Rotorua and always wanted to do the race and my Dad thought I could do quite well if I trained for it,” explained Shaw, who was just 15 when he did his first race.

Turned out Dad was right, as the young Kiwi has been a force back home and in Maui through the years.  In the height of his amateur career in 2012 Shaw finished 25th overall, second amateur, and first in the 20-24 division to win the XTERRA World Championship.

Now entering his third year racing as an elite Shaw has his sights set a little bit higher, and rightly so as he could just be the favorite to win Saturday’s iconic XTERRA Motatapu off-road triathlon on the South Island of New Zealand.

“I’m not too sure if I am the favorite even with Braden sitting this weekend out,” said Shaw, referring to fellow Kiwi all-star Braden Currie who won XTERRA Motatapu three years running but will sit-out Saturday to give his body a rest after a grueling slate of races that included a big win at Speight’s Coast-to-Coast adventure race a few weeks ago.

“Dougal Allan is also racing and he is fresh off a 2nd place at Challenge Wanaka just over a week ago so he will be in very good form and looking for the top step as well,” said Shaw. “It’s great to know that I am capable of challenging for the race though and I am looking forward to getting out there and giving it my best!”

Last year Shaw had an impressive season racing across the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Region, placing 2nd at XTERRA Motatapu, 3rd at XTERRA Guam, 4th at XTERRA Saipan, 3rd at XTERRA New Zealand, and 7th against a stacked field at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

With a refreshed training routine courtesy of Kiwi legend Richard Ussher, this could be the year Shaw really breaks out.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate to link up with Richard Ussher who is guiding me through this season.  It has been an exciting change from what I have been doing in the past and I’m hoping it help me progress to the next level as an athlete,” said Shaw.  “Training has been going really well lately and I have been building nicely for the upcoming XTERRA season.”

The young-gun did have a bit of a set-back last weekend, however, at the Oceania Cross Tri Champs in Australia.

“Right in the middle of having a great race I broke my chain in the worst place possible and ended up having a pretty spectacular crash on concrete,” said Shaw.  “It left me with a few bumps and bruises but more concerning, a lot less skin then I started with. I’m sure I will recover in time for Motatapu this weekend, but I’ll have to be careful this week.”

Asked if he considered sitting out Motatapu, Shaw said “no way.”

“XTERRA Motatapu is an absolutely awesome race! Both scenic and challenging it has everything you could ask for in an XTERRA. Even though I’m not the strongest swimmer, I love the swim in Lake Wanaka with clear cool water in the middle of the mountains. Out onto the ride and my favorite part is no doubt the huge amount of river crossings you have to take…the best part being that all the crossings get bigger and more challenging as you go! The best part of the race though has to be the run. Only 15km in length, it is more like a half-marathon in time, with the biggest climb I have ever had to do in an XTERRA. It’s worth it though as the view at the top and on the way down are simply breath taking. You can’t lose focus though as the descent is one of the most technical out on the circuit, and then finishing with a few river crossings just finishes you off,” said Shaw.

Indeed Motatapu is longer than your typical XTERRA, combining a 2km swim in Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, 47km Mountain Bike and a 15km mountain run over the historic Miners Trail course.  While this is just the fourth year XTERRA Motatapu has been part of the World Tour and offered up 14 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship, it’s the 11th anniversary for the weekend of events that attracts thousands of competitors with races in mountain biking, an off-road marathon, adventure runs and triathlons.

“I think it is an achievement in itself just to finish this race. It’s probably the longest XTERRA on the circuit and leaves everyone who finishes struggling to walk for the next few days (just ask Renata Bucher…) but every time I finish I always think I have to come back and do it again. I was second last year so I’m looking forward to having a great race again and hopefully challenging for the win!”

New Zealand has a long and strong history with XTERRA. It’s hosted the XTERRA New Zealand Championship since 2003 and is home to a pair of XTERRA World Champs – Hamish Carter (2006) and Nicky Samuels (2013).   Maybe with the help of Richard Ussher, Olly Shaw will “usher-in” the next generation of Kiwi greats.

Here’s some excerpts from our interview with Shaw this week:

XTERRA: What did you make of your experience in Saipan and Guam last year?

