TORQ’s Finance and Operations manager, Jack Gooding will be taking on the famous 4x4x48 Ultra Marathon Challenge in the name of charity on the 3rd March 2023. Here we learn more about Jack, his reasons for doing this epic challenge and we will be exploring his nutritional strategy to help any of you who might be doing this event too.
About Our Man, Jack
Jack has been an employee at TORQ for 9 years and manages all things numbers and operations-related at TORQ HQ, based at our beautiful location on the Welsh Borders. Jack is highly organised in his day-to-day role with us at TORQ, skills which he transfers seamlessly into his ultra-running preparation. The necessity to plan well in advance, expect the unexpected and meticulously strategize are all fundamental to successful ultra-marathon performance. But Jack isn’t “all work, running and no play”. He has been married now for 27 years and is the proud Dad to what he considers to be his 4 fur babies (pets to you and I) and certainly isn’t shy of trying out new sports. As well as running off road, he hikes too and throws in some mountain biking for good measure.
The 4x4x48 won’t be the first Ultra Marathon that Jack has completed. One may actually consider him a seasoned Ultra enthusiast having completed a number of multi day Ultras, 1x 100km Ultra, and numerous 50km Ultras, all of which have been on challenging terrain, battling significant elevation.
Why does he do it? Here’s what Jack has to say:
“I am definitely not a podium chaser; I am much more a man of chasing dreams! I take on these events and adventures to explore and discover new places and see how far I can push myself. Where is my breaking point? Can I go one more? Ultra-running really pushes you into that pain cave, mentally and physically….but always has you coming back for more!”
What is the 4x4x48?
The 4x4x48 is an event inspired by ex-navy seal and ultra-running enthusiast David Goggins, which involves running 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours resulting in 12 runs in total, covering 48 miles.
Jack will join 1000’s of other people from around the world, to complete the same 4x4x48 event over the weekend of the 3rd – 5th March 2023. Jack will be starting at 8am on Friday 3rd and the last lap will start at 4am on Sunday 5th March. Some runners will complete this epic Ultra as part of an organised event, while other will be completing it in their own environment. Jack will be completing his 4x4x48 on the country lanes and trails just meters from his home situated in the stunning Welsh countryside.
Keeping us posted, along the way, Jack will be signing into TORQ’s Instagram account and keeping us up to date with live updates through Instagram stories, so please follow him over the weekend and send support and motivation his way!
Raising Funds For Charity
Jack loves animals and running, so why not do a challenge that supports both he thought? Jack’s motivation is bolstered by his aim to raise much needed funds for Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary (THS). THS was founded in 1993 by the amazing vegan Ultra runner Fiona Oakes, with a mission to provide care and a forever home to animals in need. Since that time, the sanctuary has just grown to over 600 animals spanning across 6 yards. Whether they are retired racehorses, ex fighting dogs, or neglected and abused farm animals, they are all given love, respect, medical care and a peaceful place to live at THS.
Nutritional Strategy For the 4x4x48
Carbohydrate Loading: Any endurance event will demand a significant amount of fuel and so ensuring we have enough fuel from the food we eat prior to starting will determine our time to exhaustion.
Due to the low exercise intensity, fats will provide a large amount of energy to fuel an ultra-endurance event such as the 4x4x48, however the overall carbohydrate requirement is still significant. There may however be instances, where the terrain demands a higher exercise intensity and carbohydrate becomes a more predominant fuel source.
The difference between fat and carbohydrate as fuel sources is that carbohydrate storage capacity is limited to around 500g (2000kcal). On the other hand, fat is theoretically limitless as the average human can store an abundance of fat that could provide fuel for days/weeks – carbohydrate stores can be depleted in hours.
Carbohydrate fuels our vital organs, is the only fuel used by the brain, ensures blood glucose remains in safe ranges and of course fuels the muscles. Carbohydrate availability is also closely related to your rating of perceived exertion (RPE), which is essentially how hard you perceive exercise to be. So as soon as carbohydrate availability starts to deplete, it is likely that your RPE will start to increase, and the effort will begin to feel much harder. Something of course you want to avoid.
To ensure that Jack starts his 4x4x48 with maximal muscle glycogen stores, we have suggested that 24 hours before he completes a short exercise session which includes a 5 minute warm up, followed by an exhaustive exercise interval, followed by a brief cool down in which a Recovery Drink is ingested and a very high carbohydrate diet is consumed (12g/kg) for the next 24 hours. This protocol has been shown to stimulate muscle carbohydrate replenishment to near maximal capacity in as little as 24 hours and is explained in detail in our Carbohydrate Loading article.
For every 1g of carbohydrate to be stored as glycogen, 3g of water is also required, so attention to hydration is also critical. We have suggested that Jack, should regularly sip on TORQ Hydration Drink and consume plenty of water to optimise hydration and carbohydrate storage throughout his carbohydrate loading phase.
Once again, please take the time to read our Carbohydrate Loading article for comprehensive information.
Fuelling During The 4x4x48: The design of the 4x4x48 Ultra event is different to that of your typical Ultra race. The 4x4x48 requires you to complete 4 miles of running, jogging or walking, every 4 hours which allows for periods of rest between each of the 4 mile segments (assuming it takes you less than 4 hours to complete each segment). Jack will be aiming to complete each 4 mile segment between 45 minutes and 75 minutes, which gives him around 3hrs:15mins and 2hrs:45mins worth of recovery respectively between each segment.
