This is a deeply personal piece for everyone, but we have been getting a lot of requests for this as we approach our next Ultra Beast in the great Garden State (NJ). In this, I will cover my race day usages and recommendations as a baseline. It is up to you on how you would like to tinker with the specifics, or what you use.
Race Day: 4:30AM wake up
My first thing to accomplish, unless the bathroom calls, is to get nutrients loaded into my bloodstream. I try to consume 100 grams of Carbs, 20-30 grams of Protein and 10-20 grams of Fat. For me, that is in the form of pancakes, oatmeal, peanut butter and whey in some combination. I recommend cleaner sources (so pancakes from scratch not Eggos, etc), your body typically will have better success digesting and absorbing these. Others, I’m sure, will say that they some swear by steak and pizza, etc, you can do as you wish.
During the race, set a timer for every 40-45 minutes to ingest some fuel; do this if you are hungry or not. I’ve gone the tailwind, GU, organic fuel route and I’ve gone the Skittles and Sour Patch Kids Route. Personally, I felt better on the candy, that is just my body. For the racer, the most important thing is getting fueled, meaning even in the beginning to have your body in a fueled state, don’t let yourself get depleted and then try to recharge.
In an event like this, your body may just say no and shut down. At the half-way point/transition area/tent: The 1st and most important strategy is to save time. That means you should have everything as staged as much as possible to minimize non-race time. I have a bottle of Powerade Zero mixed with Beet Elite ready to pound down and I have a scoop of MTS Whey and 2 Scoops of MTS Carb 10 In a shaker waiting for water to add. These are made for easy absorption and when you are doing an event that doesn’t have your digestive track firing on all cylinders, easy is best. With all that said, my goal this year is to be in and out of the transition tent in under 15 minutes.
- Carbs – Aim for 100 grams maybe 150 if you are over 225 lbs Oatmeal, Pancakes, Pizza etc
- Fat – Aim for 10-20 Grams, Peanut/Almond Butter etc or if you have Pizza you’re covered
- Protein – I recommend a good Whey Isolate or Concentrate so your body will easily absorb it.
- Carbs – 50 grams. I recommend MTS Carb 10 for a better delivery to your bloodstream, but you can go with Gatorade, etc.
- Protein/Fat- 20-25 grams. I recommend MTS Machine Whey, mid-race your body can’t take in much protein or fat but there is something in there for you.
- Set a timer for every 40-45 minutes for a carb source of your choosing.
Do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think you can test out your concoction on race day. You should have most of your nutrition picked and tested weeks out to determine what is best for your body. While I don’t have any science behind my pre-race or race day nutrition, I will generally eat a carb heavy meal for a few nights leading up to the race. Sometimes, an everything pizza will provide me with plenty of protein and fats along with some carbs the night before.
I generally wake up around the same time, drink a cup of coffee, eat some eggs or whatever is made available to me, try for a bowel movement and head out to the race. I bring a packet of wipes with me, I always find the need for a porta john when I hit the venue and butt wipes are an essential ingredient for me. Additionally, I have my hydration pack filled with water and Tailwind. Snacks for the journey usually consist of Sour Patch kids, Swedish fish, Twix bars, Slim-Jims, and whatever else I consider comfort food. The drop-bin has some medical tape, new shoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, trail mix, beef jerky, and a fresh bladder.
Some light reading:
- An OCRAddict’s Gear List for Ultra Beast: Joe’s List – https://ocraddict.com/gear-guide-ultra-beast/
- Post Ultra Beast – Lessons Learned – https://ocraddict.com/post-ultra-beast-lessons-learned/
- Ultra Beast Must Haves – https://ocraddict.com/ultra-beast-must-haves/