Nutrition Guide - Ultra


Race Day Fuelling - Nutrition Guide

Click the images below to browse the guides or - GO BACK TO THE NUTRITION GUIDE

Ultra Running - Race Day Guides 

The ultra nutrition guide needs to be viewed as a very high level resource to base your nutrition planning on. With an ultra being any distance from 26.2 upwards your nutrition requirements will vary dependant on distance, terrain and a number of other factors. However we have produced the guide to show you which products can provide the fuel required to take on these epic challenges.

Ultra - Single-Day

The single day ultra normally covers a distance of 35 miles to 100 miles and everything in between but also covers timed racing such as 12 hour and 24 hour events.

Pre-Race

Ultras can start anytime during the day or night so ensuring you are well fuelled with your meal-planning in build-up to your run is key.

When we tackle the pre-race nutrition options (in this guide it is the last meal pre-race), we want to ensure the body is ready and fuelled and that we have a plan to maintain that energy level throughout the event. The main goal is to try to keep your body's energy level as constant as possible with minimal peaks and dips but this can be difficult during ultra runs.

If you are travelling to your event, a great way to start you pre-race fuelling is to use Mountain Fuel's Morning Fuel, even though the name suggest morning this product can be utilised as a pre-event meal at any time of the day! It has been designed to provide nutritional balance, be light on the stomach and be quickly absorbed. Depending on your event you could add seeds, fresh/dried fruit and even a small handful of oats if that takes your fancy. However, bear in mind that you want to start your event primed and ready to go and not with your stomach still working overtime breaking down those extras.

Mountain Fuel - MORNING FUEL Mix it hot or cold with your choice of water or milk.. Ready to eat in 15 seconds..!

Morning Fuel is quick and easy to prepare (taking just 15 seconds to make). It is nutritionally loaded and balanced and can be mixed hot or cold with your choice of water or milk.

However most of you will have your preferred routine and favourite pre-race meal and it will be will be something you have practiced over time, but if you are new to running or your diet is an area you need to improve, a great resource for fuelling to train and race, selecting meals and diet planning to optimise training is to read TRAINING FOOD and or FAST FUEL: FOOD FOR RUNNING SUCCESSRemember getting your diet right will have massive impact on your performance.

Also, pre-race hydration is vital so use a energy drink to hydrate and keep your fuelling constant, especially when travelling or when early race briefings are in place. Ideally start your drinking up to four hours but no shorter than one hour in advance of your race. Start sipping, swilling and swallowing your energy drink to get the maximum benefit - by drinking earlier and slower the more time the body has to absorb it and maximise performance. Plus you want to empty your bladder pre-race so stopping the intake 1 hour before will let your body process the fluid. 

TAILWIND NUTRITION Tailwind is perfect for fuelling on the go. Complete calories, electrolytes, and hydration: Ditch the gels, chews, and pills, and go all day with just Tailwind.
Mountain Fuel Xtreme Energy - BLACKCURRANT \ TROPICAL - XTREME ENERGY FUEL CONTAINS ALL THE ESSENTIAL ELECTROLYTES FOR OPTIMUM BIO-FUNCTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU STAY ALERT AND KEEP CONCENTRATION LEVELS HIGH AND AVOID THE FATIGUE.
NUUN ENERGY - HYDRATION - nuun energy elevates your hydration where the levels of caffeine and b vitamins give you a boost, and help maintain higher levels of energy. The caffeine is sourced from green tea extract.

And for the coffee lovers among us a pre-race boost with a controlled caffeine hit can be obtained with TrueStart performance coffee

During

For ultra running you are normally kitted out to carry your fuel, or you can leave supplies with your crew or at manned aid stations on the route. This allows greater options especially when carrying a pack with soft-flasks or a bladder with the bonus extra pockets for storage whist still being cautious to avoid having to carry excess weight.

While fuelling your hydration and electrolyte intake are important factors, having a nutrition plan that will give you the best chance to complete your race is key! Your fuel needs to be easy-to-take and provide a guaranteed energy source.  A high percentage of ultra runners are now obtaining their base fuel intake via an energy drink, the main benefit being the ease of consuming, sipping throughout the event rather than having to chew and eat solid food, something that can become increasingly difficult during the later stages of the event. Therefore for those of us who currently suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels or solids this could be mean a breakthrough in performance. 

There are two main fuelling systems that contain everything you need in a single fuelling source. One option is Tailwind Nutrition, with Tailwind you can make up your bottles or bladder from a pouch (30 or 50) serving and also have the option to carry the individual 2 serving sachet, these are ready to rip open and mix into a 500ml flask, easy at aid stations and will fuel you for  up to 1 hour with a single 2 serving sachet.

TAILWIND NUTRITION TAILWIND IS PERFECT FOR FUELLING ON THE GO. COMPLETE CALORIES, ELECTROLYTES, AND HYDRATION: DITCH THE GELS, CHEWS, AND PILLS, AND GO ALL DAY WITH JUST TAILWIND.

