This year at the Paddy Pallin Preparation Session on Nutrition & Hydration, we learnt how to stay energised and hydrated during training and on the trail. We were advised on the best food, supplements and drink to take before, during and after training.

We were lucky enough to hear from dietitian and Olympic athlete Linden Hall.

Some of Linden’s top tips were:

  • Lead up days
    • ‘Carb loading’ can help to increase the body’s carbohydrate stores, so you can
      start trailwalker with a full tank
    • 1 day of increased carbohydrate intake, paired with a decrease in training
      (tapper period) will help fill up the tank with carbohydrate fuel.
    • To help assist increased carbohydrate intake recommended to;
      • decrease fat foods, as these may make you too full
      • Choose additional food options with lower fibre
    • Strategies:
      • Increasing the percentage of the carbohydrate component of meals (e.g. bread,
        pasta, rice, potato etc)
      • Introduce additional carbohydrate based snacks (e.g. muesli bars, toast, milk etc)
  • Pre-event
    • GOAL:
      • Get to the start line well fuelled
    • Substantial dinner evening before, including high carbohydrate content
    • Breakfast, aim to top up fuel tank
      • Include source of carbohydrates
      • 1-2 hours before start, allowing time for digestion
      • Examples: porridge, cereals, toast with substantial topping etc
    • Some may prefer liquid meals if very early, or nervous about the event
  • During the event
    • GOAL: stay well fuelled throughout to support best physical performance
      • Eating every ~3hrs
      • Foods high in carbohydrates
        • Sports foods – gels, sports bars, sports drink etc
        • Bread products
        • Fruits
        • Trail mix
      • Make sure all foods have been trialled in training to avoid upset stomach
      • Consider the variety of foods – flavour fatigue can set in. include sweet and savory food options
      • Incorporating some protein will help to increase the satiety. Low in fat as fat is slower to digest and greater risk
        of stomach upset.

        • Hard boiled eggs
        • Trail mix
        • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Post event – recovery
    • GOAL:
      • Refuel muscle carbohydrate stores, repair muscles and rehydrate
    • Eat within the first 1hour of finishing; include carbohydrates & protein sources
      • Chocolate milk
      • Salad and meat sandwich
      • Greek yoghurt & fruit
      • Milk based protein shake
  • Continue to consume increased fluids for 24-48hours
  • Alcohol is not the best choice as can have a negative impact on recovery

Click here for all of Linden’s slides from the event or to ask her more questions. 

(pls be aware, this does not take into account all dietary requirements, there are plenty of great resources online to support nutrition and hydration for all dietary requirements – apologies for not covering this here)

Hope to see you at the next Paddy Pallin Preparation Session