Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Spine Blog 6 - Food

mmm. Chewy.
Time is rapidly running out for getting kit together, practicing with it and making sure that everything fits nicely for a long run in the cold.
As much as you practice being on your feet, navigating and working your way up the Pennine Way, the one thing that simply cannot be forgotten, but is so often left until the last minute, is the food situation.

Soup and a roll?
The race is continuous. The Challenger edition - 108 miles has a cut off of 60 hours. If you're going for a time that is on the slower end of this, you're looking at a decent amount of time on your feet. Even if you intend on doing the whole thing in one hit and taking somewhere around the 30 hour mark, there is still a significant nutrition issue to consider.

Considering what may or may not go right or wrong, how do you keep yourself fueled for up to 40 or 50 hours? On the one extreme, just stuffing your face with gels and liquid calories isn't really going to be conducive to getting through the whole thing. At the other end, sitting down for sandwiches and soup every 4 hours, and then meat and 2 veg at the end of each day isn't exactly a strategy that is a viable option for most of us, simply because of the sheer amount of weight that you'd have to carry.

moonshine. Not recommended
The answer must lie somewhere in the between. (thanks, Nic for the line).

The whole idea about nutrition (and I say this not at a nutritionist, but rather, as a competitor with a basic concept of what the body needs), is that it enables you to finish the race without throwing up (and losing a load of calories that your body needs), without carrying so much food weight that it makes it impossible to carry your bag, and with food that you are able to face even after 30 straight hours of running and eating.

HPM food stop
No, this isn't just a running competition, or even just an endurance competition. This is also an eating competition. Who can create the best food, and be able to eat and stomach it continuously all the way to the end of the race. Mess this one up at your peril. Its a lot harder than just putting one foot in front of the other. I've written a blog about feeding in long races a while ago so you might find some more useful information there.

The homemade way
So what is my strategy?
Same as always. Find what works for you and stick with it. I suspect I'm going to be going with a combination of Traidcraft Geobars, knock off Mars and Snickers from Aldi, pitta with LOADS of butter and various fillings (tuna Mayo...mmmm), and a few select bits and pieces from the ever excellent Feedzone Portables.
As for drinking, I'll probably end up with 2 bottles, one with water and the other with some kind of Lemon/lime flavoured electrolyte derivative.
And a Lot of Coffee. 


As ever, a plug for Glossop Mountain Rescue - I'm doing this, the inaugural Spine Mountain Rescue Challenger as a part of Glossop Mountain Rescue, and raising funds for the team. We are all volunteers and give our time freely to help those in need in the wild places around the place we call home. Our patch includes Bleaklow, in essence, 250square km of high bog, and we are using this challenge to specifically raise money for the less glamorous aspects of MR.
The medications that go out of date and need to be replaced. The MOTs for the Landrovers. The replacement waterproofs that get worn out by team members. The radios that get mud and waterlogged etc. We rely on donations to keep our charity going.
Head on over to the justgiving page to find out more.

1 comment:

  1. I've had recent experience of the 'eating competition '. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of dread when the guts decide they're having a break. My advice is to pack a few things you probably won't eat, take sure that when you feel properly green then you have a lot of options to choose from. Tim Cs peanuts probably saved my BG but I wouldn't have planned on bringing my own.