Oliver Shaw: Guam and Saipan were awesome races to go to. I haven’t had that much experience in racing in the heat (other than in Hawaii) so it was great to get a few more races under my belt in brutal conditions. The races themselves were both on really tough courses, especially Saipan, and it was great to race some top guys with the likes of Ben Allen, Dan Hugo and Brad Weiss competing. I also got to travel with Mark Leishman who has been around the triathlon/multisport/mountain bike scene for a long time so it was a great experience for me. I really enjoyed my time there and am pretty gutted that I’m not going to be racing there this year. XTERRA New Zealand is on in my home town of Rotorua on the same day as Guam and whilst I enjoyed Guam, Xterra NZ is my favorite race of the year!

XT: Are you still living in Rotorua?

OS: I am still lucky enough to be calling Rotorua home. It has everything you need for training (great lakes, pools, mountain bike trails, road riding and trail running) and there is always an event on if you need a hard training session, including my favorite XTERRA, XTERRA New Zealand.

XT: What races are on your schedule this year?

OS: After XTERRA Motatapu I am racing XTERRA New Zealand, then the Asia-Pacific Champs and then head to the U.S. for the first three rounds of the US series (Las Vegas, Pelham and Richmond). After that I will head back home and look towards the rest of the year but I think it will include racing XTERRA in the Asia region, hopefully the U.S. Champs and then finish it off again at XTERRA Worlds.

XT: You got your college degree in “sport” from the University of Waikato, are you doing anything with that now?

OS: In between training and racing I am working part time at the Waiariki Recreation Centre in Rotorua where I do a little bit of personal training. I have also used my degree and training experience to start coaching a few athletes which I am really enjoying as it makes you really think and evaluate why you do particular sessions and what you are getting out of them! It is also nice as it makes you think about and focus on other people rather than just yourself because being an athlete can be quite selfish at times so it’s always good to be taken out of your own ‘bubble’.

XT: What kind of stuff does Richard having you doing … think you’re getting faster?

OS: Rich brings many, many years of experience racing in all sorts of racing. He has been at the top and has had a very successful career in sport. It’s awesome to have his guidance and experience as I work my way towards my dream of being an elite World Champion. We’ve only been working together for a short time period but I have definitely noticed really positive improvement in training. It’s also been refreshing to have a change of training patterns and different sessions as things can get quite repetitive after a while. With the season fast approaching I can’t wait to see my improvement in the racing scene!

XT: What is it about XTERRA that keeps you going?

OS: I race XTERRA because I love the events and the training. You get to see so many awesome places when you are travelling and every course is a change from the others. Different soil, different track types and different conditions, which makes every race unique and challenging in its own right! That’s always refreshing and it keeps you looking to improve as an athlete as one course may suit you but another might not. I also find that whenever you are at an XTERRA event there is always a fun, enjoyable, and happy atmosphere which always keeps you excited about the races!

XT: What did you like about the XTERRA Asia-Pacific race and course?

OS: The most enjoyable part of the Asia-Pacific race for me was the second half of the mountain bike. There were some awesome purpose built mountain bike tracks that were fast and flowed really well and meant you always had a smile on your face even when you were hurting! The race itself was well organized and set in an awesome spot in Callala Bay. I can’t wait to go back this April!


2015 Euro Tour Kicks Off March 29 in Malta

XTERRA Malta is new to the XTERRA Euro Tour in 2015 and has the auspicious role of opening this year’s 12-stop series.
This island nation in the Mediterranean, is one of Europe’s favorite holiday destinations and its sunny, warm climate will be a welcome change from harsh winter weather.

The venue is spectacular Majjistral Park, in Ghajn Tuffieha, where the race begins with an ocean swim off a golden sand beach. Bike and run trails traverse a pristine natural reserve and include spectacular cliff edges.  The scenery will make it tough for warriors to concentrate on racing over sightseeing.

XTERRA Malta offers 6,650 Euro in pro prize money and 25 coveted age group slots to the 2015 XTERRA World Championship to be held in Maui on November 1.

More information and entry is here

Lake Las Vegas Trail Runs

XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Runs

A strong run and a little bit of luck can go a long way in Las Vegas. On April 26, it could help runners in the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K Trail Run get to Hawaii.

Every age-group winner in the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K Trail Run on April 26 will earn a free entry to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, in December.

The XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Runs will take place on a desert course just outside The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, which is 17 miles off the famous Las Vegas Strip. The event is open to runners of all ages and skill levels.  There are three courses to accommodate the various levels of runners – a 21-kilometer long course, as well as a 10K and 5K.

The 21K course at Lake Las Vegas has drawn positive reviews from past runners for its unique terrain and breathtaking views.

The combination of hard-packed sand, loose rocks of various sizes, and a lack of forestation has led some runners to describe it as “like running on the moon.”

The runs will be held the day after the XTERRA West Championship off-road triathlon, giving XTERRA families a great opportunity to make it a “Live More” weekend.

Registration for all three distances of the event is open at


The Next Generation of XTERRA Warriors

The Grabouw Country club was buzzing with excitement on Friday, 20 February 2015 when just under 300 junior XTERRA Warriors toed the line to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes by taking part in the much anticipated Totalsports XTERRA KIDS presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT.

According to Nicola Collins, Event Manager, the excitement grows each year at the XTERRA Kids event.  “We were blown away by today’s turn out.  It really is special watching these junior warriors in action, not to mention seeing the phenomenal support that they receive from their parents. This is a key factor in any athlete’s sporting future.  The XTERRA Kids event is the ideal opportunity to introduce the younger generation to the sport of XTERRA.  One day we’ll be able to welcome these XTERRA Kids to the XTERRA Lite event and then eventually the XTERRA Full race, but for now we are happy that they were able to experience the XTERRA Vibe”.

With three age categories to choose from, 6 – 8 years (50m Swim, 1,5km Cycle, 1km Run), 9 – 11 years (100m Swim, 5km Cycle, 2km Run) and 12 – 14 years (200m Swim, 10km Cycle, 3km Run), the Totalsports XTERRA Kids Race is a source of much entertainment for both competitors and spectators alike!

Fruits and Vegetables

EPC Tips – Diet & Nutrition

This week we’re on to the fourth of 6 Components of Endurance Sports Success: Diet & Nutrition.

Discussions of diet and nutrition are often the most hotly debated topics in the fitness world, as they are fueled by emotion, personal beliefs and preferences. Within physical training concepts there are multiple proven and established ways to achieve similar levels of fitness and performance (high volume-low intensity vs. low volume-high intensity, for example). In much the same way, the same can be said for diet and nutrition concepts. There are multiple variations that can lead to similar results (meat eaters vs. vegetarians for example). The key point here is that people are different and different strategies work for different people; there is no right way. Regardless of where you stand on diet and nutrition, there are some key points that recent science and ‘experts’ have established that cross over between all ‘diets’ and are crucial for both long-term health and improved sport performance.

Without argument, athletes can make major breakthroughs in their training and racing performance by incorporating intelligent diet and nutrition strategies.

As you read on, please keep in mind that this is my opinion based on my own experience and study as a lifelong elite athlete, as well as over 10 years in the coaching business. I am not a dietitian, however I have always had a strong interest in diet and nutrition (for both ‘healthfulness’ and performance) along with a true passion for good food. This passion for food led to a short stint as a coffee shop and catering business owner after completing culinary arts school. Before we go any further, we should address my definitions of ‘diet’ and ‘nutrition’ within this specific discussion, as by themselves they can carry a multitude of different connotations. I like to break apart daily food intake and the total calories we consume into two parts. Diet is what I refer to here as your daily food intake (what’s on your plate) to get you through the day. Nutrition is referring to your training and racing intake (what you consume pre, mid, and post training).


Without writing pages and pages of nutrition concepts and theories, I want to keep it short and simple with advice on how you might be able to improve your diet, nutrition and performance. As athletes we hear the term ‘eating clean’ thrown around a lot. This term ‘clean’ can have many different meanings based on what you perceive as clean. Clean could mean simply not eating ‘fast food’ or overly processed foods, or it could mean eating only organic and naturally raised plants and animals, or it could mean a strict plant-only diet. The point is ‘clean’ is a relative term and what is clean to one person may be far from it to another (much like when you ask a typical single man what a clean bathroom looks like and what my wife, Kathy, thinks a clean bathroom looks like…two different bathrooms).

