Posted by Jacqui Bell in Sports Performance
Estimated reading time: 6mins
So 5 days – 265kms in Slovenia through the Vipara Valley and over the Julian Alps, this is the event I just tackled and boy did it test me. This wasn’t my first of these treacherous endurance events, it was my 9th multistage Ultra Marathon.
My biggest revelation… it never gets easier; I just go harder and what comes with this is the need to focus on the 1%’s so that my body and mind can keep up with my drive to continually push myself.
When you are alone out there in a race for hours on end you really find out what you are made of and must learn quite quickly how to adapt to every type of situation.
What happens when your mind starts to tell you your legs hurt?
What if you begin to feel nauseous and can’t take in any calories?
How do you react when you take a wrong turn and add 5kms onto an already 60km day?
You fall over, it hurts, no one is around to pick you up and dust you off?
I have learnt to be in tune with my body, to know when to push, when to pace myself and how to keep my mind from wavering throughout my races. Blocking out those negative thoughts in races took a lot of practice/hours in the desert but is something I can utilise in everyday life too.
I did over 350,000 steps, shred through over 25,000 calories, and ran up hill the equivalent of running up and down Everest 1.5 times. The hardest part of all was spending on average 7-8 hours out there each day in temperatures that got up to a toasty 32+ degree and then settling into camp for the night, sleeping on the ground in a tent and then backing it up again day in day out.
So I want to chat a little about what is needed to stay in my most optimal condition all week. I will outline below what I do to fuel myself before, during and after each day so that I wake up ready to rip in again the next morning.
Quick Oats Porridge with a tablespoon peanut butter.
Protein Shake pre run – this helps during the multi-stage events to aid in muscle repair, reduce fatigue and soreness after back-to-back big km days.
I prefer liquid fuel during my runs + gels + sometimes an energy bar. My go to fuel in my water bottles is Bulk Nutrients Electrolyte Plus which is perfect for long distance events and tastes really good! I have the tropical flavour and it helps keep me hydrated by replenishing my glycogen and electrolytes as I sweat a lot during the long days.
I am eager to try the Electrolyte Caps too as they will be ideal when I don’t have time to top up powder into my water bottles.
This is the MOST important – within 30 minutes of crossing that finish line each day my #1 priority is to get a recovery protein shake into me + replace the electrolytes I have just lost.
Blend of carbs, protein, amino acids and electrolytes. Helps with my rehydration and reduces muscle soreness so I can be ready to wake up and give it my all again the next day.
Consists of a dry packed meal of some sort that I add boiling water to, this meal ranges from 600-800 calories. A hot chocolate before bed is always a nice way to wind down in my sleeping bag and sleeping mat before trying to doze off by 8:30pm before awaking at 4:30am the next day to race again!
It has taken a long time for me to find what works exactly right for me with my nutrition, but it really is such a personal preference. In racing and outside of it I think nutrition I like to try and tick 3 boxes when I fuel myself.
The reason I have touched on the importance or fuelling well and balance is because there is such a misconception that runners can ‘eat whatever they like’ – Yes, you are now burning more calories as you increase your training but it is important to respect your training and put goodness back into your body.
I like the saying ‘the human body is like a high-performance race car… maybe a Ferrari… if you don’t put premium fuel into the Ferrari it will burn out and break down’.
So you may not want to go and run 250kms but you might be tempted to try a 10k or half marathon event, how do you go about this?
I am pumped to be newly joining the Bulk Nutrients team and implementing these supplements into my training and recovery which I believe will take my racing to a whole new level.