It’s these periods of frequent rest and recovery that make the fuelling strategy for this event very versatile and allows a good balance between whole foods in the form of proper meals and homemade snacks, along with specialist sports nutrition to support the total energy requirements of the event. We are of course talking about products such as those found in the TORQ’s Fuelling System and Recovery System.
The Exercising Period: Jack’s nutritional goal for the exercising segment is not to fuel that specific segment per se, but instead, to ensure that the fuel he ingests during exercise maintains fuel availability for the subsequent exercise bouts. You may be familiar with the TORQ phrase “fuel today for tomorrow” and in this scenario (a 2-day Ultra run) these words couldn’t be more relevant. He will not necessarily need to fuel the exercise session he is completing at the time, but by talking on fuel, he will be burning the fuel he ingests from TORQ’s Fuelling System range, such as Bars, Gels and Chews instead of his stored carbohydrate, preventing the depletion of the physiological fuel tank, that he worked so hard to maximise during his carb loading strategy.
With this in mind, we would suggest targeting around 60g of carbohydrate per run, from a combination of TORQ’s concentrated fuelling system products (Gels, Bars,and Chews). However, we would suggest that TORQ Gels are likely to offer the most convenient and practical fuelling solution during the runs, simply because Jack will have many other opportunities to take on solid fuel sources and foods at other times.
Each of these TORQ Fuelling System products provide 30g of carbohydrate, also known as a TORQ Unit. We are recommending that Jack takes 1 TORQ Unit immediately as his exercise period starts and another TORQ Unit at the midway/2mile point.
The Recovery Periods: As the 4x4x48 offers multiple periods of recovery, Jack can use this time wisely to maximise carbohydrate replenishment but also consume regular protein feeds, which will help to keep total protein turnover in a positive net balance, reducing muscle soreness, stimulating recovery and preventing muscular damage.
Fortunately the event design is perfect for ensuring that Jack gets the research-recommended 4-hourly dose of protein he needs. Each run Jack does will be at 4-hour intervals, so immediately after finishing an exercise segment, Jack will be consuming either a TORQ Recovery Drink or consume a homemade meal, both of which will be rich in carbohydrate, low in fat and will deliver 20–25g of high quality protein. The timing of these calories is also key, because muscle enzyme activity is elevated immediately post exercise and there’s an ‘insulin independent window’ where nutrients are sucked into the body, making them much more effective.
To learn more about your protein requirements and how regular doses throughout the day can really help, please take the time to read our Protein, Performance & 20-25g Recipes article. Within this article, we also provide a number of delicious recipe ideas that are rich in carbohydrate but also highlight the exact serving size you would need to consume to achieve 20g-25g of protein.
You will notice that we used the words ‘low fat’ above. It is vitally important that fat is kept to a minimum throughout this 48-hour period. Fat lines the intestine and moves very slowly through it, blocking the absorption of carbohydrate. When our goal is to fuel regularly with carbohydrate to maintain endurance performance, fat is likely to be the single nutrient responsible for causing gastric upset, a common complaint that ultra-endurance sports people typically experience. Also, if it’s blocking the absorption of carbohydrate, it works against the fuelling process – we want to absorb as much carbohydrate as posible. Not only does fat impact intestinal absorption and comfort but it is also highly satiating making us feel full for long periods of time. Feeling full certainly won’t help Jack to take on the functional calories he needs on this journey.
Hydration: The intensity and duration of exercise as well as the environmental conditions will determine Jack’s hydration strategy. Hydration is commonly overlooked and we have seen many performances go to the grave because it hasn’t been taken seriously enough. At the same time however, due to the structure of the 4x4x48, there should be no reason at all for Jack to be in a position where he’s dehydrated.
We talk about the topic of hydration in detail in our Hydration: The Definitive Guide article if you would like to learn more, but in short, this what we’ve suggested to Jack:
1. Jack’s state of hydration will ultimately determine his ability to digest the calories he’s consuming. As long as he steers clear of fat for 48 hours, maintaining his hydration should ensure that he has no stomach issues at all
2. Similarly, Jack’s state of hydration will determine how much carbohydrate he is able to absorb and this has clear performance implications.
Jack will be drinking a combination of TORQ Hydration Drink, TORQ Energy Drink and plain water between runs and we suggest he regularly checks his urine colour to ensure that he is adequately hydrated – clear being a good sign!
The one final piece of advice we’ve given to Jack is that if at any point during the 48 hours, he feels nauseous or has any stomach issues, he should stop eating and drink plenty of pure water. This strategy will turn around most gastric issues as it’s usually as a result of getting the carbohydrate/fluid balance wrong, causing dehydration. It’s isn’t however a cure for consuming fat, and we’ve been assured that Jack won’t be doing that!
Preparing your nutritional strategy for the 4x4x48 doesn’t need to be complicated if you consider the steps discussed here. If fuelled correctly your 12×4 mile efforts will be something to look forward to rather than dread. If you are taking part in this year’s 4x4x48 we wish you the very best of luck, we also wish our man Jack the very best of luck too. Should you wish to sponsor Jack on his journey, raising money for Towel Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary you can do so HERE and don’t forget to follow him on Instagram this weekend!