Richard O'Connor from Madmule Fitness & Adventure Ltd in Poole came in to see the XMiles team regarding fuelling and Nutrition for a special solo challenge Century 4 Sanctuary
Running 100 miles 4 da mules (& donkeys)
Background to the challenge - The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary leads a global project to provide safe havens for these brilliant animals.
It is exactly 100 miles from Sandbanks ferry to the Sanctuary via the South West Coast path. Richard had been wanting to complete this route for 2 years and now is the time get out and get it done. With an accumulate 15,000ft ascent and the goal is to complete the distance within 24 hours. Tracked via GPS tracker so the route taken is official.
Eating on the hoof for a hundred miles
We asked Richard to share his story with a focus on fuelling the 100 mile challenge. Here's what Richard had to say;
Let's cut to the chase. There are a lot of products out there. Here's the breakdown of what I used for the 100 mile Century4Sanctuary
Electroride - essential electrolytes, ginger extract and 80 cals when mixed with 500ml water. (x9) Long Haul- peanut butter - 110 cals per serving and the rocket fuel required for a long haul! (x 6) Hill Aid- mango based - 100 cals per serving. (x 5) Macrarecovery- 150 cals per serving - protein enrichment. Took 4 of these during the session and convinced it played a big part in why I had no muscle soreness after the challenge. (x 4) Power rush- a kick of caffeine,90 cals per serving (x 3)
Several Tupperware with whole food was taken and eaten as a priority over and above dipping the hand into the cookie bags!
* 33 shake energy chia gels - weird and wonderful.
* Sweet potatoes with a dressing of mixed seeds/ crushed nuts. * Melon and strawberries mixed together with crushed cashews. * grapes and tomatoes * 500ml full fat plain yoghurt * macaroni pasta, pesto with broken up 100% beef burgers * 4 see through "cookie" bags for making pick n mix between checkpoints - fizzy chews/ all sorts: dark hazelnut chocolate: mixed nuts/ salted crisps: Jaffa cakes: only consumed a handful of the sugar products. Sucked the sugar, satisfied with a bit of sweet flavour then spat out most of the solids left.
* Tunnocks wafer bars. Damian Hall to thank for this pointer after he used and promoted their use in last years UTMB. Been eating them since I was young, and glad to make their acquaintance again. Great with a sip of hot coffee.
Keep the empties!
Keeping the empties has helped to assess performance, bring forward a plan that works, and:or ditch anything that hinders.
This was all about staying focused, keeping energy levels topped up, getting up the next day and learning what works for UTMB 2019
The plan for the calories to be consumed on the day was written in advance. To eat a minimum of 5500 calories and 6.5-7.5 litres of fluid from start to finish. I ended up consuming 6000+ cals and approximately 8 litres of fluid, mixed with Electroride or 10 drops of Elete, during a 27 hour time frame. A fine balance to be had when it comes to hydrating enough and keeping within limits that the body can process.
Monitoring hydration ensured there were no dizzy spells, no headaches, no moments of hallucination or clumsiness.
One does not simply flick a switch and the body returns to stasis. Finishing an endurance feat, and therefore stopping can in itself be the stressor that tips the balance. From experience, I have learned not to gorge and hydrate slowly.
Everyone will be different. Be consistent, prioritise rest with nutritional intake. I was pretty tired and it took 2-3 hours before I wanted to eat solid foods. A quick mix protein shake helps to start the recovery process, particularly if the gut is screaming for a break whilst it returns to normal function. Seek nutritional guidance from a nutritionist if in any doubt about your own body inefficiencies in absorbing and digesting. It is the key to a successful endurance challenge, above all else the key to health. I've had my red flags in the past and this is all taken to account now in order to recover, build and go again. 4 days post challenge my vigour, sleep patterns and focus were back to normal.
The indicator that tells me that the nutrition was in balance with the pace, intensity and demands of the day? No muscle soreness the next morning. Yes, I was tired and a couple of tiny points of inflammation from the repetitive downhill/ uphill/ mixed terrain pounding. The lack of muscle soreness tells me the protein, fats, carbohydrates, nutrients, electrolytes and fluid were enough for the body to operate and deliver expectation.
Eating what is necessary, is necessary. It does not matter how high up the ladder I want to climb. Poor nutrition will catch up eventually and cause a fall. It is easy to get quite high before the symptoms of poor nutrition begin to show themselves. The method is to address it at the first step onto the rung and take it to the top.