Ideal Ultra Marathon Nutrition
Optimising Your Nutrition Makes All The Difference
What Nutrition Lets You Thrive?
Have you already tried many different diets in order to help you improve your ultrarunning performance and found foods that you can't live without?
Which foods are a staple in your daily nutrition that you feel make a difference to your well-being, performance in training and racing as well as helping you recover faster?
Share your story here!
Your Questions and Nutritional Tips
Click on the links below to see some great stories about the best nutritional tips. They were all written by other ultrarunners visiting this page.
This easy-to-follow guide on ultra marathon nutrition specifically for ultra marathon runners explains how you can nourish your mind and body for best performances and reach a new level of physical and mental fitness.
On top of that providing you with a special section introducing timesaving nutritional recipes to create tasty and nourishing dishes.
So, the one question many athletes ask when it comes to their diet is:
What do I have to do to my ultra marathon nutrition to boost my performance as an athlete and how many carbohydrates, high proteins foods and fats must I eat?
Often articles aimed at answering this question result in me feeling a little overwhelmed and often more confused than before. Therefore a new idea occured to me.
There is a different way to achieve maximum results feeling healthy and energetic by simply steering away from the standard advice with respect to (ultra) marathon nutrition.
Click here to share your tips of foods that let you thrive with visitors to this page
SIMPLIFY your nutrition as an endurance ultra athlete if you haven´t already done so! Explore the amazing changes in your mind and body and get fitter, faster and stronger than ever!
What if the answer was gaining greater health and achieve better results on a raw food diet?
You may only want to make small adjustments to your current ultra marathon nutrition or give your diet a real overhaul.
Let the exciting journey begin
Over the past ten years I have intensively researched different kinds of athlete-specific diets.
I tried, tested and followed various guidelines for ultra marathon nutrition out of books and magazines for longer periods of time, even returned back to meat for a while.
Amongst those diets promoting better well-being were:
the blood group diet, vegetarian diet, the low fat diet 80/10/10, the ayurveda diet, vegan diet discussing the benefits of superfoods and a gluten-free diet.
My motivation to follow these diets was mainly to find out which foods would meet my nutritional needs as a runner in the best way and nurture my body so that overall health and fitness would improve.
In long distance races like marathons and Half-Ironman competitions my aim was to cross the finish line without major energy deficiencies, cramps and even an upset stomach. So I tested various energy gels, even made my own.
Back then I was not even aware that certain foods could also influence the nervous system in an amazing way!
What specific ultra marathon nutrition lets us ultra runners thrive?
One that is a mix of everything and where we "just go with the flow"?
On the surface, most vegetarians and vegans lead a healthy diet. By cutting out dairy produce alone allergic reactions to certain foods are known to reduce dramatically.
Yet, a lot of junk food can still be consumed causing tiredness, slowing recovery, possible weight gain and mental fogginess.
Thus, there has recently been a tendency amongst ultra runners to steer more towards vegan nutrition. Some athletes have even transitioned to a raw, vegan diet.
The numbers of those runners in the ultrarunning scene applying these vegan principles prove that this way of eating boosts their marathon performances.
Their nutrition seems to reap amazing benefits.
What are their secrets?
Another positive side effect is that nourishing on natural, organic raw foods contributes to the sustainability of the environment, too.
Something to think about...
Say good-bye to your old beliefs
So why should an energy bar, post-workout protein powder and other artificial sports foods actually be good for me and be added to my nutrition as a runner if there are much healthier alternatives?
Most of us have at least tried these powders, bars and gels as snacks in training and in races. Even to the degree of relying on them for a while.
These foods are convenient, yes, and the 'energy food' labels promise to fulfill our needs as endurance athletes.
Interestingly, high-science foods change their consistency significantly when exposed to heat or, reversely, to extreme cold temperatures.
I have stopped falling for these clever marketing tricks advertising foods that are supposed to complement our ultra marathon nutrition.
And so should you!
No longer is it enough to put your faith into highly processed foods alone and convince yourself that only sports foods are value-added to your nutrition as an ultra marathon runner.
Instead...Spin it your way and experiment with more fresh, organic foods.
It can be as easy as mixing up a handful of pitted dates, water, lemon juice and a sprinkle of mint. Fill the gel into small bottles of your fuel belt and ready you are. This is an ideal sports drink containing complex carbohydrates for when you need energy quickly.
For extra sweetness in energy bars, stevia is the alternative to refined sugars that the body can quickly absorb and metabolize.
Whilst competing in my first ultramarathon in the Sahara desert I began to wonder what foods the Moroccan runners would carry with them? What foods get them through a hard week out in the heat?
Guess what? - Simplicity rules. These ultra athletes mainly lived on honey, dates, figs and millet.
Although it was too late for me to revise my nutrition there and then. So I decided that after the race I would take a closer look at the ingredients in processed foods.
Only real experts would understand what some names on the labels really mean and their effect on ultrarunning performance. Many of these products contain dairy which really got me thinking.
Let me share this insight with you:
SIMPLIFYING your ultra marathon nutrition by choosing fresh, organic and unprocessed foods is fundamentally the key to success getting you the results you want!
Especially during long distance races, your ultra marathon nutrition plays a big part.
And I found that - with a little practice - it is easy to prepare your own sports drinks, energy gels and bars.
Through me trying, testing and experimenting a lot you don`t have to do the same now.
Take the shortcut and test the recipes for special ultra marathon nutrition and you`ll know for sure what`s in your food.
So, over the course of a few months I gradually replaced cooked meals with tasty raw meals including green smoothies.
I would still consume packaged foods but only small amounts and in parallel start making my own biscuits and sweet treats.