Another popular option is Mountain fuel again available in a pouch (30 servings) or single serving sachet. with the same convenience as Tailwind a sachet can be made up at an aid-station mixing into a 500ml flask fuelling you for 1 hour.

MOUNTAIN FUEL XTREME ENERGY - BLACKCURRANT \ TROPICAL - XTREME ENERGY FUEL CONTAINS ALL THE ESSENTIAL ELECTROLYTES FOR OPTIMUM BIO-FUNCTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU STAY ALERT AND KEEP CONCENTRATION LEVELS HIGH AND AVOID THE FATIGUE.

Both Tailwind and Mountain Fuel are designed to be total fuelling systems, meaning you can race all day without any other source of fuel. However many runners like to add solid fuel into their regime with chews and bars. Or even take the odd gels to give that much needed boost.

Gels - GU, Torq, Powerbar, Mule Bar + More
Chews - Clif Bar, Torq, GU + More
Bars - Torq, Mule Bar, Chia Charge, Clif Bar + More

There are a number of other drinks available from Torq, Nuun & GU that will give you fuel with electrolytes and can be used effectively with solid fuels such as gels, chews and bars plus the other treats that are available at the well stocked aid stations.

Torq - Drinks, Bars, Chews & Gels
Nuun - Active - Electrolyte - Boost - Caffeine & Electrolyte
GU - Drinks, Gels & Chews

The main thing with ultra racing is to be prepared for the unexpected, anything can happen on race day. Try products to find what works for you and plan for the race. BUT be ready to be flexible during the race as it could be the difference between a FINISH or a DNF.

Post-Race

It is crucial that you refuel as soon as possible after running such a demanding event, a combination of recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your event and some solid food.

Recovery Drinks
MOUNTAIN FUEL ULTIMATE RECOVERY FUEL - CHOCOLATE or STRAWBERRY
TORQ RECOVERY DRINK - SACHETS or Pots

However no matter how good your recovery drink tastes to get the maximum benefit DO NOT drink it too quickly, savour the drink and your body will have more time to absorb it.

As this is post event your solid food can be anything and normally something you are craving, but if you know you will have to wait to get your finishing banquet make sure you have a recovery snack easily accessible to get food into your body. Try a recovery bar or energy bar, they are perfect for this and can be left ready in your post race kit bag.

Recovery Bars
TORQ RECOVERY BAR
MULE BAR RE FUEL - PROTEIN RECOVERY
CHIA CHARGE PROTEIN BAR
Energy Bars
TORQ ENERGY BAR
CHIA CHARGE FLAPJACKS
CLIF BARS - ENERGY BARS
MULE BAR ENERGY BARS
BEET-IT SPORT FLAPJACKS

Ultra - Multi-Day

The key with multi-day running is fuelling to run and fuelling to recover and be ready to go again. There can also be added constraints where you might need to carry all your fuel for the event so weight becomes very critical.

Diet planning and eating to recover and fuel for multi day events will be something you need to practice and you will understand your body's requirements over time. Getting your diet right will have massive impact on your performance and recovery. A great resource for fuelling-to-train and race, selecting meals and diet planning to optimise training and racing is to read TRAINING FOOD and or FAST FUEL: FOOD FOR RUNNING SUCCESS.

Pre-Race

Dependant on the format of the event you might have different start times, by day / night, by grouped starting wave or an earlier planned start for longer stages. The key is to have a tried and tested pre-race routine.

In this guide we have suggested products that are easy to carry whilst being the best nutrition options available to ensure the body is getting the fuel it needs.

Mountain Fuel's Morning Fuel, is designed to provide nutritional balance, be light on the stomach and be quickly absorbed. Available in 30 serving bags or single serving sachets it is easy to store and carry.

Mountain Fuel - MORNING FUEL Mix it hot or cold with your choice of water or milk.. Ready to eat in 15 seconds..!

Morning Fuel is quick and easy to prepare, taking just 15 seconds to make. It is nutritionally loaded and balanced and can be mixed hot or cold with your choice of water or milk.

Hydration can be more complicated if you are restricted to a daily quota, but normally this is not the case and keeping hydrated and ensuring you are taking on electrolytes is key to your race and recovery preparation for the next day's racing. Using a energy drink to keep you hydrated and your fuelling constant, start up to four hours pre-event but no shorter than one hour in advance of your race, the maximum benefit is obtained from drinking consistently, as you sip-feed your fuel the body has longer to absorb it and maximise performance. Tailwind and Mountain fuel are ideal as you can keep drinking throughout the day and keep a balanced energy level.

TAILWIND NUTRITION Tailwind is perfect for fuelling on the go. Complete calories, electrolytes, and hydration: Ditch the gels, chews, and pills, and go all day with just Tailwind.
Mountain Fuel Xtreme Energy - BLACKCURRANT \ TROPICAL - XTREME ENERGY FUEL CONTAINS ALL THE ESSENTIAL ELECTROLYTES FOR OPTIMUM BIO-FUNCTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU STAY ALERT AND KEEP CONCENTRATION LEVELS HIGH AND AVOID THE FATIGUE.
NUUN ENERGY - HYDRATION - nuun energy elevates your hydration where the levels of caffeine and b vitamins give you a boost, and help maintain higher levels of energy. The caffeine is sourced from green tea extract.

