/ Savoury food on the go for Ultras
Ok so after 4 ultras and lots of long training runs I have decided I cannot tolerate the normal sweet food approach, i haven’t got a sweet tooth and don’t snack on sweet stuff anyway so using it running is just not working
I get to the point where I take a bite of a flapjack or other bar after 3 or 4 hours and can’t even bear to chew it, I can’t even bear the thought of taking a gel on, got to the point on a few races where I was so empty I started throwing up.
On the Lakeland 50 last year what saved me was the soup, crisps veg stews etc. at the checkpoints.
So what are people taking on the trail for long training runs and races between feeds ? I can only carry so many bagels/sandwiches so need something a bit more calorie dense but compact and portable.
i should mention I have been vegan for 2 years now, veggie before that for 20 years so that's a small complication as cheese etc is out.
Consulting an expert like Rebecca Dent may be of some value.
I'm quite a fan of cold roast potatoes covered in salt. Also salted almonds. And comte, but thats not much use to you.
Last ultra I did, they had marmite butties at about 70k. Not normally the first thing I would think of for race nutrition. Dipped in a cup of water, to help them go down, made a refreshingly savory change from the sugar overload. In others cheese and onion pasties have worked, but again, you need to sort out some liquid. Drinking from a tube, whilst chewing a mouth full of dry(ish) food and running, is hard work.
For long runs, up to about 30k, I don't take any specific food. I might have a gel or two in the bag for emergencies. I'm training my body to burn lard as it's not something I'll run out of.
It's pretty normal. I actually start eating 'normal' food from the start in ultras now.
French aid stations are big on salami, cheese and crackers, peanuts and the obligatory noodle broth and I find salty stuff like this helps - especially as I only drink water.
Google 'Jason Koop Rice balls' - I ran an ultra a couple of weeks ago and made a variant of these with aborio rice and baked in the oven so they stayed together more like muffins. You could substitute the egg for ground chia seeds to bind together?
They worked a treat and I was eating them up to the end and didn't fall apart stuffed in my race vest.
Boiled new potatoes rolled in salt are another handy one that works for me, and cold slices of pizza but they can be a bit dry and hard when your mouth is dehydrated. But really its just a case of experimenting as the body and mind make weird choice after hours on end out on the trail.
Have you looked at 'Eat and Run' by Scott Jurek? Obviously lots of vegan recipes in there. I haven't tried it (in race conditions) but hummus wrapped in flatbread seems like a winner to me.
Mini sausages, sausage rolls, pork pies, crisps, digestive biscuits, fig rolls (although maybe these are sweet). Tuna sandwiches.
All sounds awesome but not much use for a vegan diet ;-)
Thanks, potatoes seem to crop up a bit, will give them a try.
Jurek book is a good shout, be an interesting ready anyway £6 on amazon
How about making some savoury, vegan flapjacks? There is plenty of opportunity to customise them to your own tastes.
We have a book called Energy bites, ISBN 978-0-2412-4997-0.
Loads of savory options in it, so you could experiment with some recipes from there
Ah yes. Well you need to find vegetables high in fat and protein then if you’re not running off dense carbs. Which I think is going to be peanuts and cashews. Although there’s only so many Avacados you can eat in a day!
Maybe make your own granola bars with whatever butter substitutes you use and without treacle.
Peanut butter sandwiches.
The salty ones.
I go PB and J. A mix of savory and sweet, don't matter if squashed. I just make up a few and put one in a separate sandwich bag.
I tried jerky recently after 60 miles and it's probably still all down the Newbury trail on Mount Sunapee from where I projectile vomited 15 minutes..
> For long runs, up to about 30k, I don't take any specific food. I might have a gel or two in the bag for emergencies. I'm training my body to burn lard as it's not something I'll run out of.
If I could crack lard burning for energy I'd be a machine...
> Have you looked at 'Eat and Run' by Scott Jurek? Obviously lots of vegan recipes in there. I haven't tried it (in race conditions) but hummus wrapped in flatbread seems like a winner to me.
