Ultra Running Nutrition guide for MDS, Fire and Ice and Similar events

Ultra running nutrition for the Marathon des Sables, Fire and Ice and other multi day events — Without the technical jargon

Many events require you to carry a minimum of 2000 Kcal per day, although it is common for many people to take more, sometimes 3000 Kcals or more. With the right choices that is easy to do, with very little dry weight and a much smaller space taken up in your backpack. What is also important is not just the amount of Kcals, but the makeup and quality of those Kcals. A typical breakdown of your ultra running nutrition intake for the event would be in the region of 20% protein, 30% fat and around 50% carbohydrate.

Some brands of Freeze dried meals are much bigger than others. A good meal is important, Extreme Adventure Food has a large choice of 800 Kcal breakfasts, and main meals, and 500 Kcal deserts, for even bigger portions consider the Extreme Expedition  Food 1000 Kcal meals, they are high energy, low weight and critically compared to other brands they take up less space in your pack.

For some years now Extreme Adventure Food has been the brand of choice by Mohammad Ahansal, 5 times winner of the Marathon des Sables, winner of the Fire and Ice ultra and many other ultras around the world, remember to take a selection to give you a good variety during your event, typically they are prepared by adding hot water for a short time ( it varies depending upon recipe, but most are 4 to 8 minutes )  stirring to ensure it is all mixed before consuming, if you need to they can be prepared with cold water, but with cold water the rehydration time is usually double.

One exception to that is Ultra Fuel Liquid Food, 100g gives you 450 Kcal, which includes 58g of Carbohydrate and 20g of protein, it takes around 30 seconds to prepare ** but one of the most important features is that unlike conventional food it does not need to be broken down by your stomach, and it is absorbed into your system in around 6 minutes, much quicker than other forms of food that typically take 25 minutes or more.  The five versions that require cold water are a perfect way to take food in the middle of the day without actually stopping. The advantage of delivering energy into your body at such a quick rate compared to other options is obvious.

Just like your water during each stage, a little and often is a good way to approach your energy intake when on the move, it is unlikely you will stop around midday to prepare a meal, and there are a large number of choices on snacks, chews and energy bars, read the ingredients carefully, as quality varies, sometimes a product name makes implications that the ingredients do not support.

Energy drinks, a little like the bars and other energy snacks, energy drinks are not all the same, the way energy is delivered can vary, but a drink that supplies carbohydrate and electrolytes is an advantage when compared to one that supplies just one or the other, although electrolyte only tablets, are an easy and convenient way to flavour water, they are not all the same, compare what is in each tablet, there is a big difference in ingredients, the cheapest is not always the best value.

One energy drink designed specifically for endurance activities, and especially long distance and ultra-running, is the Extreme Ultra Fuel 4:1 that comes in 4 refreshing flavours, a perfect drink for during and after your run, as it has carbohydrate, electrolytes and protein, most energy drinks do not have all three, and the way it is combined in this product, ensures you get the carbohydrate delivered to your body as efficiently as possible.

Recovery after each day or stage :  Long distance runners talk about the Golden hour, some even call it the Golden half hour, but what is clear the quicker you start to refuel your body after completing each day, the better you will feel the next day, leave it too late and you will suffer for doing so.  The Extreme Ultra fuel 4:1 is a perfect drink to make straight away, with its careful blend of carbohydrate, electrolyte and protein, it will aid the recovery process better than an ordinary energy drink, Ultra Fuel liquid food is another excellent option, as are many different types of Bars. Once relaxed and your bodies recovery process is under way you can then prepare your evening meal at a more leisurely pace. Once again Extreme Adventure Food has the largest range of High energy, low weight, easy to prepare meals that take up less space in your backpack.

All your ultra running nutrition should be tried before your event, not just at home, but during and after exercise, the middle of nowhere is not the place to discover that something does not agree with you. And don’t be tempted to just take your favourites, variety is important, and you will get fed up of the same flavoured meal, drink or bar every time