Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Effects of nutritional intake on performance in master athletes during an extreme ultra-trail

Felicina Biorci, Giovanni Cugliari, Marcello Lucchese, Marco Ivaldi



The purpose of our study was to monitor a well-trained master athlete who competed in the race, keeping under review his performance outcomes. TransPyrenea (La Grande Traversée des Pyrénées) is an Ultra Trail 13-16-d race, 866 km long, 53200 meters of elevation gain, performed for the first time in 2016, becoming the longest race in the world. At every checkpoint, a member of the team ascertained total macronutrients intake and body composition. A wearable device was used to monitor glycemia during all the race. The athlete completed the race with an average speed of 2.6 km/h, including 26 hours and 30 minutes of sleeping. Multiple regression analysis showed that the increase of the speed (β: 0.5 km/h, 95% CI: 0.07 | 1.02 km/h, p-value: .035 and β: 1.32 km/h, 95% CI: 0.53 | 2.11 km/h, p-value: .004) was related to the increase of one hour of sleep and one kg of weight respectively. This evidence could induce the use of specific nutritional supplements and the analysis of body composition on the management strategies of the race, with eventually the planning of a greater number of hours of sleep to acquire greater speed.


Nutrient intake; Body composition; Blood glucose; Sleep; Master athlete; Ultra-trail


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