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The correct nutrition of a trail runner or an ultra runner is composed of a high quantity of carbohydrates equal to 65-70% of the total calories ingested during the day. The percentage of carbohydrates drops to 55% when the athlete is not training and increases to 75% before and after a long-running session. Proteins should not exceed the amount of 1.5g/kg of body weight, including a correct supplementation of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to be evaluated by a professional nutritionist, avoiding DIY. Furthermore, lipids should represent at most 20-25% of the total energy. If you do not train every day, you will have to keep your calories under control. The accumulation of adipose tissue and overweight, in fact, induce an inevitable slowdown in running pace and a greater predisposition to injuries to the lower limb joints when running downhill.

Here’s a MINI-GUIDE to help you to organize meals and nutrition based on your workouts:

  • Plan your meals of the day in advance based on your training schedule and the place where you will perform your workout. This will help you to plan, eventually, to bring the recovery meal with you
  • If you train in the early afternoon, compose your pre-training meal with low glycemic index carbohydrate-based foods. For example 100g of “basmati” rice with vegetables, 10g of extra virgin olive oil and 10g of Parmesan Cheese (on average 450 kcal). In case the training is carried out 3 hours or more after lunch, you can choose to eat your usual pasta meal. If, instead, you train before lunch or in the evening, plan to eat a snack 2 hours before your training session, i.e. 1 carbo bar or 30g of dehydrated fruit or 30g dark chocolate >70%
  • Remember to integrate your energies during long runs with carbo gels (80-115 kcal each); carbo bars (130-180 kcal each) and energy drink (300-350 kcal x 500ml). Pay Attention: not all products are the same and are good, there are so many brands on the market! Read the product label carefully and if you have any doubts about the quality of the contents, consult a nutritionist
  • If you are an advanced athlete and you are performing long runs over 60-70Km, remember to include any solid food and/or coca-cola drink in your kcal calculations in order to control the sugars intake
  • In the immediate post-workout (30-70’), eat a meal composed of medium to high glycemic index carbohydrates with low fat and low protein percentage. An example would be: 150g of pasta, 2 slices of bread and 1 banana (about 450kcal). And don’t forget to take your recovery drink.

WOULD you LIKE to learn more about Nutrition?

Have a look at our Nutrition Programs: NUTRITIONAL PLANS & SPORTS DIETS

Download the *free* Mini-Guide Trail & Running Nutrition: TRAIL & RUNNING NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION

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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.