Archive for June, 2012

Ultra eating, avoiding feeling sick..

I’ve had lots of emails recently from people who have asked why they feel sick during long distance events. Many runners feel incapable of eating almost anything which inevitably impacts upon their performance, so what’s the reason for such common occurrences? Presuming that you don’t have an actual stomach infection (lets rule that one out), there are a number of common things which may result in feelings of sickness. One of the key things to identify from the start is that your stomach and gut have a much lower blood supply during exercise, as blood is diverted to the exercising muscles. This redistribution of blood does nothing to help the already poor digestion!

Why isotonic?

Your stomach and gut acts a little like a sieve, if you pour water into it, the water passes straight through. If you pour a milkshake into the same sieve, it will pass through, but will take a little more time. If you throw solid food into a sieve, it stays exactly where it is. The only way to pass solid food through a sieve would be to mix it up with water and make a thin enough solution which can pass through the tiny holes.

Isotonic fuels are generally made up to 6-7% solution, this is a similar thickness to body fluids (6g / 100ml). Any fluid which is thinner than body fluids such as water is referred to as hypotonic and any solution which is thicker than body fluids such as a smoothie would be considered hypertonic. Thin solutions (hypo) enter the body quickly and therefore provide energy, electrolytes and hydration at a faster rate, the thicker solutions (hyper) enter more slowly but they do contain more calories / energy in total. Isotonic drinks are a balance between the two, they have energy (unlike water) and they enter pretty quick (unlike smoothie).

It’s important to get the balance right, if your drink is too thick it may sit in your stomach rather than being absorbed, giving you cramps or making you feel sick/bloated. If the drink solution is too thin, you won’t receive enough energy and you will slow down as a consequence.

That’s fine for drinks but what about solid food?

In an ultra distance race its likely that you will be eating solid food at some point. We stated above that anything which is above 7% solution is hypertonic, all energy bars and solid food is hypertonic as its consistency is ‘all energy’ and very little fluid. This means that if you wish to absorb solid food effectively, you must add water to make a 6-7% solution. For example, a standard energy bar is approximately 48g in total weight. We said earlier that 6g in 100ml of fluid would be a 6% solution, so that means you would have to drink 800ml of water with each energy bar to make at isotonic solution (48 is 6% of 800).

As you can see, taking energy bars and other solid food provides energy, but you have to take a lot of fluid to create an isotonic solution in your stomach. If you fail to take sufficient fluid you will have a thick ‘hypertonic’ solution in your stomach which may well sit there, fail to provide energy (does not get absorbed into the bloodstream) and lead to stomach cramps or sickness!! 800ml of fluid with every bar is a lot of fluid, think how much water you’d need to drink to dilute a full bowl of pasta and create a 6-7% solution, let’s not even get started on the pudding to follow!!

Don’t forget the 60g per hour rule!!

During exercise it’s unlikely that you can absorb more than 60g per hour of carbohydrate so eating too much food will have a negative impact upon absorption. You need to consider the 60g per hour rule in conjunction with the isotonic rule and marry the two together, for example:

60g of carbohydrate powder mixed in 1 litre of fluid would be the correct amount of energy (60g) and also the correct solution (60g in 1 litre = 6%). If you drank 2x500ml bottles each hour with 30g of powder in each bottle, that would provide 1 litre and 60g of powder.

What if 1 litre is too much to drink?

A full litre of fluid each hour is a lot to drink so that could cause problems.. your choices are:

1. Drink less fluid – if you put the whole 60g of powder in one 500ml bottle, that’s only half the fluid intake, but that is also a 12% hypertonic solution which may sit in your stomach
2. Take less carbohydrate – If you only drink one 500ml bottle per hour (as above) you could just add 30g which would maintain an isotonic 6% solution, but that would mean that you are only taking 30g per hour, rather than the recommended 60g per hour.

What about gels and bars?

The above examples only discuss the use of carbohydrate powder but what if you’re going to eat solid food or sports bars and gels? The guidelines are the same, a gel is generally 30g in weight so one gel with 500ml of water every half hour would be roughly correct. You need to be careful if you are taking both carbohydrate drinks and solid food that you don’t consume too many grams of carbohydrate. Taking 2 gels per hour would provide the required 60g, if you also consumed 60g of powder in your drinks, this would be too much energy, resulting in slow stomach emptying.

What about the food content?

There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that eating too much carbohydrate may also impact upon digestion and potential stomach problems. As the rate of absorption for carbohydrate is limited, focusing purely on a high carbohydrate intake may result in sickness during long distance events. For this reason, is you are prone to such issues, a higher fat intake is something which you should experiment with.

Guidelines:

1. Eating too much food will result in a hypertonic solution and slow digestion, eat smaller amounts and eat frequently rather than feasting at every checkpoint
2. Poor fluid intake will also result in solutions being hypertonic, you should always try to maintain a 10% solution in your stomach or better
3. The maximum rate of absorption for carbohydrates is likely to be no more than 60g per hour, ingesting greater quantities may result in poor digestion
4. Eating carbohydrates only may impact upon gastric issues, if susceptible, try a higher fat intake as circumstantial evidence suggests this may help

Best of luck with your preparation!

Regards
Marc Laithwaite

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Lakeland 50 & 100 Checkpoint Food List

This is the current draft of the checkpoint food and drink available to Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 competitors. There may be additional items which will be added to this list before the event, the food you see below is the minimum which you should expect to be suppplied. Soups, pasta dishes and stew will be fortified with ground flax seed to increase fat content and overall calories. Kinetica are the official supplier of sports products and will supply either 100% energy or 100% recovery drink at checkpoints. All include electrolytes and recovery includes protein. all are fruit flavoured and can be mixed with water alone. Sweets will be jelly beans or similar, mixed nuts and seeds will also be available. Both are provided in conjunction with plastic bags so you can ‘scoop into bag’ and eat on the move. All pasta meals are vegetarian but contain protein, stew will be available with or without meat. All bread will be brown wholemeal.

Seathwaite

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Cake

Bananas

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Boot

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Flapjack

Biscuits

Nuts and Seeds

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Tea
Coffee
Wasdale

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Soup

Bread

Sweets

Cola

Kinetica 100% Recovery

Water
Tea
Coffee
Buttermere

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Soup

Bread

Biscuits

Nuts and Seeds

Kinetica Energy Gels

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Tea
Coffee
Braithwaite

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Pasta meal

Rice pudding

Biscuits

Cola

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Tea
Coffee
Blencathra

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Cake

Bananas

Sweets

Kinetica Milk Pro Protein Bars

Kinetica 100% Recovery

Water
Tea
Coffee
Dockray

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Soup

Bread

Biscuits

Nuts and Seeds

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Tea
Coffee
Dalemain

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Meat/Veg Stew

Bread

Pudding and Custard

Kinetica 100% Recovery

Cola

Water
Tea Cofffee
Howtown

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Flapjack

Bananas

Sweets

Kinetica 100% Energy

Water
Tea
Coffee
Mardale

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Soup

Bread

Nuts and Seeds

Kinetica Energy Gels

Kinetica 100% Energy

Cola

Water
Tea
Coffee
Kentmere

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Pasta meal

Fruit smoothie

Biscuits

Kinetica 100% Recovery

Water
Tea
Coffee
Ambleside

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Soup

Bread

Cake

Kinetica Milk Pro Protein Bars

Kinetica 100% Energy

Cola

Water
Tea
Coffee
Langdale

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Meat/Veg Stew

Bread

Biscuits

Bananas

Kinetica 100% Recovery

Cola

Water
Tea
Coffee
Tilberthwaite

Slow Carbs

Fast Carbs

Protein

Good fats

Electrolytes

Flapjack

Sweets

Kinetica 100% Energy

Cola

Water
Tea
Coffee
Coniston Finish Meal
Pasta Meal
Cake
Kinetica Protein Shake
Tea
Coffee

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Recce Weekend 5, The Report..

The weather forecast was not the best we’d experienced, reports of imminent gales, weather warnings and floods to the North West and with cancellations to events such as the Great North Swim, we were moderately concerned that our recce weekend would be affected. On Friday evening myself and Terry had decided that the coach would drop everyone off Saturday at Mardale Head rather than Pooley Bridge to shorted the day considerably, but still allow a good section of recce to take place. As the weather forecast for Sunday seemed a great deal better, this was the sensible option.

Saturday morning dawned relatively still and on the drive to Ambleside the carnage from the previous night was clear to see. The rain was still falling heavily at times but the wind had dropped and the forecast was much improved. Based on that we made a decision to run the full Saturday recce, 28 miles, with the option for slower runners to be transported by minibus to Howtown or Mardale, thereby shortening the day. This plan worked perfectly and although the rain re-appeared later in the afternoon, everyone completed the course by 5:30pm. The final checkpoint was Lakes Runner and everyone gathered in Bilbo’s Cafe above the shop to drink tea and replace energy, choices ranged from salads to full fry ups..!!

At 7:00pm the clan gathered for the social and talks at the Kelsick Hall in Ambleside. We were really pleased to see almost 70 people attend the evening, despite the hard day behind them, the hard day ahead and the football on TV. It was an enjoyable evening which gave people the opportunity to ask questions, meet other runners and learn more about the logistics of the event. A large amount of flapjack, biscuits, cake and tea was consumed and its fair to say that most replaced the calories they had burned and packed in a few for Sunday’s adventure!!

With the worst of the weather behind us, Sunday was an easier day, with faster running and no swimming to Elterwater. Everyone was home by 2:30pm and at that point the sun came out..

That’s the last of the official recce days, 5 weeks to go, there can’t be much more water left in the clouds so we should be set for sunshine in July 😉

We’ll see you all in Coniston

Regards
Marc & Terry

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Who’s looking after you? (part 4)

In the final blog of this series, CP 7/8/9/10..

Checkpoint 7, Dockray, Matterdale

Checkpoint 7 is found at the end of the old coach road, in a deserted car park, usually in the early hours of the morning.. that’s why you’ll be pleased to see them. Conrad Slack is the checkpoint manager and having completed the first ever Montane Lakeland 100 he has progressed to a range of other activities. Most recently he has been turning his attention to establishing a BMX racing track in Keswick but he is a man of many talents. Despite being in the mature years / stage of his life, I recently bumped into Conrad completing back flips on a mountain bike, landing on a huge inflatable pillow.. does this speak volumes for the kind of people who complete the 100 course? You decide..

Checkpoint 8, Dalemain House, Pooley Bridge

The ‘half way stop’ for the 100 course which is in fact not half way at all and it is the start of the 50 mile event. Dalemain is manned by The Endurance Store who will be providing rest, food and not a lot of sympathy for tired and weary 100 runners. The setting for this checkpoint is fantastic, in front of the country house, ultra runners indulging in tea on the lawn… ‘I say old chap, care for another Jammy dodger?’.  The coaches drop off at this point for the 50 runners to start and friends family get a great spot to view as runners initially complete a 4 miles loop before starting their journey to Coniston. Friends and family may choose to join you for the first 4 miles rather than watching, after that you’re on your own.. apart from 900 other people.

Checkpoint 9/1, Bobbin Mill, Howtown

The first CP for the 50 runners and you’ll have barely broken sweat. After a great trail along Ullswater you drop to Howtown for the first stop and then start the first real climb up Fusedale valley. The checkpoint is managed by kinetica Nutrition who are also our official nutrition supplier. As you can imagine, with barely an hour of running gone by, this checkpoint can be a little ‘manic’ with runners grabbing food and drink, recording their time and then dashing back up the hill in the direction of Mardale.

Checkpoint 10/2, Mardale Head Car Park, Mardale

Last but not least in our series of who’s looking after you, we have CP 10/2 at Mardale Head. This checkpoint is staffed by trail running club Delamere Spartans. The club have a history of runners competing in the 50/100 mile events and this continues in 2012. The spartans are trail runners from Cheshire with an appetite for ultra distances and they will be supporting, feeding, hydrating and cheering you on as you pass through their remote but stunning location. If it’s motivation you need, you’ll find it with these guys, they are trail runners, they are the spartans.. what’s your occupation?

See you all on the 27th.