I was a big fan of the hummus and olive wrap from that book. They're nicely savoury, not too dry and virtually indestructible in the pack.
Cold pizza. I'm struggling to imagine a scenario where I couldn't put just one more slice of pizza away!
My stomach is very weak and reactive to sugar at longer distances. To the point that every sip of tailwind I was taking caused projectile vomiting during a race earlier in the year.
Ive just picked up some reusable “fill and squeeze” pouches that are normally used for baby food.
Plan on blending up various ingredients and carrying the pouches.
maybe; oats, banana, nut butter, chia seeds and almond milk. Or just plain sweet potato and salt.
Yeah I get really sick of monkey spunk (gels) ! I've heard of roast sweet potatoe in a bag is good but I crave something to actually chew. Not vegetarian I know but I'm going to try cubes of tinned ham!
I am certain it’s sugar that does me too, tried Tailwind yesterday on an 18 miler but ended up not being able to eat anything at about mile 15 and each sip of drink was causing issues, I’m pretty sure if somebody had offered me a salty roast potato I would have stuffed it down without an issue.
Going to experiment with a few suggestions from folk here and see what happens.
Savoury, calorie dense and vegan? Olives fit the bill, as do nuts of all sorts
Spiced pumkin flapjack.
My ideal pick-me-up is a can of condensed milk heated with chocolate melted into it and I can’t stand spiced pumkin flapjack - so it might be just what you’re after.
> My stomach is very weak and reactive to sugar at longer distances. To the point that every sip of tailwind I was taking caused projectile vomiting during a race earlier in the year.
I thought it was just me...that I was doing something wrong, but I often start feeling really sick on longer (hard) runs and just can't face anything sweet. In fact, I struggle to eat anything, even potatoes and salt, but sweet stuff really makes me gag
I found Tailwind much better than gels though. But, I haven't used it in a really long race (say, over 20 miles), so it's a little unproven for me. Sadly, injury has reduced me to slow running up to 2 hours only, but building this back up. The thing with running slow, which is good, is that I never feel queasy and can eat like a horse as soon as I get home...the wife fixes a nose bag to my face and gives me a lump of sugar and an apple if I'm good ;-)
Have a look at Feed zone portables by Biji Thomas & Allen Lim, a cook book of on the go food for athletes
Most of the reipes can be easily adjusted to make it suitable for Vegans eg: swap eggs for bananas.
Chinese supermarkets sell savoury tofu snacks but I'm not sure if they are Vegan
Samosas, bhajis, falaffels. The holy trinity of savoury snacking for when a PB&J sandwich doesn't cut it. All suitably greasy and energy rich too.
Peanut butter sarnies/buns cut into 1/4s, sometimes with jam. Hot cross buns and fruit loaf always worked for me but you might need to shop special/make for vegan. Lazy veggie here that doesn't check too hard for animal fat. For sugar I get on well with jelly babies, veggie are available there.
Another vote for cold roast potatoes. I like mine rough and crispy with salt.
I also like the 'mini starters' (bhajis, samosas, spring rolls etc) that you get in most supermarkets.
I really liked the onion ring crisps supplied on the RAT this year - they really hit the spot!
Cold pizza sounds good too - why have I never thought of that?
Back in the 80's I used to cycle with a guy that always took a cold jacket potato (sliced, buttered and wrapped in foil) and a couple hard-boiled eggs on long rides. His water bottle was an upcycled Domestos bottle (before upcycling was a thing ;-)
> Not vegetarian I know but I'm going to try cubes of tinned ham!
A vegan alternative to that might be this stuff, available in all the usual supermarkets: https://www.cauldronfoods.co.uk/products/tofu/organic-marinated-tofu-pieces
Samosas, that's a good shout, might have crack at making some of my own.
I've heard Tailwind come up a bit here and I'm not an expert (not tried it) but the logic of mixing your energy consumption (calories) and hydration isn't meant to be a great one and I've seen some pretty convincing cases made against it in coaching manuals etc.
