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Daniel Rowland

@dwrowland

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NUTRITION FOR ULTRAS In previous threads on preparing for UTMB and lessons from UTMB I only touched briefly on nutrition. In this thread my intention is to pull together a range of resources and ideas to assist with nutrition for ultramarathons. (1/n)

Nutrition is a difficult topic because there are evidence-based recommendations, but they are not always followed. In this paper we see that elite athletes did follow guidelines (71g/hr CHO): journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/… (2/n)

Anecdotal claims have suggested that an increasing number of ultramarathoners purposely undertake chronic low-carbohydrate (CHO) ketogenic diets while training, and race with very low CHO intakes, as...

journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/…

Competition Nutrition Practices of Elite Ultramarathon Runners

Yet, this study of amateur athletes doing 24 and 48 hour races they did not meet recommendations (mean of 33g/hr CHO): frontiersin.org/articles/10.33… And this paper on pre-exercise nutrition showed a large number of athletes not following guidelines: tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.108… (3/n)

The purpose of this study was to determine the self-reported beliefs and practices relating to pre-exercise nutrition intake among endurance athletes of varying ages and competitive levels and exa...

tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.108…

Pre-Exercise Nutrition Habits and Beliefs of Endurance Athletes Vary by Sex, Competitive Level, and...

The purpose of this study was to determine the self-reported beliefs and practices relating to pre-exercise nutrition intake among endurance athletes of varying ages and competitive levels and exa...

To understand these evidence-based recommendation, a good starting point is @Asker Jeukendrup 2011 paper on nutrition for endurance sports: tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.108… (4/n)

Outside of these studies and guidelines we see athletes succeeding in endurance events using a wide range of different nutrition strategies. Maybe a good starting point is to ask: 1) WHAT'S POSSIBLE? (5/n)

There are examples of athletes succeeding with nutrition strategies ranging from very low CHO to very high CHO, from all-liquid sports nutrition to only real food, from carrying their own nutrition to only relying on aid stations. (6/n)

The context of these different results and different strategies is quite important and can contribute to defining what is possible: 1a) modality - eating and digesting is easier in cycling compared to running and easier in running compared to swimming. (7/n)

1b) duration - eating a certainly hourly rate is easier in a 4-5 hour event or as an elite running 14hrs at Western States compared to an amateur at UTMB or an athlete during a 24 or 48 hour race. (8/n)

1c) accessibility - food availability for an elite with a crew or an athlete at a 24 hour race is very different to a self-supported athlete at an ultra with few aid stations. Clearly "what's possible" may not always meet the recommendations even if that is the goal. (9/n)

2) FUEL THE WORK REQUIRED In this paper the authors recommend a periodized approach to nutrition in training: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29453741/ And this article explains a "right fuel, right time" approach to nutrition: endureiq.com/blog/right-fue… (10/n)

Race nutrition should also follow the "work required" paradigm. A shorter ultra at high intensity may necessitate more exogenous CHO intake than a long, low-intensity ultra where fat oxidation can be relied on more heavily. (11/n)

3) TRAINING NUTRITION INTAKE If the logistics of the race allow it, and the intensity demands it, then using a high CHO approach can be the right solution. However, our gut needs to be able to tolerate this approach. (12/n)

This 12-week guide from @Aitor Viribay Morales is an excellent resource on gut training: glut4science.com/publicaciones/… And in this twitter thread there is plenty of advice on gut training: twitter.com/dwrowland/stat… (13/n)

Daniel Rowland

@dwrowland

Apr 21View on Twitter

Race nutrition during a 24hr run: "In-race CHO intake was only in the 30–60g/h range" "Strong to moderate positive correlations were observed between distance covered and both CHO and energy intake" frontiersin.org/articles/10.33…?

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Alternatively, if you want to increase your fat oxidation to use a lower CHO approach you will also need some adjustments to your diet and training nutrition. This guide suggests that may be more beneficial than training the gut: endureiq.com/blog/gut-train… (14/n)

Whichever approach you choose, it's important to make sure that you do the training necessary for that approach and that you don't do something new on race day. (15/n)

4) HIGH CHO + EXAMPLES The potential to use a high CHO approach in mountain ultras along with the benefits were shown in this paper: mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/5… There have also been many examples of World Tour cycling teams using up to 120g/hr CHO. (16/n)

Stian Angermud has shared his race nutrition from Sky races and he was consuming ~100g/hr: instagram.com/p/CgM2FZxMffd/ instagram.com/p/Ce_4grXM_9G/ instagram.com/p/CWtFgG3MyIE/ (17/n)

Petter Engdahl shared his CCC nutrition and he consumed ~120g/hr of drinks and gels: instagram.com/p/CicsVi4IzL0/ Tom Evans reported that for UTMB he used ~95g/hr of mostly Maurten and Red Bull. (18/n)

5) MID-RANGE CHO EXAMPLE According to the data shared in this post: mtnath.com/training2022/ My calculation for Kilian's nutrition during his races this year was: Hardrock = ~55g/hr UTMB = ~75g/hr (19/n)

6) LOW CHO EXAMPLES Zach Bitter has reported using 40g/hr during his races (primarily 100mi). Jeff Browning has reported using 40-50g/hr during his races (primarily 100mi). Dan Plews reported using 50g/hr during the bike and a total of 40g during the run in Kona. (20/n)

7) RESOLVING GUT ISSUES Nausea and/or vomiting is the primary cause of a DNF at ultramarathons: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21487147/ Therefore figuring out a nutrition strategy that works for you is vital. (21/n)

If you are struggling with stomach issues, then a very useful resource is @Patrick Wilson book: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21487147/ (22/n)

8) PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY A good place to start is the evidence-based recommendations of 60g/hr CHO. If you know the intensity of your race is going to be high and you have access to your own in-race nutrition, considering increasing CHO intake. (23/n)

Increasing CHO intake will require training and practice at race intensity. We've seen up to 120g/hr for a 10hr ultra and up to 95g/hr for a 20hr ultra are possible. If you're having stomach issues or the pace of your race is lower... (24/n)

...consider either trying to resolve these issues using the Athletes' Gut book (mentioned above) or start working towards a low CHO strategy. Again this will take training and time to develop. (25/n)

All of the points in this thread, along with the information from the previous two threads on preparing for UTMB, can be found on my blog: dwrowland.com/p/how-to-prepa… I hope you find this useful. (/end)

Daniel Rowland

@dwrowland

My goal is to curate a timeline full of research and insights from coaches, scientist and athletes to help us become better endurance athletes. #HRV4Training.

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