Fueling for a multi-day relay like the Ragnar Relays can be just as hard as training for it. What worked for me was having plenty of options, eating what my body wanted without worrying too much about calories, and drinking lots of water, Nuun and Gatorade.
I wasn’t sure what I would be hungry for during our 36 hour adventure, so I packed lots of different protein bars and other snack options. My teammates also brought assortments of bars, apples, bananas, grapes, and other snacks. We had several cases of water, several cases of Gatorade, and an abundant supply of Nuun tablets.
So, what did I end up eating for Ragnar Relay food?
As I was getting ready to leave my house at 6:00 am, I noticed that I was getting hungry. I don’t usually eat that early, but I knew it was not a day to let my hunger build, so I made a whole grain English muffin with a smidge of peanut butter to eat on my way.
We stopped for coffee and a bathroom break at a Hardee’s near where we were starting. Although we were tempted, we decided that their fried bologna and Velveeta biscuit sandwich would not be a good pre-race breakfast!
I opted for a crunchy peanut butter granola bar instead. 😉
Leg 1 Food
Shortly before my first leg, I ate half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
For my first leg, I carried my Nathan hydration pack, which I had filled with ice, water and a few tablets of Nuun.
I celebrated the end of my first leg with a root beer float.
Between then and dinner I also ate a banana and the other half of my peanut butter and honey sandwich. I was craving salt but no one had brought any chips. Luckily I had tossed some almonds into my bag at the last minute. Someone else brought almonds too, but they were unsalted–not what my body wanted or needed!
For dinner, we went to Ruby Tuesday’s. While most of my teammates got the salad bar as a starter, I was worried about adding too much bulk to my digestive tract. I opted for the grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and avocado, knowing I had a few hours before my run to let it digest.
(If you read this post you’ll know I skipped the bun and ate at least half the fries!)
Leg 2 Food
Before my second leg I got a cup of coffee and a taste of chocolate ice cream at the Creamery–it was delicious but I knew a cone or milkshake wouldn’t sit well during my run. I was fighting off a headache, so I made an effort to keep drinking water and Gatorade–luckily there weren’t any lines for the porta pottys because I used them several times before my second leg. I also ate a banana–my second of the day.
For my second leg, I used my fuel belt instead of my hydration pack so I wouldn’t cover up my Verve Vest. I filled the sports bottle with Gatorade but didn’t end up drinking much.
I wasn’t very hungry right after my second leg, but I’m pretty sure I ate another banana in an effort to help my quads recover. Sometime in the middle of the night we found a bag of lightly salted popcorn that someone had brought. It wasn’t quite as satisfying as chips would have been, but it hit the spot with a salty crunch. I also ate the second peanut butter and honey sandwich I brought, but I can’t quite remember when!
Leg 3 Food
One reason I decided not to try to sleep before my third leg was so I would have time to get breakfast at Starbucks. I usually get their low-fat turkey bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, but their new artisan ham and cheese sandwich is becoming a favorite when I have an excuse to indulge.
After my run I ate another banana. Over the rest of the day, I also had a crunchy peanut butter granola bar and an apple. I had just eaten a Kind bar when we decided to stop for subs at The Italian Store while Runner #10 was running, but I got a large veggie sub with Havarti cheese anyway. I ate half of it while Runner #11 was running, and the other half when we were on our way home.
So, that’s what I remember eating. I may have consumed another granola bar and/or some other random snack, but this gives you an idea of what–and when–I ate during Ragnar DC. I think I made the right choices because I never felt hungry during a run, never felt too full, and never had any GI issues. 🙂
Are there foods you usually eat before, during or after a race?
Do you have a favorite snack bar?