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ultra marathon



Ultra-Running and Race Day Nutrition

Nick Billock is an avid ultra-marathoner and trail runner who has run 25 marathons and 13 ultra-marathons including 3 100-mile finishes spanning 25hrs, 39min to 30hrs, 52mins.  He is also a blogger, covering running, his service in the Navy, and the day-to-day happenings in the life as a husband and father of two beautiful girls.  Nick resides in northeast Ohio and blogs regularly at www.rtrsbm.blogspot.com.

Ultra-running (as defined by any running race longer than the marathon of 26.2 miles) requires a whole different nutritional viewpoint when compared to the gels and quick shots of Gatorade normally encountered during a road race up to the marathon. Ultra-marathons most often take place on the trails of national and state parks with the 50K (31.2 miles) being the most popular race distance, then followed by the 50-miler and 100-miler. All these distances are covered with no rest or stopping, except for the occasional aid stations where runners refuel.

This is where nutrition and the endurance runner meet. From the 50K to the 100-miler, runners will find themselves on the trails for 5 to 30+ hours. This requires knowing what to eat, how often to eat it, and how that changes over the event. A rule and a mantra that many ultra-runners live by is: Eat, Eat, Eat; Drink, Drink, Drink; Pee, Pee, Pee. All must be true, especially the last; it’s a good indication that your body is still operating as it should.
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How to Survive an Ultra Marathon

rebecca scritchfield ultramarathonBecause completing my first Olympic distance triathlon was not enough, I decided to follow up a week later with my first ultra marathon – a 50K (31 mile) trail race in The North Face Endurance Challenge series! If you’re surprised, trust me, I was too! I actually thought I was competing in a 20-miler! But, you know what, when it came down to it, I trusted myself and my nutrition fueling plan. I just committed to having fun.

Here’s how I survived my ultra marathon:

  • Carb-load - Carbs are gasoline for the body and you can’t attempt a 50K without putting gas in the tank. I had two cups of whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and some salted steak fries the night before my run.
  • Early riser breakfast – I woke at 4 a.m. for a 7 a.m. start and I noshed on a toasted plain bagel with almond butter, a banana, and water.
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