What Should Marathon Swimmers Eat And Drink?

What Should Marathon Swimmers Eat And Drink?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In a series of posts on nutrition for open water swimming, Evan Morrison (here, here and here) and Donal Buckley wax poetically and passionately about nutrition and marathon swimming. They explore, inquire and ponder a number of issues, ideas and information.

The World Open Water Swimming Association will ask medical experts like Dr. Peter Attia and researchers on nutrition from the American College of Sports Medicine, the following less-scientific questions in order to add to the ongoing discussions among the marathon swimming community:

Dr. Attia will give a free online lecture on his findings, experiments and recommendations for optimal nutrition for swimmers on Monday, November 14th at 10 am Los Angeles time, 1 pm New York time, 5 pm GMT.

1. How do you or how can you judge what is the optimal nutrition? Do you judge it by (1) athletic performance – which can have a number of variables including sleep and mental outlook, (2) life span, or (3) quality of life?
2. Are the nutritional needs of marathon swimmers different during training and on race day?
3. Do nutritional needs change with the water temperature?
4. Do vegans or vegetarians have any advantages over carnivores?
5. Are the same nutritional recommendations appropriate for someone who has yet reached maturity, someone in their 30s, someone past menopause, and someone who is competing at the Olympic level?
6. How does coffee or caffeine play into the equation? What about beer or hard alcohol? What about red or white wine in moderation?
7. Who prepares the recipes for optimal nutrition for marathon swimmers?
8. Can any food or specific healthful nutrition plan make humans more adaptable to extreme water temperatures, either warm or cold?
9. Can “healthy” foods give you the same psychological boost in a tough marathon swim like chocolate can?
10. What is better for marathon swimmers in the middle of the channel – bananas or peaches?
11. Is it possible to burn as much fat while training in the water as you can on land?
12. We hear about the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and the Mediterranean Diet. What about the Japanese diet? The people in Japan have the longest average life spans in the world. What is their secret? Are there any secrets in a Japanese diet that can help open water swimmers?
13. People say that marathon swimming is 80% mental and 20% physical. If we assume that is true, what percentage of the physical is nutrition?
14. Maxim is the preferred and proven nutritional supplement in the English Channel. What makes it ideal?

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones