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This week I’m headed to Central Texas for the Ragnar relay race. I started working on my own nutrition plan for the overnight relay race and in digging around online found very little with guidance that was recently written, so I decided to go ahead and publish my plans in case it helps anyone else. This plan is adapted based on what I’ve done at things like the Texas Independence Relay and Ironman Texas in the past.

We are driving up early Friday morning, since most of our team is lucky to get one full night away from home, so that only means packing and camping for one evening instead of two, which is obviously a little easier.  The current plan is for me to run three legs of the race, starting with a three-mile leg at 3 p.m., the next one will be 8 miles about 9 p.m. and then my final leg will be 5 miles at about 3 a.m. for 15 miles total. One look at the available food from the Food Trucks and I decided I needed to get organized with what I am going to pack and eat.

For me, personally, this food will likely be richer in fat in a single meal than will sit well in my stomach and is a recipe for problems on the trail. My goal is to be appropriately fueled for all the legs and not weighed down by anything super dense in case plans change, and I need to run any extra. I also want to avoid GI distress as much as possible as I generally have a sensitive system.

So here are the principles I followed in putting together my specific plans:

A generally familiar menu with as much food from home as possible.

Smaller portions throughout the day instead of any large meals that will take a while to process.

Hit my usual daily consumption of food on Friday and Saturday without being excessive. Since I usually train 1-2 hours per day, running 15 miles over two days doesn’t mean a lot of extra calories, but I am adding in 40g extra carbs on Friday. I am also in a maintenance mode, so I will be fully fueled, not operating at a deficit of any kind.

Spread protein, fat and carbs throughout the day and maintaining recovery food/drink routine, so my body has plenty of resources to recover from the stress of trail running.

Easy to pack food that is low in fiber and food that I like.

The menu plan below totals out to 2059 calories at 279g carbs/51g fat/130g protein the first day through through 10:30 p.m. I start counting as a fresh day after midnight. What will be important is that if I don’t drink all the Skratch or fuel that I’m planning for on a run, I’ll need to make it up with something else or finish it when I get back to camp so I don’t create a calorie deficit, which is not my goal.

  • 5 a.m. Breakfast at home: 2 egg and veggie scramble + coffee
  • 9 a.m. AM Snack en route to Ragnar: coffee + Stoneyfield Farms superfruit Greek yogurt
  • 12 noon Lunch: 200g Sweet potatoes + 80g chicken from home + Good Foods single serving guacamole
  • 3:30 p.m. First Leg: Run 3 miles with 1 bottle filled with 12g Skratch
  • 4 p.m. Mini-Recovery Drink: Kids RxBar
  • 6 p.m. Dinner: 200g sweet potatoes + 100g Grilled chicken from the food trucks + Good Foods single serving guacamole
  • 8 p.m. RxBar or Almond Power Protein Cookies (making these to bring for the team) + Apple
  • 9 p.m. Second Leg: Run 8 miles with Skratch in my hydration pack + 1 Skratch chew per mile (You could get away with less fuel here, but since I’m eating relatively small portions all day, I want to be sure I’m fueling not just for this run, but for the run at 3 a.m. as well)
  • 10:30 p.m. Recovery Drink: 20g protein + 10g carbs + banana
  • 3 a.m. Third Leg: Run 5 miles with Skratch and carry Skratch chews to use as needed (this is my last run and it isn’t too long, so I can go with how I feel. If I’m hungry when I wake up from hopefully sleeping some, I can eat a banana, kids RxBar or Greek yogurt before I head out on the trail, which would negate the need for chews on the run.)
  • 4 a.m. Mini-Recovery Drink: 10g protein + 5g carbs

After my running is done, I can relax if I want to and have more indulgent food from the Food Trucks onsite or on the way home. Just in case though, I plan to pack the following items for the next day:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Extra fruit
  • Single serving packs of almond butter
  • RxBars
  • Baby carrots
  • Shredded chicken

Now I just need to get my actual gear together and we hit the road on Friday AM!

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