Nutrition advice for 100mi ultra


mocca93

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I just got off of the Whole30 program and am now on my second round--really like the way I'm feeling. However, I've run into a bit of a dilemma. I completed my first 100k last weekend and had some GI/nutrition issues during the race. The main problem being I didn't want to eat anything at the aid stations (the usual sugar/salty buffet). Normally I use Hammer Nutrition (Sustained Energy) to help keep me going but even with that I fell behind in my nutrition and I just couldn't get back on top of it--it was bad news bears. Everything I ate made me feel like crap. I have my first 100mi race coming up next month and I really need to get this issue dialed in before then.

Do you have any suggestions for some calorie dense foods that I could be eating that are somewhat bland and easy on the stomach? Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't done the big 100 running, but I've done a couple 50's a few Ironman, ultra mountain biking (many) etc. I try not to do packaged sports stuff period (especially hammer, blech!). I use water or nuun and salt stick tablets. For food I would have everything available you could want, bananas, grapes, salted potatoes (yes salt is good for you especially as an ultra athlete) potatoe chips, lunch meats, trail mix, chicken broth, nut butter. I make "energy balls" out of almond butter, dates, coconut and process it all together and roll it into balls and put into baggies. You really should be going at a low enough intensity for these things that digestion really shouldn't be a problem.

The number one reason people drop out of ultras is gut issues, most people don't eat enough and then end up gorging and their stomach can't handle it or they eat too much the whole time. Or they just plain go out too fast. Just don't get ahead or behind. Personally if I invested that much time into a 100 miler I would also allow myself to astray if I felt my body needed it. Pizza, m & ms, cookies, coke I've found even though I don't train with these items they have never given me problems during a race because I won't eat a ton of it, just enough to get some calories in me. Definitely post afterwards, I'm interested to hear how it goes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips :) I had some potatoes and some fruit, but the potato chips were too much for my taste buds--it was weird as I'm (or used to be) a BIG potato chip fan. I like the idea of the energy balls, I'll have to try those out.

The reason I use Hammer is b/c sometimes I just don't feel like chewing and I know I need the calories so I drink them. Sustained energy is tasteless and has a 7:1 (or thereabouts) carb:protein ratio, which as you know, you need when you're doing these long events. In addition, I use Endurolytes for my electrolyte replacement. Other than that I try to use real food--which is where I was running into some issues. I agree with you about letting myself go "astray", the only problem was I had no desire to eat any of that stuff (whole30 success ;)). I may have to cut myself a bit of slack and reintroduce a few things for the next 5 weeks. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Thanks again!

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine is an ultra runner that slants paleo. His old blog is here: http://sstrains.blogspot.com/ and he has a ton of good information about how he's tweaked his nutrition for his runs. He's moved blogs, and I can't speak to that content, but I do know that budget and time restraints have forced him to add some neolithic food choices back into his rotation...which isn't necessarily a terrible thing. It's goal dependent. If health and longevity are your priorities, you should keep that stuff out. If performance and convenience is a priority, it's probably worth looking at once you're done with your Whole30

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mocca93- I would suggest switching from endurolytes to something with more salt (there is hardly any salt in those). I use salt stick and that cures any nausea/sour stomach I have ever had during long events. The research (except from Hammer's opinions) out there supports salt replacement as helping performance. I used to be a full-time endurance coach so this is coming from a somewhat knowledgable background.

I think it's great that you don't even want non-compliant foods, you can probably do without you just need to figure out what works for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Sorry for the tardy response, but thank you all for your suggestions. Re: endurolytes/salt. I agree with Hammer in that you need to be sure to replace all of your electrolytes, not just salt, and I would be interested in reading some of the research that you mention MtnRunner. Keeping the body in balance is always a challenge and the Hammer fuels seem to have worked for me--especially in hot weather when I don't feel like eating. I do agree, however, that there is less salt in Endurolytes than say Salt Sticks, but I am still consuming enough with the salt/potatoes at the aid stations to make up for that difference. Having too much salt in your system, as you well know, can also cause serious problems. Tbh, that's one of the things I love about endurance events, you always learn so much about your body! Thanks again!

Renee, thank you for your suggestions as well. I'll have to check out that blog. As you may know, unless you have a crew at an ultra you are pretty much limited to your drop bag (which you may not see more than once) and what is being provided at the aid stations. In my case, I did not have a crew and although I did try to stay as healthy in my choices as I could be, sometimes you just need to eat no matter what.

Thank you both for your comments! I appreciate it :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to see other endurance athletes like me here! How did the 100 miler go for you? I'd enjoy hearing what you did for nutrition. A 100K or 100M is still another year off for me (at least) but I'm already thinking about how I'd do it.

I've found that alternating "real food" and "fake food" works great for me in ultra running. Real foods include bananas, cooked sweet potato, dried unsweetened mangoes, and the date/nut energy balls like MtnRunner mentioned. Fake foods for me include gels and Powerbar bars. Another thing I'll do is take Sustained Energy diluted to a batter consistency in a flask and flavor it with a gel. Yuck, but it works. In higher paced races like ironman triathlons, the alternating gets to be too much for my stomach and I'll eat mostly fake foods.

In the end, I'll eat whatever I need to finish but that is the general trend I follow. If I eat just real foods, my stomach gets heavy and full-feeling. If I eat just fake foods, I get the highs and lows of energy and never feel satisfied. So this blending works for me. Real foods also provide more satisfaction and variety, because after 6+ hours you mind just says "ugh another gel!?" and besides they all taste about the same anyway!

I've also found that my hydration plays a big role during races and training. This year I started drinking a LOT more than I used to and many issues I'd previously attributed to foods disappeared.

Outside of training and racing, I do Whole30 compliant foods. The way I see it, Whole30 helps me train, recover, and get to the line ready to go. But I will do fake foods as needed to reach my race goals. I've been Whole30'ing for over a year now, but found that when my training gets intense or over 15hrs/week eating just Whole30 within training doesn't cut it for me. I can't recover and have no "zip". But I'm going to try again this year to train and race on as few fake foods as possible.

As for salt, I chose the Powerbar energy gels because they have higher electrolytes in them. But I'm still experimenting with electrolyte levels and what I need. I don't seem to have problems with them. But at my last 50K I was craving salt so bad I was taking half bananas and rolling them in the salt bowls just to get salt in my mouth!!

I'd like to hear what others in endurance sports do!

Happy New Year!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the good insight. I've completed several Ironman races along with a number of Endurance Mountain Bike races and am also looking for some good advice. I think the first step is to weigh yourself Pre and Post workout to see how much your sweating and them come up with with a formula to see how much electrolytes and fluids you need. I sweat a lot during my races/training and require between 45-50 ounces of water every hour. I've used a product called Infinate and it seemed to have worked well up until I started the whole 30 and it has given me some stomach issues. One of the upsides with Infinate is you can custom order it and add or subtract the amounts of Carbs, Protein, Sodium, etc to where you want it. I have been experimenting with Succeed S caps and water which seem to be working fine. There's another product I've been experimenting with called Vespa. It's supposed to help the body metabolize fat better. I've used this several times for a shorter training ride (2 hours) and felt better after and the next day but the jury is still out. Alot of Ultra Runners swear by it. Let me know what everyone thinks and would love to hear thoughts on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.