Survive your First Ultra: Nutrition Rituals

Survive your First Ultra: Nutrition Rituals

Race day jitters. For many, it is a natural phenomenon of competition. Nerves are flying as you check in and gather your number, safety pins and pack last minute snacks and essentials. Months of preparation and sacrifice have led to this moment. There are so many variables out there. One of the most frustrating ones can be not hitting your ideal nutritional needs.

Having a turned stomach can break your race. It becomes impossible to focus on anything other than cramping pain, uncertainty about whether or not you are going to need to go to the bathroom in a barren desert wasteland, forfeiting hard earned minutes on your pace. Having a dialed in regiment of what to eat when and how much can really change things. It takes most folks a couple races to work out their perfect system of what they like to eat when and in what quantities. Here are five key tips for simple nutrition whether you are running your first 50k or 100.

  • Eat Early on race day and give your body adequate time to digest, go to the bathroom and execute your morning rituals.
  • Eat often, even when you don’t feel like you need it. I usually try to go no more than 45 minutes or an hour without some food. I have found that Ritual Energy bars come in extremely handy throughout the race, especially towards the end when your stomach has had enough but you need a jolt and some inspiration.
  • Hydrate when you eat by washing everything down. I have found that striking a balance between simple and mild electrolyte mixes go best with small quantities of food. Sip, don’t chug.
  • Small snacks are key. Opening a gigantic pack of something or a huge bar is often more than you are going to want to chew while you are on the go making up precious time on the course.
  • Caffeinate for the final push. Moderate amounts of caffeine coupled with efficient calories can contribute to enhanced focus and increased longevity. Often, all of the hard work of a race comes down to the last few miles of “the kick” when you need to maintain or secure your position in the pack on the way to the finish line.
  • On top of honing a balanced pyramid of training that has a foundation of strength and conditioning, tempo runs and hills, culminating in maxing out mileage and eventually tapering before a race, coming into a race with a nutritional plan sets up runners for success and is critical for any endurance activity. Putting natural ingredients in your body, challenging your mental and physical endurance while stacking up the miles is the essence of the joy of ultra-running. Eat well, race hard.

    Looking for some races? For folks in the Southern California area, try the Old West Trails 50k, a beautiful jaunt through Anza Borrego State Park.

    The San Diego 50 brought to you by Offroad Pursuits starting at San Dieguito River Park with some fast hills, open stretches and


    Photos by Brian Erickson and Ritual Energy

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