How ‘strict’ you want to be with your diet is up to you, but two focus points I have found to help everyone is to first limit/reduce the quantity of processed foods, and second, to base your diet on eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible. By simply following these two basic guidelines, you can transform an average diet into a very effective one. Processed foods are foods produced in a factory or laboratory. In general, the more humans tamper with ingredients found in nature the worse it becomes for you from a nutritional standpoint. For some reason we think we can improve nature, and we like to add additional ingredients and make our food ‘man made’. Take, for example, butter. Butter was once thought to be bad, so we manufactured margarine as a ‘better’ alternative. Not a good idea, as now we are finding it to cause all sort of problems. Surprise, saturated fats are not what we once thought! Or, take the egg. The cholesterol in egg yolks was thought to increase cholesterol in our blood, so we decided to separate what nature designed to be together by creating ‘egg whites’. Sadly, this ‘improvement’ meant we missed out on the nutrients in the egg yolks. This deeply held and popular belief has recently been disproved. Cholesterol in food actually has little to no correlation to cholesterol in our bodies and, in fact, whole eggs are one of the best foods we can put in our mouths!

Put simply, avoid processed foods and choose to eat as close to what nature provides us as possible, with the base being fruits and vegetables.

A third key concept is to NOT adhere to a ‘special diet’. Your daily diet should not have a name (Paleo, Atkins, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat, Low-Carb, High-Protein, etc.), rather just a good well-balanced diet based on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and small amounts of high-quality animal protein (if desired). Conforming to a ‘specific diet’ is not sustainable nor does it create a positive relationship with food. You can agree with concepts of specific diets, but when you begin to strictly avoid certain food groups, you are setting yourself up for a struggle (unless you have a true medically-tested allergy). As athletes we need all three macro-nutrients in our diets (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). Our primary fuel sources come from fat (low-intensity) and carbohydrate (moderate to high intensity) and when you limit your intake of either, your physical performance will stagnate or decline over time. Depending on your activity levels throughout your training season, you may need more or less of carbohydrate which leads to carbs being the largest variable macro-nutrient. Protein is not directly a fuel source but rather predominantly a hormone-regulating nutrient that is responsible for keeping our bodies functioning correctly. Most first world people consume excessive amount of animal protein in their diet beyond what the body actually can use. Rather than making the ‘meat’ the focal point of every meal, fill your plates first with vegetables, followed by whole grains as needed, and  then add small portions and of the highest quality protein (wild, natural, grass fed, organic, etc.) you can afford and prepare at home.

As endurance athletes, it is safe to say that nearly all of us are chronically dehydrated.

The fourth concept is hydration.  If you train for 10 or more hours a week and don’t consciously consume multiple glasses of water a day (outside of training) you are in a negative state of hydration. Hydration is not always recognized by our thirst mechanism. Often it is confused with hunger, which leads to excessive calorie consumption. By making a conscious effort to drink large glasses of water throughout the day and before meals you can do your body a world of good. The final piece of the puzzle and, perhaps, the most important for those struggling with achieving an ideal body composition, is to only eat when you’re hungry and to stop eating BEFORE you feel full. Achieving your ideal body composition has more to do with the “calories in vs. calories out” principle than actually eating healthfully. By eating both healthfully and in the appropriate quantities that your body requires, you will continue down the road towards the lean and powerful body you desire.


  • DO eat when you’re hungry (as frequently as needed)
  • DO eat as close to nature as possible
  • DO maximize fruits & vegetables (8+ servings/day)
  • DO avoid processed foods (chemically altered and/or high in refined sugar)
  • DO eat the highest quality foods you can afford (organic, natural, free-range, grass fed, wild, etc)
  • DO drink plain water throughout the day (between workouts)
  • DO eat small quantities, more frequently
  • DO eat pleasurable foods (“treats”)
  • DO NOT exclude foods or food groups (unless you have a true allergy, or you just don’t like them)
  • DO NOT follow a ‘named diet’
  • DO NOT over consume animal protein
  • DO NOT over eat (except at Thanksgiving, then go BIG!)


Supporting your physical training efforts with adequate and appropriate nutrition is essential for long term success in endurance sports. The more you train the more nutrition you need to support your training and recovery. Improved sports-nutrition can also lead to improvements in your body composition (ie. increased lean tissue) which is perhaps the most effective way to improve both your speed and endurance for racing.

