Fuelling for an endurance race

By Rupert Bonington
August 22, 2016

Having a nutrition strategy can make a huge improvements to your experience during and post events. At Mountain Fuel we have helped many runners from GB athletes to fun runners get it right. This is the experience of Oz Clark Fry who recently completed in the Lakeland 50 and despite breaking all the rules he tried Mountain Fuel for the first time at the event, this is what he had to say;

Usually I never do anything new on race day but had heard good reports about Mountain Fuel so I thought I would give it a try. They wrote down my plan for me, sorted out exactly what I would need for not only the race but pre and post race too.

The plan was:

The day before your event:
Slowly sip a sachet of energy in the afternoon
Have my usual supper (not trying to overload with carbs though)
Drink a Night Fuel before bed.

On the day:
Pre Race
Morning Fuel added to my porridge
Sip one energy drink on the way to the start.
During the Race
Fill 2 soft flask – 1 with water & 1 with your energy fuel. Repeated this at each check point until the finish.
Post Race
1 recovery sachet.

Not once did I bonk or feel tired. In fact, I actually felt stronger and stronger during the race. Went really well uphill and am usually good descending anyway.

It ticked all the boxes and I am sold.

As suggested as this was a 50 mile race I did use a bit of proper food along the way as well ( the odd peanut butter sandwich, when dogs weren’t stealing them off me!) but felt great. This honestly made my favourite race even better. Thanks guys. I will definitely be recommending this to all my runners at my club, not just because of their product, but because its also home-grown and how incredibly helpful and supportive they were to me.” Oz

Other things to consider:

Try to start sipping and snacking with small amounts within 30 to 40 mins of the off and look to have a variety of easy to access bite size snack food. This approach helps to keep you topped up and your stomach gently working which will help with digestion and avoiding your stomach shutting down.

Good combinations of snacks are cold pressed bars, roast sweet potato, soft beef jerky, oat based flapjack and if possible a selection of our home made mini Morning Fuel Pancakes and Energy Rice Balls as you can make up a variety of flavours. Try to avoid snacks that will become stodgy or dry and crumbly when you attempt to eat them with a dry mouth. Try snacks in training on a longer run and when you are running hard. Think variety of flavour, easy to absorb (the jerky doesn’t fall under easy to absorb and isn’t there to eat much of, it’s more to chew, suck and even spit out as the savoury element of it helps reset the taste buds). Everything should be taken as bite size, little and often but never large amounts, keeping the stomach gently ticking over and having a variety of tastes and textures should mean you don’t get as sick of the same taste.

For races where you expect to take 10 hours plus we would also suggest taking on a recovery fuel with water mid race as this will help replenish your muscles.

There are times even when you’re following a strategy that has worked for you in the past when your stomach simply shuts down, this can happen for a whole number of reasons but you can get through it. Slow your pace down, sip water and in time attempt small sips of your energy drink or your most digestible snacks, if you’re near a check point and they have soup, give this a go.

Try and avoid gels and simple sugar based snacks and drinks as they will give you an initial hit of energy but that roller coaster just gets deeper and will lead to your stomach struggling to take on food.

We can’t give you wings or promise that we are all you need to fuel all day but we can help provide a sustained energy release and effective recovery through products that taste great and are easy on the stomach.

Other great reads are:

From 42 pints in a week to 42 Peaks in under 24 hours!

Dave Troman’s Ultra Nutrition

Full X – World’s toughest triathlon

Sue Fawcett’s some things don’t always go to plan!

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