For the coffee lovers among us a pre-race boost with a controlled caffeine hit can be obtained with TrueStart performance coffee, again available in sachets so easy to pack and carry and good hot or cold.

TRUESTART - 20 SINGLE SACHETS - Quick to make with hot or cold water, Conveniently pre-portioned & portable - take with you on the move, 95mg of natural caffeine per sachet
During

In multi-stage races you are normally kitted out to carry your fuel, this allows greater options especially when carrying a pack with soft-flasks or a bladder with the bonus extra pockets for storage whist still being cautious to avoid having to carry excess weight.

A drink based fuelling strategy allows you to maintain a constant energy source containing your fuel needs plus covering your hydration and electrolyte intake. Your fuel needs to be easy to take and provide a guaranteed energy source, if you struggle to keep your fuel down or become dehydrated this can have the worst possible outcomes to your race.  A high percentage of ultra runners are now obtaining their base fuel intake via an energy drink, the main benefit being the ease to consume, and to carry. Taking on solids can become increasingly difficult during the later stages and can also affect you the next day, therefore for those of us who currently suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels or solids this could mean a breakthrough in performance. 

There are two main fuelling systems that contain everything you need in a single fuelling source. One option is Tailwind Nutrition, with Tailwind you can make up your bottles or bladder from a pouch (30 or 50) serving and also have the option to carry the individual 2 serving sachet, these are ready to rip open and mix into a 500ml flask, easy at aid stations and will fuel you for  up to 1 hour with a single 2 serving sachet.

TAILWIND NUTRITION TAILWIND IS PERFECT FOR FUELLING ON THE GO. COMPLETE CALORIES, ELECTROLYTES, AND HYDRATION: DITCH THE GELS, CHEWS, AND PILLS, AND GO ALL DAY WITH JUST TAILWIND.

Another popular option is Mountain Fuel. Again, available in a pouch (30 servings) or single serving sachet. with the same convenience as Tailwind a sachet can be made up at an aid-station mixing into a 500ml flask, fuelling you for 1 hour.

MOUNTAIN FUEL XTREME ENERGY - BLACKCURRANT \ TROPICAL - XTREME ENERGY FUEL CONTAINS ALL THE ESSENTIAL ELECTROLYTES FOR OPTIMUM BIO-FUNCTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU STAY ALERT AND KEEP CONCENTRATION LEVELS HIGH AND AVOID THE FATIGUE.

Both Tailwind and Mountain fuel are designed as total fuelling systems, meaning you can race all day without any other source of fuel. However many like to add solid fuel into their regime with chews and bars or even taking the odd gel to give that much needed boost.

Gels - GU, Torq, Powerbar, Mule Bar + More
Chews - Clif Bar, Torq, GU + More
Bars - Torq, Mule Bar, Chia Charge, Clif Bar + More

There are a number of other drinks available from Torq, Nuun & GU that will give you fuel with electrolytes and can be used effectively with solid fuels such as gels, chews and bars, plus the other treats that are available at the well stocked aid stations.

Torq - Drinks, Bars, Chews & Gels
Nuun - Active - Electrolyte - Boost - Caffeine & Electrolyte
GU - Drinks, Gels & Chews

The main thing with ultra racing is to be prepared for the unexpected, anything can happen on race day. Try products find what works and plan for the race. BUT be ready to be flexible during the race as it could be the difference between a FINISH or a DNF.

Post-Race

More than ever this is a key point in your nutrition, not only to recover from the stage you have just completed but to support your recovery and preparation for the next day. It is crucial that you refuel as soon as possible after running a marathon, a combination of recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your event and some solid food.

Recovery Drinks
MOUNTAIN FUEL ULTIMATE RECOVERY FUEL - CHOCOLATE or STRAWBERRY
TORQ RECOVERY DRINK - SACHETS or Pots

However no matter how good your recovery drink tastes to get the maximum benefit DO NOT drink it too quickly, savour the drink and your body will have more time to absorb it.

A recovery bar or energy bar is the perfect for getting a quick and easy source of solid fuel back into your body.

Recovery Bars
TORQ RECOVERY BAR
MULE BAR RE FUEL - PROTEIN RECOVERY
CHIA CHARGE PROTEIN BAR
Energy Bars
TORQ ENERGY BAR
CHIA CHARGE FLAPJACKS
CLIF BARS - ENERGY BARS
MULE BAR ENERGY BARS
BEET-IT SPORT FLAPJACKS

Make sure you have planned your recovery meals, A great resource for fuelling to train and race, selecting meals and diet planning to optimise training and racing is to read TRAINING FOOD and or FAST FUEL: FOOD FOR RUNNING SUCCESS.

Need Assistance?

If you are still not sure what products you should use, why not send us a message using our 'Ask the Team' service and we will respond to your request within 24 hours.