DaznBone Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Ultra Events Part 1
Before we get into our Top 10 tips - that has come from a) a lot of running + eating especially ultras and b) a deep love of asking questions and doing research on nutrition in training and races (plus we've run surveys, are ambassadors for @peakpinole who champion real change in endurance nutrition and coach of course!) - one key admission - Daz eats meat and Bone doesn't.
Why does this matter.
Well daznbone strives to give you a balanced view. We don't like diets and we are not obsessed about things like weight and food fads/quick fixes because we want what we do and the advice that we share with you (and that you share with others) to be accessible to new runners as well as those who want to compete in long distance races. So you also have the fact that Bone is the science nutrition student - part way through his BANT course - whereas Daz has habitually put nutrition pretty low down his priority list. So no doubt you fit somewhere along this happy spectrum and we can make the advice work x
PIC: Bone getting excited about Melissa Hemsley personally serving up a dish x
Please do leave your thoughts in the comments below. Good healthy feedback on this subject and questions will allow us to add more and more good content to help you with your food and drink + running choices aligned with your goals/races = healthier you - which is what we want to see.
1. Hydration - Above all else you need to drink water. The science is pretty hot here. On long runs (see point 7 for Heat Tip) you need to drink and we recommend that you have a water + drink fuel approach. Many friends use TailWind but try some others in training like my favourite Maurten - pick what works for you. TT - When it comes to water, remember that the body can only really absorb around 750ml of fluid an hour.
2. Food Zone Portables - food that you make at home might not 'travel' well (in the SDW 100 this year we trialled some new energy balls - unfortunately the consistency of them meant that when we took them out of our race vest they looked like a turd - tasted ok though!) DaznBone are big fans of real food and so we love trying things we love eating at home and seeing if they work on the run.
3. Highway to Gel - Gels you either love em or you hate them. What #daznbone will say is that they are a good fit for ease of use and getting the calories. Most races have gels on offer and if there is one thing other runners will have spare if you get desperate is a gel. So its definitely worth trying out all the different brands and varieties before you abandon them. Some have a high caffeine content and these definitely don't suit all. SIS gels are quite inoffensive in our opinon. Tailwind make some interesting flavours like Matcha. Also Maurten are gaining traction and Bone loves em.
4. Savoury could be your Saviour - There appears to be quite a "low bar" with food choices in the running/ultra world and none more so than what is put out on the 'aid stations'. If you want biscuits and crisps and jelly babies and gels then you will be well served but what if you are (literally) sick of sugary products. For many what's missing is some useful savoury options. Great choices would be slow-release carbs like salted potatoes, good anti-inflammatory picks like nuts and
5. Listen to Dr Bob Hearn - the world of ultra-running as we now know it is really only a few decades old and yet there are still some wise old owls that are worth listening to. One of these is Bob. Bob is a legend in the trade. He's run for Team USA and travelled around the world competing in road and trail ultras. Bob is also super-smart - a tech engineer of the much respect and a real student of running and the key indicators. Bob shares some wisdom: "For the past year, I've trained low-carb high-fat, essentially not eating carbs during training.
This sounds counterintuitive for running long – isn't it all about the carbs? But actually, it's an increasingly popular training regimen these days, followed by many of the top runners. The basic idea is that you train your body to burn fat more efficiently. You can only store about 2,000 calories worth of carbs in your muscles and liver, but you carry essentially unlimited fat reserves. Normally you can't burn this fat fast enough, so the typical ultrarunner will try to take in something like 300 calories per hour in a race. This can get challenging after 50 or so miles, especially if it's hot, and more blood is diverted to the skin for cooling. The stomach and gut can't keep up; nausea is common. But since becoming adapted to this training, having experimented in many races, I've discovered I can get by just fine on 75-100 calories per hour, which I can easily get from just drinking a bit of Coke now and then – a totally minimal load on my digestive system"