Nutrition for the Birkie

The 49th Annual American Birkebeiner events begin Wednesday, and ahead of the race, Alex Larson, a dietitian and nutrition coach for endurance athletes, shares what to fuel up on.

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“The Birkebeiner is 50 to 55 kilometers. That’s a long race. So you need to make sure that you’re fueling really well for it,” Alex tells us.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday leading up to the Birkie, carb loading is recommended, “Our muscles actually can store energy in them for future exercise so you want to put as much as energy possible in advance of the Birkie.”

She recommends 70-80% of your calories be carbs.

“What’s unique about cross country skiing is you’re out there in the cold. Certain fuel products that you normally would use like bars and energy chews are really tough to eat when it’s really cold out.”

Alex suggests using a gel that you can store close to your body to keep warm.

There may be other items offers throughout the race. Birkie will likely have goo gels, oranges, bananas, electrolytes, sandwich cookies, and water.

In between aid stations, bring more options with you.

There’s more information available on Alex’s website.