In our penultimate article on the subject of this year’s Continental Thunder Run, we want to talk to you about the TORQ Fuelling System and nutrition in general and how to get the strategy correct for the event.
If you haven’t read our first two articles on this subject, please take the time to run through them first – they’re very short, so it shouldn’t take you too long to catch up:
You will notice when you watch the video below, that it uses an animated cyclist rather than a runner. This is because we consider the nutritional demands of Thunder Run to be so unique, that the traditional TORQ Fuelling System for cyclists is the most appropriate in explaining what you need to do:
We have produced a video specifically for runners (below), so please take the time to watch this too, but although this would be appropriate as a guide for fuelling a marathon or extended training run, we don’t feel that it provides enough variety of nutrition for a 24-hour event like Thunder Run:
During Thunder Run, you will be running multiple laps with plenty of access to fuel sources along the way. Your nutritional strategy will vary depending on whether you’re running solo or as part of the team, but the key message is that you need to keep the carbohydrate fuel going in and you must stay hydrated. The prospect of taking on board energy products and nothing else probably turns your stomach and fills you with dread, so despite the fact that many successful athletes have chosen to follow this strategy in the past and performed particularly well, we’re not going to recommend this to you. Of course, you can, but there are other options you can consider as long as you choose your calories carefully.
The information we’ve shared with you over the last few posts makes it clear that products containing 2:1 Glucose-Derivatives:Fructose will deliver energy more comprehensively and efficiently than anything else, as well as being less likely to upset your stomach. We would therefore encourage you to use the TORQ Fuelling System for the mainstay of your nutrition, but you are highly likely to feel like having some ‘normal food’ too, so for psychological reasons and for your own sanity, you are likely to need to do this at certain points during the event.
The fundamental principle to fuelling successfully for an event like this is to keep any food you consume over the 24-hour period LOW IN FAT. Your muscles will be burning fat as a fuel, but you won’t need to consume dietary sources of it over the 24 hours of the event. Even the skinniest of you will have enough fat stored under your skin and around your vital organs to fuel your performance (in fact for a lot longer than 24 hours). Dietary fat slows the absorption of carbohydrate and will facilitate bonking or ‘hitting the wall’ as demonstrated in the first video we shared with you. It will also slow digestion and cause stomach upset as the functional energy products back up in your digestive system queuing to get absorbed.
Go for rich lean sources of protein on their own periodically, or lean protein with some carbohydrate to accompany it, but keep it low fat. There are a whole variety of options to choose from including a lean ham sandwich with no butter, or chicken breast in a fat-free sauce, through to a recovery drink, which is essentially a high-protein milkshake. Nuts, sausages, burgers and cheese are outlawed! Do some homework and find options of lean protein sources that don’t contain fat. If you’re organised, you can bring some suitable foods from home, which will do the job perfectly well.
TORQ do have a new range of snack foods called TORQ SNAQ which we will be showcasing at the event which fit this high protein, low fat bill perfectly, so you could always pop over to see us and we’ll serve you up some of our new High Protein Pasta with a choice of Smoked Tomato or Mushroom high carb sauce. If you like them, there will even the option to take some single-serve packs home with you to try at another time.
You will remember from the video we showed you in our first Thunder Run article that the absorption threshold for 2:1 Glucose-Derivatives:Fructose is 90g of carbohydrate per hour and exceeding this will cause stomach discomfort. Remember that if you consume ANYTHING that isn’t 2:1 it won’t get absorbed as quickly (2:1 is optimal and as fast as it gets), so bear this in mind if you choose to eat ‘normal food’. If you’re in a team, have your normal food as soon after you’ve finished a lap as possible to give it time to digest and don’t try to consume anything else in that hour. Once you start to feel hungry again, get back onto the carbs and fluid.
If you’re running solo, the same rules apply, so if you take on a concentrated protein source, back off on the carbs for a while to let it digest – and then get back onto your fuelling. Regardless of whether you’re running solo or as part of a team, if you get any stomach discomfort whatsoever, stop consuming calories and drink pure water. You will be amazed how this returns your digestive system to a state of homeostasis quite quickly. Once you feel better, get back on the carbs! We’ve worked for years helping athletes compete in these kinds of events through our Fitness Consultancy, so we are helping you from a position of experience and expertise.
In our final Thunder Run post, we’ll be talking ‘Hydration’ so don’t forget to visit our site in a few days time…