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5 mistakes endurance athletes need to avoid for fuelling a successful workout

Having enough energy during your training sessions is essential for ensuring you can complete each effort at the level required. For training sessions with a duration of 60 minutes or more, consuming additional calories, particularly carbohydrates could be beneficial to support your performance and keep your energy levels high. Here are some of the most common mistakes stopping endurance athletes from fuelling their sessions efficiently.

Mistake #1: Not planning ahead

Putting a plan in place will help you prepare for your session better. Consider the duration, intensity, route, purpose of the training session and what the weather is going to be like before choosing how much and what you are going to carry. Avoiding this mistake is likely to set you up for success.

Mistake #2: Not bringing enough snacks

Once you are aware of the session and route details, it is easier to consider how much food you will need to take with you. Split your session in blocks of 40-60 minutes and consider what you are going to eat during each of those. A small energy bar, a piece of fruit, an energy gel or half a sandwich are all good examples of easy to carry snacks that will keep you energised.

Mistake #3: Not bringing the right hydration

If you rarely carry water, then we need to talk. Staying hydrated is fundamental for supporting your body in holding the effort. If you are likely to be near the cycle path and your training won’t go longer than 90 minutes, then relying on the water fountains can be enough. If you are going to be away in the bush, it is going to be hot and you are going to be out there for a while, then please consider carrying water and even better if you add some electrolytes. Having carbohydrates in addition to the electrolytes will also help support your energy intake needs.

Mistake #4 Using different products for training vs race day

In addition to keeping your body energised, fuelling during your training will get your stomach ready for races where you are also likely to need additional energy. If you know that what you use during your training works well for you, then it is recommended you continue with that on the day of the event. Yes, your stomach needs to get used to you eating while you are exercising but it also needs to get used to processing the specific foods or products you are consuming.

Mistake #5: Thinking you’ll eat back the calories

You burn calories while you exercise – that’s a fact. That said, it is unlikely to be the purpose of your training session. Not eating during your session because you are worried about eating back the calories you are burning will put significant stress on your body and make the session less efficient. Even worse – you are likely to finish the session feeling hungrier and potentially eating more.

If eating or drinking during your session is not something you are used to, make sure you start with something small and progress from there to allow your body and stomach to adjust to these changes.


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always check with your health professional before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting a new exercise routine to ensure their suitability for your individual situation.

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