Nutrition and trail: Before, during, after


Trails are nature running races performed on marked trails and paths. They require consistent effort and races range from 20 to 160km for the longest ones. Whether you simply aim at enjoying nature or want to achieve performance, an appropriate nutritional strategy before, during and after the trail can make a difference and help you achieve your goal.

Here is the advice of Marie, nutritionist for Aptonia

5 – 6 weeks before the trail: A balanced diet

Make sure that you have a strict balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Do not miss any meals and eat at regular times

  • Meat, fish, eggs: Once or twice per day
  • Starchy food: At each meal
  • Dairy products: 2 to 3 per day
  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 5 per day
  • Fat: vegetable fats are preferable in reduced quantities,
  • Sugar: limit consumption
  • Obviously, drink as much water as you can.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption. For your information, alcohol produces acidity in the muscle and therefore increases the risk of injury and does not promote recovery.

D-7: Hydration and Carbohydrates

  • Increase your carbohydrate intake (pastas, rice, semolina,etc) in order to maximize your stored energy
  • Reduce your consumption of fat meat(pork chop, pork rib, lamb chop, mutton, etc)
  • Drink as many fluids as possible

D-3 and D-2: Boost with maltodextrin

  • Increase your carbohydrate intake again with maltodextrin (1 to 2 bottles of 500ml / day). The maltodextrin intake will increase the glycogen intake without modifying your diet habits.
  • Limit the intake of raw fruits and vegetables, because they are rich in fibre and can speed up bowel movements.
  • Keep well hydrated

D-1: Day before the trail

  • Increase your intake of maltodextrin to 2 bottles of 500ml in the day,
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • The night before's meal should include mainly starchy foods. It must be light, in other words avoid adding fats (butter, cream, sauce, etc) This meal must not cause digestive discomfort, so you should avoid certain foods such as legumes, starchy foods from wholemeal flour, spicy foods.

Meal idea:

  • White fish
  • Pasta
  • Green beans
  • Yoghurt and/or fruit puree
  • Water

H-3: preparing for the start of the trail

The last meal must be effective, high in carbohydrates, and easy to digest (limit fiber and fat). It should be taken 3 hours before the start to ensure it is properly digested.

Its main aim is to maximise energy reserves.

Beakfast idea :

  • A hot drink
  • Super cake : It's an energy cake, high in carbohydrates and especially easy to digest
  • Fruit juice (if well tolerated)

During thetrail: Hydration and energy intake are required


  • Avoid dehydration
  • Avoid hypoglycaemia and the complete exhaustion of energy reserves
  • Compensate for vitamin and mineral losses
  • Avoid digestion problems.


'Hydration is a priority. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Appropriate hydration will improve the performance. Your drink should not be too cold to avoid upsetting the stomach.

Several solutions for avoiding hypoglycaemia:

  • Use energy drinks (but this requires carrying a water bladder during the race)

  • Use energy gels: easy to take and practical to carry. They need to be consumed with water. Ideally they should be taken before each refreshment break and for the final ¼ of an hour of the race. Make sure you have gels for the difficult parts. Using a gel just before a difficult part will help you go through it.

  • Eating energy bars: Chewing during the race can be restrictive, so take along products that are easy to chew.

After the trail Irecover for a better restart


  • Compensate for water losses,
  • Restore vitamin and mineral losses
  • Restore energy reserves.


It is important to rehydrate as soon as you have crossed the finish line.

If possible choose a recovery drink that includes carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, to compensate for the losses due to the race. Proteins to facilitate muscle recovery.

Secondly, make sure you eat some carbohydrates (energy bars, dry fruit, fruit, gingerbread, health food biscuits, etc.)


To avoid digestion problems on the day, during training sessions you should test the products you will be using for the race. Indeed, the type of food consumed during a trail is a very personal choice.

Marie Fauchille
Dietician | Nutritionist
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