Trail Marathon Nutrition Plan

We've paid our entry fee, trained hard and bought all the gear but the thing that often lets people down is fuelling correctly on race day. Whether you are looking to smash out a PB, pushing your body to its limits or are just looking to get round and survive. Taking on board the right fuel, at the right time can not only help you have a better run but it can also help you feel better during and after your big race.

Our guide is focussed around our products, a tried and tested system that is used by European and World class athletes. They are not 'sponsored' athletes receiving free products, these are some of the world's best who purchase the system to get the very best out of their races so please read on and if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

In the build up
Eat as you normally would (avoiding  processed and fast food), ideally balanced meals based around fresh food you prepare yourself and get into the habit of sipping water throughout the day   to ensure you are fully hydrated.

Days before
In the days prior to an Trail Marathon it’s essential to ensure your system is as prepared as it can be, so our users often drink a Night Fuel in the evenings prior to an event as this helps to feed and nourish your muscles while you’re asleep and in your most restorative state.

Sipping an energy fuel the day before can also help with this process and if you have travelled, especially abroad then the vitamins and minerals in the energy fuel help to replenish your fatigued state. If you fly, drink plenty of water while you’re in the air to avoid dehydration.

Morning of the event
Avoid a ‘heavy on the stomach’ and large breakfast - we mean fry ups, too large a bowl of porridge etc. Having too much in your stomach is not going to help you when you start to run.  Go for a calorific but easy to absorb breakfast like Morning Fuel and supplement this with a banana and/or some seeds. Or simply have a FeelGoodBar as they are energy dense yet light on the stomach and are very nutritious.

Sip an energy fuel just after breakfast and on the way to the start line too. The alternative is to have a Sports Jelly 15 minutes before the race starts.

During the race
Preparation is key. Little and often will keep you going all day so you must practice this in training. Get used to having a sip of your drink every 15 to 20 mins, a nibble on your bar or a jelly every 45 mins to an hour on some of your long training runs.

From the start of your race you should be taking on board fuel from 20 minutes in, don’t wait too long or you are already chasing glycogen depletion.

A trail marathon is going to take longer than a traditional road marathon and this can vary depending on terrain. It’s always worth finding out about the course as technical terrain, steep up/down sections, boggy, wet or muddy sections can all slow you down but also have a big impact on energy used.

For a trail marathon we’d suggest investing in a race pack that can hold soft flasks or sports bottles in the pockets on the front. We don’t recommend ones like the traditional Camelbak where you fill up a litre or so of fluid and then have a long tube to drink from. The reason we suggest soft flasks or bottles is that you can physically see or feel how much fluid you have consumed and they are also easier to refill. Often an event will have a water station so you don’t have to set off with all your planned fluids, which adds weight, you can simply fill up enroute.

As examples of how we’d fuel we’d suggest the following strategies based on a number of times;

3 hours
1 x Soft flask/Bottle of Energy Fuel (40g) to be sipped on and drank in the first 2 hours
Mile 2: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 7: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 12: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 17: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 22: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)

46g carbs per hour plus the carbohydrates you consume prior to the race.

4 hours
1 x Soft flask/Bottle of Energy Fuel (40g) to be sipped on and drank in the first 3 hours
Mile 2: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 5: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 7: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 10: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 12: Mile 9: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 15: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 17: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 20: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 23: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)

45g carbs per hour plus the carbohydrates you consume prior to the race.

5 hours
2 x 500ml Soft flask/Bottle of Energy Fuel (2 x 40g) to be sipped on and drank in the first 4 hours
Mile 2: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 5: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 7: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 10: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 12: Mile 9: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 15: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 17: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)
Mile 20: ¼ of FeelGoodBar (10g carbs)
Mile 23: Sports Jelly (20g carbs)

44g carbs per hour plus the carbohydrates you consume prior to the race.

There’s lots of info out there about maximising carbohydrate intake up to 90g per hour but you have to have a well trained stomach and be vigilant as to intake, as too much fructose for example will end in a gurgling pit of misery. Your digestive and energy system also has to work hard to deliver energy in this way and when you’re working muscles and organs are crying out for blood flow etc on a longer event your body can simply start to shut your stomach down and that is when nausea, sickness and diarrhea can ruin your race.

We suggest that you aim for around 40g to 60g in a marathon, on occasion you will go a little over and other times under. Ultimately you can’t absorb more than 250 kcal an hour so if you keep adding in more than this you are going to get issues…

Little and often of each, don't overload the stomach, just keep it ticking over and replenishing glycogen. Remember there is an internal battle for blood flow and fluid when you exercise, particularly over longer distances and in addition to this weather conditions can also have a big impact (Running in the heat, Running in adverse conditions). Your working muscles and vital organs are first in line for blood flow so you need to make it easy for your stomach as it is last in line and will be shut down if you eat heavy foods or the wrong types of drinks that require the body to divert too much blood.

The Energy Fuel has a balanced carbohydrate mix to ensure you rapidly replenish glycogen while delivering a sustained energy release. Added minerals (electrolytes), vitamins and amino acid ensures that your muscles are replenished and fuelled for all types of effort and distance.

The FeelGoodBars are energy dense yet very light on the stomach (used by Crohn's and IBS users) and incredibly easy to eat as they literally melt in your mouth without the need to excessively chew or leaving a stodgy paste that’s impossible to swallow. The fact that they are gluten free also helps reduce stress on the stomach.

The Sports Jellies are refreshing, easy on the stomach (again used by Crohn's and IBS users) and contain electrolytes and unlike other gels you can rely on these to deliver your fast acting energy without worry of stomach issues or the need to drink lots of fluid with them, even on a hot day. You can also exclusively fuel on these if you find it hard on take on solids.

The finish
Yes you may want to collapse, chat to other competitors, loved ones etc but getting a Recovery Fuel in at this point will not only help you feel better sooner, it will also help offset DOM’s the next day and that painful walk down the stairs may just be that little bit easier!

You can also consider a Night Fuel that evening too, will help you sleep and replenish your tired muscles while you’re asleep.

Happy Running
Put simply the system and products work better than anything else out there. We have the countries and world's best runners as paying customers.

We have products that are very easy and light on the stomach, including gluten free and vegan options. We're delighted to have helped customers who have Crohn's and IBS type conditions to enjoy their running again, as finally they have a convenient and effective fuel that doesn't upset their systems.

Good luck and have fun and let us know how you get on with your next event.

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