~ Nutrition ~
We have had a lot of emails asking about nutrition, so we've popped together a few pointers for you.
You must carry all of your food and water for the day.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition. People have different requirements depending on their size, body composition, fitness level, exertion and taste requirements! It is important you work out what works for and sit well in your stomach during your training. For expert advise we recommend you see a dietitian.
Some general advise......... from non-experts!
Nutrition Pre Race:
Nutrition leading up to the event is super important. You need to ensure you are well hydrated and sufficiently carb loaded! "Carb loading" involves eating 8-12g of carbs/kg of body weight per day for 36-48hours leading up to an endurance event. It maximised the glycogen storage in your muscles and liver, proving an easily utilised energy source on the day of the event.
During the event:
- Experts recommend between 30-90g of carbohydrates per hour for exercise that goes for longer than 4 hours. (See linked AIS article)
- In general terms, this might be a mouthful of food every 20 minutes. Eg: A bite of a muesli bar, a few nuts and dried fruit, some pretzels, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate, a few lollies, an apple, home made Bliss Balls etc...
- Then something more substantial every hour like half a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, a protein bar, fruit puree, tuna and crackers, a fruit bun, a chocolate croissant etc.
For those of you who would like a more specific breakdown of carbohydrate/protein/fat intake, this article from the institute of sport has all you need to know!
- Variety is the spice of life, you don't want to make to rookie error of thinking 10 sweet protein bars or 10 gels will get you through, I can tell you from experience that 4 sweet protein bars in you will swear you are never eating another bar again! 😜
- Have a mix of sweet and savoury
- Have foods that are easy to swallow and digest
- Keep weight in your mind when selecting foods, remember you have to carry it all!
Get your minds out of the gutter people!! 'bonking' is a term used in endurance sports for hitting the wall. It is sudden fatigue and loss of energy which can come with a feeling of lightheadedness, confusion and a loss of will to walk! To avoid this, it is essential that you
eat regularly even if you don't feel hungry. If you start to feel sick, and stop eating, this is a sure way to hit the wall and not complete your goal of finishing the course.
It is very difficult to recover once you start bonking, so it is much better to avoid it!
Hydration is a key part of your nutrition plan. Adequate fluid intake is critical to avoid dehydration. You are required to be able to carry a minimum of 2L of water. You may need more than this depending on how hot it is, and how much you sweat.
When we exercise we sweat to cool down, through this sweating we loose water and electrolytes which need to be replaced.
Signs of dehydration include:
Fatigue, loss of power and energy
It is important to sip water even if you do not feel thirsty. Thirst is the body's first sign of dehydration and at this point you may be 2-5% dehydrated already. Small regular drinks is recommended throughout the day. If it is hot, you will need to drink more water.
Electrolyte replacement is also essential.
These can be replaced via gels, bars, drinks or dissolvable tablets. The choices are endless. A good strategy we have found is to have a water reservoir and a smaller drink bottle for liquid electrolyte replacement.
Again it is important to try different flavours and formulations while you are training, as you may find that some things don't agree with your stomach, or you don't like the flavour of a particular product. It is much better to find out during training rather than on the day!