HOW TO FUEL FOR AN ULTRA MARATHON By Kristian Morgan
When you’re running for 5 hours plus, your body needs sustained energy. To accomplish this you need to fuel correctly. Planning what breakfast you have on the morning of the race and when to eat it is crucial for your success. A breakfast that supplies BIG calories is mandatory.
If you’ve travelled to the Ultra and are staying in a hotel, you may have no access to a kitchen. So what do you do?
I always choose Expedition Foods. Their breakfasts (High Energy Serving) supply a whopping 800 calories. All you have to do is open the packet, add water and you’er good to go. They taste great and leave you feeling satisfied and content. Test your meals at home first, this way you will find out what your favorites are. Expedition Foods have a large selection of meals to choose from, catering for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. There are breakfasts, lunch and dinners as well as puddings and snacks. As the name suggests you can plan an entire nutrition program for any expedition.
How long before the Ultra should I eat?
I make sure I finish breakfast 2 hours before the start of the race. This way your body will have plenty of time to begin the digestion process and you will not begin running with a full stomach.
30 minutes before the start
Before the race I carry a water bottle around with me and take regular sips. Half an hour before racing I feel nervous and burn extra calories so I find a snack helps. Half a banana or half an energy bar works a treat.
During the race
Every person is different - what works for me during a race is to divide each hour into specific food and drink times. This works on two levels:
1. You will stay hydrated and have energy to run long.
2. Your mind is occupied with the task of maintaining the routine - this helps you stay focused and on top of your game.
One hour food and drink breakdown
Every 10 minutes - I take a few sips of water or carbohydrate drink, which I carry in a water bottle. I use an Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek race vest to hold my bottles.
Every 20 minutes - I eat a piece of Clif bar, these can be bought from the Expedition Food website. I cut the bar up into 6 pieces so 1 bar will last 2 hours.
Every 60 minutes - 1 Gu gel and 1 salt tablet.
Over the period of 1 hour I consume approximately 300 calories, this is also about the same amount of food your body can metabolize.
After the race
Waiting for me in my drop bag after a race is a recovery drink, which contains about 20g of Protein. This aids recovery and the trick is to have your recovery drink within 1 hour of finishing your race.
Marathon des Sables
This is a multi-day stage race, in which you must carry all your own food and camping gear for 7 days through the Sahara desert. A minimum of 2,000 calories is required per day. Carrying this amount of food is only possible by choosing high calorie meals which are not bulky. This event and ones like it are what Expedition Foods are designed for. The meals are tasty, with a full range to choose from including meals such as Pasta Carbonara, Chicken Tikka and they also have vegetarian options. You can choose between standard, high or extreme calorie content per meal. I opted for 450 kcal breakfast, 800 kcal lunch and 800 kcal dinners to get me to the finish line at Marathon des Sables.
When racing ultras I push my body beyond conceivable limits. I run hard and fast without compromise. The formula for winning ultra marathons is:
Consistent high quality training
Recovery and good nutrition
Choosing Expedition Foods has helped me to win many races in the past and will continue to do so into the future. If you want the best choose Expedition Foods you will not be disappointed.
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