That improved my health and fitness levels even more.
Ultrarunning rocks like never before!
I am able to continuously step up my training because muscle recovery is much quicker and I generally feel way more balanced and happy.
And for the first time in over twenty years there are no negative signs to pollen allergies.
Those of you having to deal with asthma symptoms around springtime could improve their well-being with this kind of nutrition, too, suiting the ultra marathon runner in every way.
Time to explore the foods to thrive on
Keep an eye on the following list.
These staple, highly-alkalising foods should be included in every ultra marathoner`s nutrition:
LEAFY GREENS, optionally blended into green smoothies, most OTHER VEGETABLES, a variety of NUTS and SEEDS (sprouted if preferred), FRESH and DRIED FRUITS, different OILS, FATS from plants, PSEUDOGRAINS like buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth, LEGUMES (sprouted), SEAWEEDS (for their high electrolyte content), sprouted breads and flaxseed.
Have you ever tried Chia, the running food per se?
Because these foods are naturally of high nutritional value the body quickly absorbs the nutrients and provides you with energy straight away. Ready to go!
What about endurance supplements, though? And what about my vitamins and minerals that I can only seem to get from meats and dairy products?
Wait a moment...we`ll get those questions answered,too.
Explore the advantages of this diet mainly consisting of fresh, unprocessed and raw foods:
- Unproccessed, fresh foods are much easier on the digestive system and provide you with all the necessary fibres, vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates
- Thriving on fresh and natural food helps to reduce acidity levels in your body's ph
- Your body sheds all excess fat and while keeping your running routine up more lean muscle is built
- You`ll need less sleep over time
- Your recovery period shortens naturally therefore enabling you to increase your training volume and even adding more ultramarathons into your race calendar
- Skin irritations disappear leaving you looking fresh and healthy
- Digestive problems dissolve
- Your taste for cooked foods is likely to change and instead colourful, fresh foods are what you are craving for
- Exploring alternatives to the standard recommendations of what`s considered the 'right' ultra marathon nutrition actually help you getting to know your body better
- Your resting pulse can go lower whether you have improved your base endurance through appropriate training or not
- The need to drink lots of water reduces when eating more green, organic foods and fresh fruit since these naturally contain more water
- Hormonal imbalances diminish
- You´ll quickly feel more in tune with yourself being more confident as an athlete and being clearer in your decision-making processes
It does take courage and an open mind to break a pattern especially when it comes to giving your current ultra marathon nutrition an overhaul.
In reality, though, time goes by anyway so there is nothing to lose.
Take some time to discover the foods that you are not familiar with and indulge in the experience of trying something new. How about finding out about the best energy gels for ultrarunners?
Improving your ultra marathon nutrition is a process that you can gradually excel in.
Notice the positive changes in your body and mind. And see how your focus and attitude on ultrarunning improves!
Patience and consistency are the key factors here.
From experience, this approach to your nutrition as an ultra runner applies to running ultra marathons, too.
Now is the time to think about what your nutrition rewards you with...
Maybe you only have the desire to improve and modify your diet when racing. Then go ahead.
Decide for yourself what adjustments can be made to your current marathon nutrition as an ultra athlete and take this final advice as a guideline.
Don`t miss out on these easy-to-prepare meals complementing your ultra marathon nutrition.
It takes as little as ten minutes to prepare the foods.
For those with a sweet tooth, check out the dessert and snacks recipes!
Learn about high protein foods, too.
- Substituting only one meal a day with a nourishing raw dish and steamed vegetables is easiest; even an occasional mono meal can leave you feeling energised
- After a week replace an afternoon snack with a green or fruit smoothie which alkalizes the body
- Sprinkle crushed nuts, hemp seeds and/or raw cacao nibs for extra kick over salads for additional crunch
- Listen to your body and it will show you from the inside and outside if you are lacking any vitamins or minerals
- It can take at least a month to establish new habits so go easy with yourself
- Experimenting with home-made energy bars and gels during longer runs is fun and helps you to figure out how many calories and sugars from fruits your body requires
- Detoxification symptoms such as skin breakouts, mood swings, constipation, diarrhoea and gas might occur but dissolve within a few days
- When socialising and being confronted by others they actually show an interest so share your ideas and motivation with them
- Cravings for refined sugars, meats, dairy, fish and even pastas, rice and white potatoes reduce; instead you`ll naturally lean towards nutrient-dense foods and avoid eating empty calories
- Split your daily food intake into two parts where you allow yourself one or two days per week of eating all the foods you still crave
- On the other days you integrate the 60/40 or 80/20 system where most of your ultra marathon nutrition is made up of fresh, unprocessed foods and small amounts of breads, biscuits, cooked foods and sweets
- Especially when going out to restaurants, indulge in your favourite meal with a clear conscious
- Children are very curious when their parents suddenly serve different foods so involve them in your preparations; they´ll love putting ingredients in the blender making their own smoothies or making biscuit dough in the food processor
- Soy, rice and almond milk may be substituted for cow`s milk and used in coffees, for cooking and poured over mueslis
- Boost your nutrition with one teaspoon of powdered maca root daily and try 3-5 spirulina tablets a day to stay strong
- Coffee intake should be limited to 1-3-cups a day; herbal coffees are a tasty alternative when trying to kick the habit. Teeccino makes the best ones.
Ultimately, there is a direct relationship to what you put in your precious body and how you feel.
The mind and body connection cannot be tricked.
Ultra marathon nutrition is more than just a performance vehicle.
AND SO IS YOURS!
Use the right foods to your best advantage to go that extra mile!
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