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June recce weekend final details

June recce weekend covers Dalemain to Ambleside on Saturday 23rd June and Ambleside to Coniston Sunday 24th June. Guest talks will be in Ambleside and you should look to find accommodation in the Ambleside area for Saturday. The specific times and details are as follows:

Saturday 23rd June

The coaches will pick up from the public car park at the head of the lake, to see the location GO HERE. The coaches will leave at 8:00am, please be there 7:45am at latest. The coaches will drop off at Pooley Bridge as opposed to Dalemain which shortens the course for the day slightly by missing a flat section across fields. If for any reason you intend to go direct to Pooley Bridge, please meet close to public toilets in centre of village, coach will arrive approximately 8:45am. You will need to locate Terry and add your name to the list of those running.

There are 3 checkpoints on this section during race day, only 2 of these will be manned for the recce:

1. Howtown (not manned)
2. Mardale (manned)
3. Kentmere (manned)
4. Ambleside (finish)

*Based on the above, we suggest that you do not descend the hill to Howtown checkpoint but continue to Mardale (On race day to reach Howtown you have to descend a steep hill for 800m, then retrace your steps back to the route).

We will have a list of all runners and walkers on the course and you must ensure that the person at Mardale and Kentmere checkpoints knows you have passed through. Basic refreshments will be available (water/flapjack/biscuits or similar) but please carry anything specific you wish to eat and drink. There will be a minibus in operation to deal with any potential drop out, but hopefully this won’t be required. Please note that if you are forced to retire at a checkpoint, there may be a significant wait until the minibus can collect.

At the finish (Lakes Runner Ambleside) you are required to ‘sign in’. PLEASE ENSURE YOU VISIT THIS CHECKPOINT and don’t return direct to your car.

Sunday 24th June

Sunday morning, the coach departs 8:30am at Coniston John Ruskin School . Please arrive at 8:15am latest, it is approximately 20-30 mins drive from Ambleside and there is parking at the school, pay at the ‘honesty box’. The coach will drop you off at Ambleside Lakes Runner at approximately 9:00am. If for any reason you intend to go direct to Ambleside, please meet at Lakes Runner, coach will arrive approximately 9:00am. You will need to locate Terry and add your name to the list of those running.

There are 2 checkpoints on this section during race day, only 1 of these will be manned for the recce:

1. Chapel Stile (not manned)
2. Tilberthwaite (manned)
3. Coniston (finish)

We will have a list of all runners and walkers on the course and you must ensure that the person at Tilberthwaite checkpoint knows you have passed through. Basic refreshments will be available (water/flapjack/biscuits or similar) but please carry anything specific you wish to eat and drink. There will not be a minibus in operation on Sunday, so please carry some spare money should you wish to retire and phone a taxi.

At the finish (Coniston John Ruskin School) you are required to ‘sign in’. PLEASE ENSURE YOU VISIT THIS CHECKPOINT and don’t return direct to your car.

Guest talks / social, Saturday evening

For Saturday evening presentation, arrive 7:00pm for 7:30pm start. Coffee, tea and biscuits will be free on the evening, feel free to bring your own food and drink along with you. Any voluntary donations for tea/coffee will be given to charity. The location of the guest talks is the Kelsick Hall, St Mary’s Lane, Ambleside, LA22 9DG. For Google Map location GO HERE. There will be a register at the door as you arrive, if you are bringing family/friends/guests who have not paid to join the recce, we ask that they donate £5 to charity in return for the guest talks and refreshments, this is paid at the door.

The presentation delivered by Marc Laithwaite will be titled ‘Things to consider with 4 weeks to go’ and will largely draw upon experiences of previous competitors and the organisers. The presentation will include the most common reasons for participants failing to complete and how you can ensure this doesn’t happen to you! The presentation will also provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions before the event weekend.

Other things to consider

Bring map, roadbook and GPS if available, it is your responsibility to do the preparation beforehand and be ready to go. We will not have maps, roadbooks or any GPS assistance on the day. You must also bring full kit as per competitor area, the recce provides the perfect opportunity to test any equipment. TheEnduranceStore will be there on Saturday evening, if you need anything in advance they will bring and deliver to you. Email info@theendurancestore.com or go to http://www.theendurancestore.com

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