Posted by: cousinsrj | June 17, 2010

Eating and running

… two things that I was always told never to combine.  But doing ultras it is essential, and often eating food you just don’t really fancy.

I’ve just heard from Tim, Bed and Sudip who have just done a very challenging 30km or so over some pretty tough terrain.  All found trouble with hunger and dehydration.  They need to learn the foods to eat on the go, that are right for them.

This is hard – the fear of eating the wrong thing, the discomfort that wil follow, for a long time……  I’ve bene trying to get Bed and Sudip to experiement with this for a long time.

Bed, for example, did the Annapurna 100 eating only 2 bananas!  What could he achieve if he ate a proper amount?



  1. How about a ball of tsampa like the tibetan nomads used to use? Essentially just a ball of wholegrain wheat I think.

    In France you can buy those wonderful dried bananas – but that’s not much help.

    Personally, as coach, I think you should make it compulsory to have a mini dal bhat at the mid-point of a training route, just to practice. At the end of the day, I guess preference can be trumped by necessity.

  2. We were definetely dehydrated. I forced my self to stop after 31K, although my pride wanted to push on the last 9K to Pokhara. Glad I didn’t; took 5 hours and 3 bottles of water before I could pee again. Humidity and heath aren’t runner’s friends.

    I heard this story about Bed. He wanted to win zo badly that I only stopped twice for a drink and a banana during the 65K Ultra Everest. Talking about willpower…

    He now trains to drink at least every 30 minutes. But eating, still nothing…

    So, what to eat in Switzerland. No Emmenthaler and no Dal Baat, that’s for sure.

  3. I did the Marathon des alpage in switz a fwe years back. Was very nice – they had hot tea, biscuits and a lot of chocolate available for runners. Was like a woman’s coffee morning meeting every 5km. Very civilised.

    Would be good to enquire what exactly will be on offer on the race, of if it is take-your-own-picnic.

  4. What a hard thing! What to eat on an ultra….. as coach I suggets people experiment with different foods in different moods, combinations, quantities and states of knackeredness. We’re all so individual in this.
    In genereal I find europeans like salty fatty foods during ultras. And the English like tea.
    But Nepalis, with such different metabolism, and such different foods available…. I’ve asked them repeatedly to experiment.
    But Bed did all that on a banana – what could he do if he ate properly!?!

  5. True – but this is a bit like saying imagine how much better my times would be if I ran faster!

    I guess we all have certain bottlenecks to our performance. Let’s hope Bed’s is not his fuel tanks!

    I agree with tea – and whatever you eat, it gets softer dipped in a nice brew.

    Bests of lucks!

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