Posted on the Ultralist:
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 14:11:04 +1000
From: Tamyka Bell
Subject: Re: body fuel
Chuck Goetschel wrote:
> In preparing to run a 24hour race, I’m looking for your best suggestions
> regarding fuel to try during training.
> What food and drinks are most recommended?
I haven’t run a 24hr race, but I’ve run for over 28hr, and I’ve done up to 12hr on a gravel track. Most of the runners consume real food, supplemented with sports bars and gels.
I think the key is having enough variety that every time you come past your crew/table, something on the table looks appetising. You can have the most nutritious food in the
world sitting there, but if it’s not appealing, you won’t eat enough.
I always buy too much sweet food and not enough salty food but fixed that at the 24hr mountain bike race I did this weekend. I enjoyed dried salted meats, cheese sandwiches
and pickled onions most of all. I also love tinned spaghetti, savoury or sweet muffins, pancakes, potato, watermelon, creamed rice, tinned peaches and choc wheat biscuits (which aren’t as sweet as other biscuits). A variety of protein, fats and carbs are good – don’t just try to consume carbs.
For drinks… I use a cheap sports drink and supplement with gels or salt caps as I need them, and in late stages use coke as well.
> How much food and how much drink are recommended?
> Any time frames / patterns of consumption that you recommend?
As much as you can take on without feeling sick or slowing down too much. I find that a small serving often is the best way to do this – which obviously is easier if you have crew.
During my 12 hour race, I ate more in the first hour than some other competitors ate the entire time – each to his/her own. Keep in mind that you are likely to experience some
minor tummy upset (even just mild nausea can be off-putting) and therefore should eat whenever you can.
> Any special thoughts to avoid stomach cramps?
For me, as long as my gut never fully empties, I’m fine. These days I can’t even run a half marathon on an empty stomach or on gels and fluids. I need food in there, or else I get a sloshing effect that makes me feel quite ill. As long as I keep eating (even just a little bit) I never get stomach cramps and the food keeps going down and staying down.
As with everything in ultrarunning, nutrition is a personal one though, so you have to find what’s right for you. Have as many options present as you can during training, and see
which foods appeal to you. (And then on race day, maybe everything will change anyway, and you’ll want something entirely different.)