Race Report - Suffolk Trail Ultra - Gemma Carter - 2015
I start increasing the percentage of carbohydrate in my diet a day or two before race day. The breakfast before is normally porridge with honey and dried fruit + nuts. This is usually 3 hours before. I supplement this with a pre race snack 30 to 60 minutes before which is often a sports bar. I regularly use Torq products and my favourite and their Torq bars. There are many flavours, I don't get bored. My favourites are sundries banana and organic mango.
It completely depends on the race as to what fuel I am using. The shorter the race, the more of a bias there is to 'artificial' products such as gels and bars. The longer, the more I will balance this out with real food.
The main factor is speed; faster running demands greater carbohydrate usage. Additionally the longer the race, the more fuel generally you'll need and for me personally a large amount of gels doesn't sit nicely on its own.
On this race, I fuelled regularly roughly at every checkpoint (7-10 miles, 60 minute intervals) with mixture of food provided from the race (sweets, crisps and whatever else I fancy - I don't keep it too strict). Additional to this, I kept on my an emergency gel and bar for it mid race, if I needed something instantly. About 30 miles in I took a caffeinated gel (Torq gel) to give me an extra kick for the latter miles.
Hydration wise, I am old school and keep it simple with water. The issue with drink products is that if you don't agree with them and don't want to drink them, then you have no other option. I find sometimes getting the right drink is tricky and electrolyte drinks can often turn my stomach. Water is simple and easy to refill and you can then leave your electrolyte and carbohydrate decisions to your food choices. Flat coke occasional gets a look in if my stomach is upset as it seems to do the trick!
I always aim to refuel instantly with a carbohydrate and protein source (again torq bars usually do the trick but often a pint of milk is the best source being liquid form). I say I aim to, I often slack on this due to distractions!
Later on my main focuses would be rehydrating and refuelling - carbohydrate in the first hour being a priority but later on proteins. My favourite post race meal being an enormous omelette with a jacket potato + chips - simple food for the stomach and tastes amazing (anything does after an ultra!).