Nutrition for Ultra Endurance

I can’t emphasise how much, getting nutrition and hydration right during ultra distance rides is critical. We put a lot training in having the right kind of fitness for it. But neglect applying the same focus on eating and drinking and it may lead to a poor performance or an abandon.

I’ve been doing brevets since 2010, and my cast iron stomach during normal durations is far from that during my brevets.

Nutrition Strategy can often involve applying different methods depending on how long you are into the event, whether it’s dark, what’s open, how far or how long between resupply etc. For instance I might do liquid calories overnight and solid real food during the day. Always trying to mix savoury and sweet; you’ll quickly get sick of the latter if that’s all you have. What’s okay for 200km usually doesn’t scale to 400km and beyond, if it’s mostly sweet.

One of the things can be the difference between success and failure is recognising what’s going on in your gut, and any signs of nausea early on, and what the fix is. The biggest mistake you can make is recognising symptoms that led to an abandon or very low moment before, and not tackling them as soon as practicable, and earlier than before.

One of the things I’ve learnt over the years is that if I can’t stomach normal foods due to nausea, then spicy food in small bite sizes does go down. You might find me eating kebabs later on, during my multi day brevets. Nausea is also linked to hydration and salt status. Maybe you need to take on more salt, maybe the opposite more water, maybe a combination.

A Chinese fried or chicken rice or noodles with some coke often works for me as a last hot meal before an overnight leg. I always have my spork with me for such treats if the only option is take away.