When it comes to race day nutrition just keep it simple. If your race is less than 90 minutes, you probably don’t need to eat on the run. If it is hot and/or humid you can drink some water or electrolyte drink along the course, but proper training, a balanced breakfast a few hours before the start, and regular hydration leading up to the event should get you through a 15 to 90 minute run or race without the need for additional aid.
Less Could be More: How Much to Eat During an Ultramarathon? Figuring out the nutritional side of ultramarathoning has been an ongoing enigma for me over the years, as it is and has been for many others in the sport. When I first started competing in long distance running events, the conventional wisdom that was passed down to me was that one should attempt to consume at least 200-300 calories per hour in order to maintain a decent level of performance.
It seems every year we’re presented with the same holiday eating battles and challenges, yet we know exactly what to expect. We hear all of the same tips to “stay healthy”! The truth is a little indulgence goes a long way, while deprivation tends to backfire. Instead of setting hard “no this” or “none of that” rules, it’s better to approach with caution and mindfulness. Treat your eating habits just like you do your running and training – plan ahead and be flexible!
Question 1: What are the most important training foods in your daily diet? Responses: -My morning oatmeal and coffee – actually, I could do without my oatmeal, but I gotta have my coffee. -Whatever veggies I dump into my stir fry. -Oatmeal, fruit, salad. I eat those things almost religiously. -Complex carbs. Lots of good carbs. -My Total cereal for extra iron, lots of fruit, whole wheat pasta, and bagels of course!
Would you like salt with that? ABSOLUTELY! I was at mile 23, feeling good and closing in on a victory in the Logan Peak 28 miler when I felt that dreaded twinge in my lower calf. I desperately reached into my pockets trying to find any source of sodium. There was none. Having mismanaged my sodium intake throughout the race, I painfully hobbled to the finish. I lost by 90 seconds.
As runners, it is so important for us to get the nutrients our bodies need. What we put into our bodies is like the fuel injected into a race car. Regular gasoline may not be sufficient to perform at our best. Greens are a powerful fuel to give us nutrients, antioxidants and even proteins we need to go farther, faster, leaner and healthier. We see greens as beneficial, but do we really understand how much?
How to eat and when to eat it! Race day nutrition is highly individualized and often times the general rule of thumb is, “If it tastes OK in training, chances are it won’t work in a race. If it tastes great in training, it might work in a race.” Because racing situations greatly magnify and change the taste of all food and drink, it is important to remember that the best source of calories and fluid for a race comes from those that you can get down and keep down.
The sun is brighter, the days longer, and the air more humid. Oh yes, it’s summer time. Unlike most runners, I enjoy running in the heat. During the summer you will often find me logging long miles in the heat of the day. For some reason I like the intense heat. It probably goes back to my early days of running when I believed that training in the extreme heat would make me that much better when the races were in the morning and it was cooler.
Fueling has and always will be a tricky subject as it is something that is usually quite personal. Every person’s body reacts differently to fueling while running and therefore what works for one person may not work for another. In this article I won’t attempt to try and tell anyone ‘what to eat’, but instead focus on two simple and generally all-encompassing principles: Learn to Fuel and When to Fuel.