Fuelling for Adventure & Multi Sport Races


by Marewa Kraak August 23, 2017

If you're out training for an upcoming adventure or multi-sport race, it's time to start thinking about your race day nutrition. A solid plan will ensure you have enough fuel on board to get you through the day whether you are tackling a short or a long course distance.  You've done your training for fitness and technical skills, but getting your nutrition right on race day can account for about 80% of your performance.  Even the fittest athlete will suffer on race day if they don't fuel their body correctly.

Here are some tips to help you plan for the ultimate race day experience.

 

Hydration

Aim: approx 750-1000ml per hour

  • Sports drink such as PURE Electrolyte Hydration is a good choice here to ensure you are getting carbohydrate (to fuel muscles) and replacing mineral salts (lost in sweat) to help prevent cramping and maintain energy levels.
  • Different weather conditions mean different requirements. Be prepared by carrying more hydration than required, especially if it is hot. But don't forget that even is cool weather you need to stay hydrated.  
  • Start drinking early and small amounts frequently to avoid stomach discomfort (set a watch alarm and practice this in training).
  • Whatever discipline you're doing be conscious of the need to drink (even if you don't have two hands readily available!). 
  • Hydropacks or hydration bladders are a great option while on-the-go, but remember you can't visualise how much you are drinking so check that you're meeting your hydration targets (drinking to thirst doesn't prevent dehydration, particularly during the longer events).  
  • Don't forget to mix your sports drink up as per the directions.  There are several reasons a sports drink concentration is formulated as it is, including speed of absorption and hydration. If you dilute the strength, you are simply diluting the performance of the product - so make sure you choose a drink which you enjoy the taste of at full strength.
  • Protein can also be useful to help the muscles during long stints (2 hours and over) and can be added to your hydration. This is where PURE Endurance Formula can be handy as it has added Whey Protein Isolate to support muscle function during extended endurance events.  It can also help with energy levels & stomach 'fullness' if you aren't able to readily access real food during your race.

    Carbohydrates

    Racing up to 3 hours: 30-60g per hour

    Racing over 3 hours: 60-90g per hour

    • If your carb aim is over 60g per hour ensure that your carbs come from different sources (so your body is able to absorb the high amount required). For example glucose/sucrose (PURE Electrolyte Hydration, lollies), maltodextrin (PURE Fluid Energy Gels), fructose (fruit) and more complex carbohydrates (Em's Power Cookies and real food options).
    • While fast absorbing sugars are great for energy, be aware that having large amounts over a long time may cause stomach upsets. To combat this, mix up your fuel sources and be sure to include real foods into your plan (remembering it's vital to practice your choices in training to see what works for you, and everyone will be different!).
    • Start early and spread your intake out evenly over each hour. Some disciplines are easier to eat while doing so make the most of these opportunities e.g. hiking.
    • Lay out your foods before the race to ensure you have enough carbohydrates per hour of racing (plus extra). Use food labels and the carbohydrate guide to work out carbohydrates per serving.

     

    General Tip and Tricks

    • Practice your nutrition plan well ahead of race day during your training so there are no surprises. A solid plan can be the difference between having a great day and a miserable day.
    • Confused about carb loading? (aka having lots of carbohydrate in the days before the event so your muscles store them as fuel). Increase your meal servings by 25% during the 36-72 hour period before the event, and add 1-2 extra snacks each day, such as an Em’s Power Cookie or a Pic’s nut butter sandwich. Over this time aim for 3-4 bottles per day of PURE Electrolyte Hydration. This helps to pre-hydrate for race day as well as provide the extra grams of carb required for an effective carb-load.
    • Remember you may be skipping meal times (particularly 6 and 9-hour events) so be sure to include foods containing protein and a small amount of fat to curb hunger and help support muscle function. Again, Pic's Peanut butter is a great addition here, providing protein and good fats to fill you up. 
    • Training with real food will help train your body to handle real food while on the move.
    • Cut and repackage foods/supplements into bite sized pieces that are easy to get to and easy to eat (snap lock bags are great). It's a good idea to allow for one snap lock bag per hour so you know what you need to get through each hour, but know in advance roughly how many carbohydrates each bag will provide.  Use the nutritional panel on the back of your food to help you with calculating this.  Make sure you consume your zip-lock bag of food during each hour - it's a great visual reminder on keeping your nutrition plan on track during the event.
    • Allow for a change of taste buds. Have savoury and sweet options at each transition, you might just be surprised with what works well for you on race day (and sometimes your favourite foods can become your worst enemy).  Don't be afraid to have lots of options available to you in your transition gear bag, and simply select what you want before you head onto the next stage.
    • It can be easier to eat real foods earlier on in the race vs. once you're tired so don't be afraid to incorporate food into your plan early on. 
    • Add caffeinated gels or Coke to the latter half of your race to get a little extra kick (PURE Fluid Energy Gel in Raspberry has 30mg of added caffeine, about 1/3 cup of coffee).

