Fuelling 100 miles

This blog comes in reply to some of the queries I’ve had along the lines of: “Well what did you eat while running 100 miles?”

So here it is – the full run down of what I chowed down while running 100 miles – however, before I divulge the dirt (and dirty food it is ;-)) there are a few provisos:

1) We are all unique, what works for one person may well not work for another.
2) I have a cast iron digestive system aside from the fact it doesn’t do artificial sugar (so gels are always a no, no) which mean I can pretty much bung anything down my neck and get away with it.
3) I eat a balanced yet varied diet in every day life, which is low in processed sugar, high in wholegrains, high in fresh fruit and veg, and high in unsaturated fats. I don’t function well on much protein. No foods are totally out of bounds (aside from goat’s cheese which is just yukky) but I consume very little meat. Come race day I want that processed sugar high, my body to respond to the rush, and run along.
4) We returned to drop bags at 30 and 70 miles. Between times, while there were well stocked checkpoints, I did not want to be overly dependent on them.

All bagged up and ready to go...just realised I had garibaldi biscuits... seriously, I wish I'd remembered those and eaten those during the run (can't remember the last time I had a garibaldi!).

All bagged up and ready to go…just realised I had garibaldi biscuits… seriously, I wish I’d remembered those and eaten those during the run (can’t remember the last time I had a garibaldi!).

In preparing for the Waterway 100 (yup it’s without the ‘s’ at the end), I had been training in Qatar with the final two weeks prior to the event in rural Spain; as a UK expat I get excited by fully stocked supermarkets. I’m the archetypal kid in a candy store when I see the blue T of a Tescos store and with 100 miles to run I went for the ‘I’ll have a little bit of everything option, wow, look at that, I can’t remember the last time I had that..’, which thanks to my strong stomach I got away with – probably not recommended 😉

Without further ado here’s the food intake run down:

* 4 Nakd Bars – a staple for me. I was carrying more which returned to Qatar to boost dwindling supplied in the country. (Yes, dates are grown extensively here and we have been known to make our own version of the bar, although it wrecks food processors.)
* 4 Babybel – totally untested pre-race as it’s not something I would ever fancy in the heat of the desert but I knew I’d need an easy to process protein, which for me lactose definitely is, and these went down well.
* 3 rounds of peanut butter and jam sarnies – two carried by me and one picked up at a checkpoint. Again, a staple. I often eat these pre-training run. Nuts are clearly my protein/ fat of choice.
* 1 family pack M&Ms mixed with 2 packs Honey Stingers and 1 family pack of Midget Gems – tasty sweet variety mix and all UK borne
* 1/3 pack cashews, 1/3 pack salted peanuts mixed with 1 family pack Hula Hoops – tasty salted variety mix
* 3 further packs of Hula Hoops – I fancied more salt and these crisps travel better – again rarely found overseas.
* 8 slices, unbuttered Malt Loaf – classic endurance fuel and not found easily overseas.
* 1 Pepperami – again, totally untested but I knew I’d need something filling late night. As expected it didn’t sit really well and I wish I’d bought more cheese.
* 2 Oreos – picked up at a checkpoint (not for me).
* 4 bananas – picked up at checkpoints and another staple.
* 1 satsuma – picked up at a checkpoint and a mistake as I had to walk after eating.
* 4 litres of water with elete electrolyte added
* 2 litres water
* 1 litres coke (something we do have in abundance and a regular long distance, ‘I feel like I’m going to die’, run pick-me-up
* 1 coffee with milk and sugar
* 1 tea with soya milk and sugar
* 2 low fat chocolate milks (on returning to drop bags)
* 1 bowl Big Eat soup (on returning to village hall after 70 miles)

So yup, I’m a greedy guts! I can’t be bothered to calculate the calories in but I’d reckon there’s a good 2,000 KCal there 🙂 But following the rule of thumb 100KCal per mile burn definitely a deficit, which is to be expected.

I had no stomach discomfort whatsoever which I put down to my HR and core training. Keep the HR low and the digestive system has plenty of blood supply and a strong core stops the stomach getting all shook up.

I started eating 40 minutes into the race – just a few mouthfuls – ate whenever conditions dictated I walked, ate if I felt cold and generally ate an awful lot from about 85 miles on (I was walking a lot!).

My pack also contained 1 emergency Mule kick. These are honey based and are the only gels I can stomach. It was to be used if nothing else would go down. As explained I had no issues chomping on anything so it wasn’t needed.

And that’s it – everything I consumed during my 100 mile run. I was hungry when I completed and hungry for several days afterwards…but that’s not really anything new since I’m a big eater 😉

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5 Responses to Fuelling 100 miles

  1. Sarah says:

    Interesting mix of food! And it sounds like you nailed the fuelling. I struggled to eat after about 70 miles which made the last 30 a bit of a death march. I’d definitely add in hot food next time (like soup) but we carried fairly similar food although I also had Chia Charge bars.

    • Congrats on your 100. It sounded a bit lumpy so all kudos to you. I’m not sure I could have carried on without something in my stomach – you definitely deserved that buckle. I can literally eat anything…except chia… weirdly…it goes straight through me (although I love Roo Bars – so it’s lucky I’m not in the UK and can’t get hold of them). I think our inability to get any specialist sports nutrition here in Qatar and very little ‘health’ food sort of makes us a bit more resilient (no energy bars, gels etc) so we have to experiment in training and try things out. And yes, hot food, worked for me. I knew I’d be cold and soup was a bit more like a proper meal. Definitely recommend, although I’d think about ordering a take away another time 😉

  2. Judy Alexander says:

    Congrats again, Sarah! I have a Q: If everything went down okay, what happened with the pepperami & the satsuma? They just didn’t taste good? I’m curious, too, about how the sugar did in your system, since you don’t eat processed sugar ona regular basis. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • Thanks Judy. The satsuma just didn’t feel right. My stomach felt a bit acidy, so I had a walk and some Nakd bar to push it down and then it was okay. The pepperami just didn’t taste right. A bit too greasy, it you know what I mean. I really craved the cheese. Lol 🙂

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