What do you eat in an ultra?

Howdy, friends.

So, I mentioned briefly how sick I got after my long run last week. It’s never really happened to me before, so I’m not sure what the deal was. But it got me thinking about how and if the marathon is that different from a 50K. Is it? I don’t know.

It’s kind of freeing to basically have no idea what I’m in for.

But I did email a friend and ask her about training — I wasn’t sure that these mega long runs were the right idea. She agreed — they aren’t. She suggested more back-to-back long runs instead. I made a commitment to run 25 miles this weekend, but then the next two weekends my goals are to do 18 each day, then 20 each day. Then a 2-week taper and the race. I like her training idea of high weekend mileage — I see less chance of totally breaking down physically.

But I have to get through this weekend first.

And that includes food.

(As an aside, I’ve had some tests done on the random cramps I still experience, and nothing obvious has shown up. But my doctor did suggest I add a tablespoon of salt to a bottle of Gatorade and drink that before every run. I’m trying it. I’m also wearing compression socks more often, because nothing says sexy like Ted hose.)

I emailed the race directors for the 50K, and here is what they have at aid stations:

Beverages (water, sports drink, sodas (usually a cola & ginger ale)

Fruit (bananas, oranges, watermelon (depending season & heat of the day))

Real food (pb&j sandwiches, turkey & cheese sandwiches, chicken broth)

Salty Snacks (chips, pretzels, boiled potatoes with salt)

Sweet Snacks (gummy candy, cookies, chocolate)

Hmm … I’ve never eaten any of that on a long run. I’ve had chicken broth after marathons before, and I swear, it’s the greatest thing EVER. So I think I could easily get behind that.

This weekend, I’m going to stash some pretzels and chips in my backpack, and try that as I go. How does one carry a boiled potato? I’ve also heard of making peanut butter roll-ups with tortillas. That might be worth a shot.

I’m not going to turn into Scott Jurek and make bean burritos. Or maybe I am.

I have no idea what I’m doing. But for some reason I feel like I need to get my food stuff more together than usual. I’m not a super healthy eater — I love candy. But I’m not bad either — rarely dine out or eat fast food.

The changes I’ve made currently include: Less coffee, more water, more salt. Hmm … when I type that out, that isn’t much change.


My point is: What do you eat on super long runs? I feel like a 50K doesn’t even qualify as an “ultra,” so I feel like a dork asking. But seriously. What?


This entry was posted in 50K, Marathon, Muscle cramps, Running, Scott Jurek, Training. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What do you eat in an ultra?

  1. Jill says:

    Stick them in a ziplock. If I can do a 50k, you can totally do it!!!

  2. Danni says:

    On long training trail runs I will take shot bloks or those Clif fruit sticks, bars and whatever snacks I have on hand (jerky sometimes, candy?). During an ultra I eat whatever I can choke down.

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