HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ULTRA-TRAIL

Ultra-trails require extreme physiological, physical and mental capacities. Your nutritional strategy will play a deciding role in your success and there are several aspects to take into account.

.

RACE PROFILE

Learn your ultra-trail's route off by heart, especially the landmarks (villages, rivers etc.). If you know what to expect and what kind of challenges you will face, you will be able to work out when you need to eat. Take advantage of the less technical sections to eat, thus pre-empting the difficult parts.

WEATHER

Remember to check the weather forecast for the day and location of your race, as warm weather will increase the risk of dehydration, and could even upset your digestive system. The wind is another important factor, as even a light breeze could dry out your mouth. Therefore, it's a good idea to anticipate these two aspects, and plan your food and drink accordingly.

REFRESHMENTS

Check your ultra-trail's website, where you will probably be able to find out which nutritional product(s) will be used as refreshments. Wherever possible, check how well you tolerate these products, because you may not tolerate them as well as your usual products. Ideally, you should use these products when you train, as well as those you are more used to, and which you may prefer.

While on the race website, check where the various refreshment stands (or water points) will be set up so you can calculate how many bars and/or gels you need to take, and ration your water bladder if necessary. If you eat and drink properly during your race, obviously it will help prevent physical weaknesses, but it will also help you stay concentrated and alert.

nutrition-ultra-trail

FOOD DURING THE RACE

Start eating and drinking from the first 30 minutes, as an ultra-trail is an extremely long physical test and it will be hard to make up for any deficiencies further along the line. Give yourself an action plan, for example:

·        Two mouthfuls of isotonic drink every 15 minutes, such as the Aptonia ISO (for trails under three hours) or Aptonia ISO+ (for trails over three hours).

·       One energy bar every hour, such as those in Aptonia's Ultra range (Nougat Bars, Almond Bars, Fruits Bars or Fruits Jellies for variety).

·       One energy gel: start by taking short-distance Energy Gels every 45 minutes to an hour. When you have completed three quarters of the race, change to long-distance Energy Gels (every 45 minutes to an hour). You can also take the gels when the going gets tough, and at 30 minutes from the finishing line. If you have a huge slump in energy, you can take an Aptonia Caffeine Shot for example, which will give you a caffeine and carbohydrate boost (not suitable for children or pregnant women, and with a maximum of one shot per day for athletes): it acts as a real stimulant and can also be used just before the race starts. The product contains vitamins B6 and B12, which also help with fatigue reduction.

After each gel or bar, always remember to take a mouthful of your drink to make digestion easier. When you follow this kind of protocol, you are ensuring an intake of around 60 g of carbohydrates for each hour of running.

During training, get into the habit of eating and drinking from the start to the end of your sessions to ensure your digestive system is accustomed to working while you exercise. This will also make it easier for you to keep up a series of training sessions and avoid certain injuries.

EQUIPMENT

A good water supply is obviously an essential part of your kit. Organise your kit efficiently by putting your compulsory equipment (survival blanket, rain jacket etc.) in a closed pocket and by using the most accessible pockets for your refreshments as you will need them frequently.

 

Etienne

Etienne

I've been an athlete all my life, and a triathlete for five years. I prefer long distances (marathons, Ironman® etc.). My proudest moment was being the first French athlete to finish during the 70.3 world championships in September 2017 in the United States. I am also a dietician-nutritionist alongside my work at Decathlon, and I work with many different athletes on their sports nutritional preparation. Exercise and the right diet? Two (excellent) ways to stay in shape!

CHECK OUT THESE TOP TIPS

Advice
prepa-10-km
You can run for fun or race over a variety of distances. Whatever your event, diet is very important and mustn't be overlooked. However a diet will not be the same for a 10 km compared to a marathon.
Advice
triathlon-debut
Any physical effort involves energy expenditure that must be counterbalanced. Energy gels are composed of nutrients and micro-nutrients to satisfy the needs generated by effort. The goal is to delay the exhaustion of energy reserves and thus delay fatigue during effort.
TOP OF PAGE