THE 15 NUTRITION TIPS THAT WILL MAKE YOU SUCCEED IN YOUR TRAIL, by BAOUW
Nutrition is one of the keys to having fun and achieving your goals in trail running. Benoît Nave, one of the most renowned experts in sports nutrition, coach of many champions including Xavier Thévenard, triple winner of the UTMB, gives you here 15 rare and precise tips that you will not hear from anyone go elsewhere, To consume without moderation !
If you want to make a success of your next trail or your ultra-trail, it's here!
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR DIET BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOUR TRAIL
Trail nutrition advice N°1: "Consider trail running as an alibi for good nutrition"
“It is well known: happiness does not reside in the summit but on the path that leads to it! The same goes for trail running. Happiness does not only reside in winning the competition but rather in achieving a full race, feeling maximum pleasure and achieving your goals on "D-Day". However, this feeling of fullness cannot be unearthed without relevant nutrition. Indeed, a good diet determines the proper functioning of the body, the brain, the legs, the heart, the emotions... My recommendation is therefore to make your desire to enjoy trail running one of the answers to "Why eat better ?" »
Nutrition trail advice N°2: "Look for a healthy diet rather than a competitive diet"
“Before going to look for the last percentages of performance – the famous marginal gains, those that allow champions to raise their arms over the finish line – I recommend that trail runners make sure they are already solid on their fundamentals. By this I mean healthy daily nutrition, made up of raw, unprocessed, organically grown and seasonal foods. Having a diet that allows you to be in good health, even before going for a competition diet, is already a guarantee of pleasure and performance in trail running. »
Trail nutrition advice N°3: “On trail running, the key organ is the intestine »
“In trail running, as in most sports, you tend to focus on your heart, your muscles and your head... often neglecting the key organ: the intestine! Its role is crucial. It constitutes the main zone of exchanges with the external environment. Everything passes through the intestine. Due to this, the proper functioning of this organ determines the optimal activity of all the others. But how do you take care of it? By the health food mentioned above, which protects against this inflamed state of the intestine, at the origin of states of fatigue, digestive disorders and other injuries. »
Nutrition trail advice N°4: “Adopt the principles of chrononutrition”
“To put it simply, chrononutrition is about giving the body what it needs, at the right time. So it's a matter of timing. This, in particular, to promote the secretion of the four neurotransmitters constituting the pillars of an individual's behavior. In this logic, a rule of chrononutrition seems absolutely fundamental to me: bring a maximum of proteins in the morning, rather than carbohydrates. Hence my recommendation of a breakfast with a salty component, with eggs, ham, sardines or vegetable proteins, rather than the one that is customary in our French culture, based on cereals and sandwiches. For what ? Because a lack of protein and a surplus of carbohydrates block the secretion of neurotransmitters, causing obsessive behavior, a lack of motivation to exercise and poor quality sleep. »
Trail nutrition advice N°5: "Depending on the type of trail outing, adapt the timing of the meal that follows"
“Chrononutrition is based on the concept of metabolic windows, in particular the one – important – which follows a training session. Respecting this slot will dictate good assimilation as well as optimal recovery from the session, with the aim of building lasting progress over time. In trail running, after an intensity session, I recommend recharging glycogen stocks fairly quickly via a carbohydrate intake such as rice, quinoa or sweet potato, within the following hour. On the other hand, if you are preparing an ultra-trail, with long outings in gentle endurance aimed at developing your lipolysis capacities, I advise you to slightly delay the moment when you are going to allow your body to rebuild the stocks, while waiting at least 2 hours after the end of training to eat. »
Trail nutrition advice N°6: "On trail running, reducing the risk of digestive disorders requires preparation!" »
“As explained previously, the intestine is for me the key organ of the trail. In this context, the closer your objective approaches, the more you must be cautious in its consolidation. For this, I recommend a course of natural probiotics and L-glutamine during the 3 weeks preceding the event. Then, on D-5, I recommend eliminating all fruits and vegetables with hard fibers from your diet in order to favor those with soft fibers. And eat them cooked rather than raw. You will therefore opt for apple, pear, peach, carrot and zucchini and momentarily abandon kiwi, leek, onion or cabbage. The goal? Avoid the particularly demanding effort that the digestion of these hard fibers requires and thus offer your intestine a period of rest. In short, reduce its hyper impermeability and its inflammation in order to give it the opportunity to function optimally on D-Day! »
Trail nutrition advice N°7: "Before the race, pick from this list of easy-to-digest foods"
