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Nutrition for Trail Running

Nutrition for Trail Running

Trail Running Nutrition

Fueling your trail run is crucial for sustaining energy levels and optimizing performance, especially during extended sessions lasting 60 minutes or more. As you traverse rugged terrain, your body depletes its glycogen reserves, the primary fuel source. Failing to replenish glycogen adequately can result in fatigue, diminished focus, and a decline in pace.

Energy gels and drinks serve as essential tools for refueling during trail running. Gels offer concentrated doses of carbohydrates in a compact, easy-to-consume format, ideal for quick boosts of energy on the go. Meanwhile, energy drinks deliver carbohydrates in a more diluted form, providing a steady stream of fuel with each sip. Aim to ingest between 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour from gels and/or drinks when tackling trail runs lasting over 60 to 90 minutes. This replenishment strategy will help sustain your stamina and keep you performing at your peak amidst the challenges of the trail.

Energy Gels for Running


Energy Drinks for Running


Energy Bars for Running


Recovery Drinks for Running


Hydration for Running


Prioritize hydration before and during your trail runs to maintain peak performance and avoid dehydration. Aim to consume up to 500ml of fluids 2-3 hours before your run to ensure adequate hydration levels. During longer trail runs, target hydration intervals of 100 to 200ml every 20 to 30 minutes to replace lost fluids. While water suffices for shorter jaunts, opt for hydration drinks on trails lasting over 60 minutes to replenish crucial electrolytes lost through sweat.

To maximize recovery after your trail run, focus on replenishing both carbohydrates and protein within 30 to 60 minutes post-run. Aim for a protein intake of 0.3-0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight to support muscle repair and growth. Convenient options such as recovery drinks or recovery bars provide a quick and effective means of refueling. By promptly replenishing your body's nutrients, you'll alleviate muscle soreness and lay the groundwork for future trail conquests with enhanced strength and endurance.

Trail Running Nutrition: Insights

Nutrition for Trail Running: FAQs

How should I fuel before a trail run?

Aim to consume a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats 2-3 hours before hitting the trail. Opt for easily digestible foods like oatmeal, yogurt with fruit, or a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread. Additionally, hydrate adequately by drinking up to 500ml of fluids during this time.

What should I eat during a long trail run to maintain energy levels?

During extended trail runs lasting over 60 minutes, rely on easily digestible carbohydrates to fuel your body. Energy gels, chews, and snacks like bananas, energy bars, or pretzels provide quick bursts of energy without weighing you down.

How can I prevent dehydration during trail running?

Stay well-hydrated before and during your trail runs by drinking fluids regularly. Aim for 100 to 200ml of water every 20 to 30 minutes, especially on hot or humid days. For runs exceeding 60 minutes, consider hydrating with electrolyte drinks to replace lost minerals.

What should I eat to recover after a challenging trail run??

Within 30 to 60 minutes post-run, refuel with a combination of carbohydrates and protein to aid muscle recovery and replenish glycogen stores. Opt for options like chocolate milk, protein shakes, or a turkey wrap to provide the nutrients your body needs to recover efficiently.

Are there any specific nutrition considerations for trail running in different weather conditions?

In hot and humid weather, focus on replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat by consuming electrolyte drinks or salty snacks. In colder temperatures, aim to consume warm, carbohydrate-rich foods like soup or oatmeal to fuel your body and maintain core temperature.

How can I avoid stomach issues during trail runs?

To minimize the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort, avoid consuming large meals immediately before running. Experiment with different types of fuels during training to identify which ones work best for you. Start with small, frequent sips of fluids and gradually introduce solid foods as tolerated.

Are there any tips for carrying fuel and hydration during trail runs?

Invest in a hydration pack or belt to carry water and snacks conveniently. Opt for lightweight, compact options like energy gels, collapsible water bottles, or hydration tablets to minimize bulk. Practice using your chosen gear during training runs to ensure comfort and efficiency on the trails.

What are some general tips for nutrition and fueling strategies during trail races?

Prioritize familiar foods and hydration methods that you've tested during training to avoid surprises on race day. Plan your fueling strategy based on the race's distance, terrain, and expected weather conditions. Stay adaptable and listen to your body's cues to adjust your nutrition plan as needed during the race.

Choosing the Best Trail Running Fuel

You can utilise our complimentary nutrition calculator to determine the precise amount of fuel required for your upcoming. Our free tool is designed to assist you in planning your nutritional intake, ensuring that you have the optimal energy levels to perform at your best during the event.

By inputting relevant details such as your training intensity, body weight, and the duration of your run, our calculator will generate a personalised nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs.

Take the guesswork out of your fuelling strategy and enhance your performance with our user-friendly nutrition calculator.