     

    Carbohydrate Guide

    Food/Fluid 

    Approx grams of Carbohydrate 

    Em's Power Cookies/ Bars (80-85g)

    50g

    Em's Power Bites (30g)

    20g

    750ml PURE Electrolyte Hydration 

    40g

    PURE Fluid Energy Gel 50g

    25g

    Medium - large Banana

    30g

    1-row rice crackers (In a 4-row pack)

    20g

    2 slices of white bread (sandwich) 

    30g

    5 Jet planes

    30g

    40g Jelly babies

    30g

     

     

       

      Example Race Day Nutrition Plan: 3-hour event

       Timing Aim Example Notes
      3-4 hours pre race
      Low fat/fibre Breakfast with high carbohydrate content
      • Cereal
      • Yoghurt 
      • Toast/ fruit toast/ muffin split
      • Fruit/ fruit salad
      • Fruit juice/ chocolate milk. 
      • Pasta or rice based meal
      Practice your choice before long training sessions
      Race morning 
      500-750ml Fluid
      Sip away pre race (starting as soon as you wake up) to hydrate and top up muscle glycogen (fuel) and salt levels) 
      1-2 hours pre race
      Snack 
      Helps to prevent hunger and provide some last minute energy/ muscle fuel top up
      5-15 min pre race 
      Sugar top up
      Energy hit for once the start gun sounds
      Hour 1
      750-1000ml Fluid
      Start drinking early and spread intake over hour
      Hour 1
      30-60g  Carbohydrate
      Spread out over hour 
      Hour 2
      750-1000ml Fluid
      Hour 2
      30-60g  Carbohydrate
      • 750ml PURE = 40g
      • Em's Power bite = 20g
      • 2-3 jet planes/ gel = 10-25g

      Good time to consume caffeine. Allow for extra carbs in case you don't meet your hydration aims

      Hour 3

      750-1000ml Fluid
        Incorporate PURE Electrolyte Replacement Capsules if you are prone to cramping
        Hour 3
        30-60g  Carbohydrate
        Recovery (within 30min)  Protein + carbohydrate  Keep up the hydration in the hours after especially if planning a few well-earned drinks. 

         

         

        Example Race Day Nutrition Plan: 6 or 9-hour event

        Timing Aim Example Notes
        1-4 hours pre race Low fat/fibre Breakfast with high carbohydrate content
        • Cereal
        • Yoghurt 
        • Toast/ fruit toast/ muffin split
        • Fruit/ fruit salad
        • Fruit juice/ chocolate milk. 
        • Pasta or rice based meal
        Practice your choice before long training sessions
        Race morning  500-750ml Fluid Sip away pre race to hydrate (starting as soon as you wake up) and top up muscle glycogen (fuel) and salt levels) 
        1-2 hours pre race Snack  Helps to prevent hunger and provide some last minute energy/ muscle fuel top up
        5-15 min pre race  Sugar top up Energy hit for once the start gun sounds
        Hour 1 750-1000ml Fluid Start drinking early and spread intake over hour
        Hour 1 
        60-90g Carbohydrate  
        Mix up carbohydrate sources
        Hour 2  750-1000ml Fluid Incorporate PURE Electrolyte Replacement Capsules if you are prone to cramping
        Hour 2 
        60-90g Carbohydrate  
        Hours 3+
        750-1000ml Fluid
        Ask for your support team to cool your hydration on ice if the weather is warm
        Hours 3+ 60-90g Carbohydrate   Plan for extra carbs (especially if you are not meeting your hydration aims). Plan to take caffeine at least an hour before you think you will "need" it. 
        Recovery (within 30min)
        Protein + carbohydrate 
        Keep up the hydration in the hours after especially if planning a few well-earned drinks

         

        Any further nutrition related questions? Get in touch with one of our experts: 

        Marewa Sutherland (Kraak), Sports and Exercise Nutritionist (Bachelor of Applied Science BAppSc) and Co-Founder of PURE Sports Nutrition.

        Email: marewa@drinkpure.co.nz 

        Emily Miazga, M.Sc. Clinical Nutrition, Certificate of Proficiency Advanced Sports Nutrition, 3x Coast to Coast Champion and Creator of Em’s Power Cookies.

        Email: emily@powercookies.com

         




        Marewa Kraak
        Marewa Kraak

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