“In addition to the previous advice, I would direct trail runners towards foods that are extremely easy to digest before the race. Potato, sweet potato, quinoa and buckwheat for the carbohydrate fractions, avoiding glutinous elements such as pasta. Eggs, fish and white meat for protein. As well as vegetables and fruits cooked rather than raw! »
Trail nutrition advice N°8: “Ensure a good carbohydrate refill”
“The closer the deadline approaches, the more you need to increase your vigilance regarding a good carbohydrate replenishment. A good carbohydrate recharge induces to recharge the glycogen stocks in sufficient quantity but also in the optimal metabolic window to do this. On your last key training sessions – whether it's your last long run, your last intensity session or the race watch release – I therefore advise you to take your meal between 30 minutes and 1 hour after having unlaced your trail running shoes. »
Trail nutrition advice N°9: “The ideal menu for the trail dinner the day before the race”
“It is complex to draw up the menu for a pre-race meal in the sense that I encourage it to be adapted to the level of stress felt by each person. The feeling of a knot in your stomach varies depending on the runner. For those who can, the ideal is a plate of rice accompanied by white meat or two eggs, 3 hours before departure. For others, whose appetite is completely lost or who encounter small digestive problems linked to anxiety, I advise eating the same thing, as far as possible, 4 or 5 hours beforehand, and to supplement with a organic energy bar 30 to 45 minutes before setting off. »
Trail nutrition advice N°10: "Define a nutrition plan for the day of the race"
“All my athletes define a D-Day nutrition plan and try to stick to it. It is a question of designing a framework within which they can adapt or even improvise serenely according to the weather conditions or the facts of the race. The advantage of this nutrition plan? Stay focused on your feelings, in your bubble, without mental load related to the way you have to eat at the moment T, because everything has been defined upstream and all that remains is to apply or adapt! »
Trail nutrition advice No. 11 “What is a good trail nutrition plan? »
“A good trail nutrition plan is a framework that allows you to maintain an optimal and smooth energy level throughout the race. The first rule lies in adapting it to the type of effort. Indeed, in ultra-trail, I recommend bringing about 35 to 40 grams of carbohydrates per hour, to be supplemented by an additional lipid portion. Starting with our energy bars because it is easier to chew and digest the solid during the first hours of the event. On the shorter formats, of the maratrail type, the intensity increasing, I advise rather an exclusive consumption of carbohydrates amounting to 50 grams per hour. In particular via our energy compotes particularly suited to these efforts. »
Trail nutrition advice N°12: “Mineral water, the best beverage for trail running”
“I am not in favor of the energy drink which, very often, prevents the optimal assimilation of the nutrients provided by the bars or compotes and ultimately leads, after a few hours of racing, to a feeling of nausea. For me, the best drink for the trail is mineral water! Quite simply. Ideally sparkling and full of sodium-type minerals. To be consumed in small sips, at regular intervals. 2 or 3 sips every 10 to 15 minutes. »
Trail nutrition advice N°13 “Know how to manage hypoglycaemia to get off to a better start”
“Despite careful preparation and a scrupulously followed nutrition plan, hypoglycemia is a possibility that can happen. The famous glorious uncertainty of sport. If you are the victim of a sudden drop in energy during the race, rest assured: your trail is not ruined! As in weather, after the rain comes the good weather! By intelligently managing this hypoglycemia, it is possible to "come back". My advice ? Identify this small crisis; do not panic; slow down for a few minutes; eat a first energy compote, interesting in this respect for the rapid assimilation of carbohydrates that it allows; drink in small sips; then, consume a second compote a few minutes later... By following this protocol, the sensations will very quickly return and you will be able to regain your cruising speed. »
Trail nutrition advice N°14: “If, during the race, you start to have a stomach ache, you must...”
“Apart from hypoglycaemia, another kind of “crisis” occurs regularly on trail: stomach ache! Who has never had digestive problems during a race? Person ! If you feel that the stomach ache is starting to appear, I recommend feeding yourself with very small sips of energy compote or very small bites of energy bar. At fairly regular intervals. By keeping what you have just swallowed in your mouth for a few moments, so that the saliva can help the digestion process. »
“In line with the previous advice, I strongly advise avoiding energy gels, which are very popular in trail pelotons today. Indeed, energy gels, by the added sugars they contain and their totally chemical composition, cause reaction hypoglycaemia and digestive disorders in the short term, as well as real health problems in the long term. It’s better to choose healthy, organic and natural energy purees! »
THE FINAL WORD :
“By applying these 15 tips, there is a very good chance that you will have maximum fun and achieve your goals during the next race! »
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