I only really ever drink water in ultras (and soup) so I can tailor the ratio of liquid to calories depending on the conditions. If it's hot, I can drink more liquid but keep my calorie consumption at a constant pace. If I'm sick of food I can still keep drinking (sometimes on long ultras I'll have to stop eating for a few hours to give my digestive system a break but its a fine line between that and avoiding a bonk) which is more important than not drinking. If you bonk, you can come around in half an hour with extra energy but if you're chronically dehydrated it can be game over.
A bit off topic but just an observation anyway.
I think that's a really good point. I can potentially see a need to use electrolytes in drinking water, but I'd never really considered the negative effect of combining calories with hydration.
Cubed potato and hummus. Put it in a squishy bag and then just squeeze it into your mouth.
Dolmades were an unexpected godsend when I did my BGR. Don't normally like them that much (I can have a couple but find them a bit much) but when my mam put a boxfull in my lap at Wasdale I devoured the lot then asked for a second box - oily, carb-rich vegan goodness!
Personally I find getting *any* food down on an ultra really difficult - my digestive system just shuts down. So "whatever you most like to eat" to encourage you to eat it is probably the answer.
Salt can help if you're cramping up.
FWIW for sweet stuff I can't be doing with gels either but I can do Kendal mint cake.
> Personally I find getting *any* food down on an ultra really difficult - my digestive system just shuts down. So "whatever you most like to eat" to encourage you to eat it is probably the answer.
> Salt can help if you're cramping up.
> FWIW for sweet stuff I can't be doing with gels either but I can do Kendal mint cake.
I am exactly the same. About to put another strategy to the test this weekend. Stuff as much rubbish down my gullet as I can in the first 3 hours. Shame I can't carry a kebab.
Then at least when the puking starts at 5 hours there will be something in there worth chucking up! 😀
I look forward to my 1st ultra experience....then
> I look forward to my 1st ultra experience....then
They are brilliant fun, mostly. The eating is far harder than the running!
Yep, eating is by far the biggest challenge for me, it’s bloody frustrating when your legs are fine but you are dry retching every 20 steps because your stomach has packed up regardless of what you have and haven’t eaten
Did a 40 mile training run yesterday and followed a Eat every 2miles protocol
pizza ,sandwiches and crisps in equal measure and it's the first time i have stayed hungry for the whole run ever
After about 15 mile i was actually thinking my food stocks wouldn't last as my appetite was so good , the only sugary stuff i got down me was 3 cans of coke
Felt great and running better than ever over the last 5 miles which was really encouraging
went home and had a curry to celebrate ha ha
Anything dry for me is a struggle but as many other people have mentioned, olive an hummus wraps have been my go to food.
Also it’s funny how many people are suggesting sausage rolls!
Baby food pouch’s are friend
> Also it’s funny how many people are suggesting sausage rolls!
Sausage rolls and mini pork pies and Scotch eggs
>Anything dry for me is a struggle
I used to find that as well. The trick is to dip everything dry in a cup of water. It takes less chewing. I bought a Salomon Soft Cup "speed", (why speed??) which has all the aesthetics of a novelty condom. You need to hold it right and it cant take hot drinks, but it makes life easier, packs down small and weighs nothing.
Hi I’m vegan too and I use vegan jerky. There are several brands available, including King’s and Primal, with different flavours within each brand. King’s has even recently been available in Aldi at 99p! Best to shop around because prices vary.
Also if you’re happy to carry the weight and bulk of sausage rolls, Aldi do a pack of vegan 4 frozen ones for £1.19. These are certainly calorie dense for the weight.
Found a great new remedy on the OMM a couple of weeks back. Sugar bonked big time about 5hrs in on the Sunday. Not a great one for jelly babies etc so tried mini chocy chip Maryland Cookies. Totally melt in the mouth without being sickly and sugar kicked in within 20mins! Will be in my emergency rations from now on! 😀
Back in the day when I did this sort of thing, I found that sticking to savoury solids from the start was good. Towards the end when my food intake was shutting down and energy running out I would take sweet stuff - the usuals, jelly babies, chocolate etc. My body would immediately crave these and slip down easily giving me a final boost, but doesn't work very long.
Sort of reverse of what many runners do.
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