What to Eat & Drink
Steven Sparksman, The University of Hong Kong, Sports Science
Your nutrition plan for a race such as Barclays MoonTrekker highly depends on what type of race you plan to run. Nutrition is a completely different story if you are hiker out to enjoy a great night hike vs. an elite runner hoping for a podium position. Let’s look at the 2 most common types of athletes; the hikers prioritizing a good time and the joggers/fast walkers with slightly more competitive intent.
It may be news to you, but the hikers don’t really need to change their nutrition plan too much in the months before the event. What is important is the quality of your diet in the week leading up to it. You don’t actually need to eat extra calories beyond your normal diet but you should focus on quality foods with high nutrient content. Eat 5 colors of
vegetables per day. Avoid restaurant food, sweets and all packaged and processed foods.
For the event itself nothing special is necessary. Bring cool refreshing water; either from your tap or mineralized water (avoid distilled water). For food, make it a rule to eat only when you’re hungry. It’s likely you won’t need to eat anything, however be sure to have comfort foods and high quality snacks with you just in case.
After the event, it depends on your nutrition during the event. If you were eating and snacking along the way you won’t need any special post-race meal. Get home, have a good rest and eat a good solid breakfast at the usual time that includes a wide variety of high quality macronutrients. Extra calories (e.g. a post-race meal) are unnecessary. A high quality diet will replace all nutrient and electrolyte stores in just 24 hours.
The Fast Walkers/Joggers
For the fast walkers/joggers it is a slightly different story. This group will be burning a slightly higher concentration of carbs as fuel as compared to hikers and with only 90
minutes of fuel on board some attention is required. First of all, you need to make sure the fuel tank is full! This means adding in one carb to one of your meals the day before the event. Make sure this is a substitution for protein/fat, not just an extra serving. Do this again on Race Day.
For the event itself follow the hikers. Don’t buy expensive sports drinks when your body just needs water. No salt or electrolyte precautions are necessary for an event of this
duration. Refreshing mineralized water consumed at a rate of about 500 ml/hour is all your body needs.
Proteins, Fats and Complex Carbs (starches) take a long time for your body to breakdown (2-3 hours) so these should be avoided. Simple carbs and simple sugars are your best option. Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose, and Maltodextrin are ideal. Your body will pull them into your working muscles as energy in minutes. Examples include dried fruits, chews, gels, bars, Perpetuem, chocolate, fruitips, etc.
After the event follow the same plan as the hikers. Be careful not to eat too many calories if you’ve done a good job managing your nutrition during the race. A good healthy diet will replenish all nutrient stores in the 24 hours after the event.