As mentioned above, our primary fuel sources are fats and carbohydrates (glycogen). Fats are the ‘unlimited’ fuel source for low-intensity activity. Through effective aerobic training we improve our body’s ability to use fats for fuel at higher and higher effort levels. The more aerobically fit you are the faster you can go while using more fat and sparing more glycogen. Training the body to spare glycogen is one of the primary goals of the training that we do as endurance athletes. Glycogen is a limited source, and for longer activities, we must supplement with carbohydrates to spare and help delay the depletion of our stored glycogen for as long as needed to get to the finish line. For this reason, training nutrition revolves around consuming the right amounts of carbohydrates in our daily diet and as sports-nutrition while we train. This is why low-carb diets do not work for endurance athletes when they are in stages of heavy training and/or racing. We need carbohydrates to perform at our peak! During other times of the year, when training volume and intensity are low, reducing the extra carbs is helpful to minimize weight gain (ie. nutrition periodization).

Consuming calories prior to, during (for longer sessions/events), and following training sessions sets you up for success with not just the immediate session but sessions in the days to come. On the flip-side, you do not want to consume any more calories than required to fuel your training. Your muscles require fuel to function and the following are some simple guidelines to consider to maximize your training program.


The calories you consume prior to your training sessions provide the starting point from which you draw energy. For efforts lasting two hours or less you need little more than your regular meal 1-2 hours out from the start. For longer efforts you can ‘pre-load’ with a bit more calories (especially if it’s low to moderate intensity). If it’s been more than 2 hours since your last meal (ie. early morning workouts), you will likely be better off with 100-200 calories of primarily carbohydrate before your session. With proper fueling throughout your day you are less likely to need a ‘pre-workout’ snack or meal.


Workouts lasting 90 minutes or less require little to no mid-session fueling, other than water and/or electrolyte drink. This is especially true if you are well fueled prior to beginning the session. Workouts beyond 90 minutes are best served with 100-300 calories (of predominantly carbohydrate) per hour of training. The fuel source when training at low intensities is best coming from whole foods as much as possible versus ‘sports nutrition’ sources. As intensity ramps up in training, more calories can come from liquid/semi-liquid sports nutrition sources. Beyond 90 minutes, you also want to include electrolyte supplementation through drink mixes or tablets, and plenty of water (1-3 bottles an hour depending on body size, temperature and humidity).


Consuming calories following your workouts is essential for maximizing recovery, refilling energy stores, and readying yourself for your next session. The trick with recovery nutrition is understanding how much fuel (and what type) you burned in your workout compared to how much you replaced while working out. Far too often I see athletes sucking down ‘gels’ in the middle of an hour long session or finish a moderate session and then down a 300 calorie ‘recovery drink’ before going home for dinner and throwing down another several hundred more calories of food. This ‘train hard, eat hard’ way of thinking can make it difficult to achieve your goal body composition for competition. The goal with recovery nutrition should be to consume enough calories both during and following your session to replace the carbohydrates you used in order to refill glycogen stores. Your next meal will address the additional calories (if any) that may be needed to feel satiated. Here are some recovery nutrition guidelines for different training sessions. Keep in mind that your daily training load also affects your calorie needs (ie. the more sessions per day the more accumulation of calorie burn occurs).

  • Low to moderate intensity workouts under 90 minutes: little glycogen utilized. All you may need is a glass of electrolyte drink (low-calorie) and your next meal.
  • High intensity workouts of 1-2 hours: moderate to high amounts of glycogen utilized. Immediate 150-300 calories recovery drink, predominately carbs and 10-20 grams protein. Follow with next meal an hour after.
  • Low to moderate intensity workouts of 2-6 hours: with proper mid-workout fueling you shouldn’t dig too deep into your glycogen stores. All you may need is a glass of electrolyte drink (low-calorie) and light post-workout snack or drink. Followed quickly with your next meal.
  • Mid to high intensity workouts of 2-4 hours (races): high amounts of glycogen utilized (possible depletion). Immediate 200-400 calories recovery drink predominately carbs and 15-25 grams protein. Follow with carb-based meal when stomach is ready for it. Follow with potentially a second meal 1-2 hours after the first (more fats/proteins).
  • Monster workouts/races of 6+ hours: you’re likely depleted and dehydrated. It doesn’t really matter because you’ll need a few days to recover anyway…drink a lot and eat what ever the heck you want (without over eating!).
Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Looking for help with your training for 2015? Check out EPC’s Personal CoachingGroup Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options created to fit your needs and budget.