Adventure races, mud runs and obstacle courses are gaining popularity. They are a fun way to exercise and work together as a team. They also tend to require more energy, endurance and strength than your typical run around the track. Here are some tips to make sure you have the fuel you need to conquer the course.
Be mindful of fats
Fat is the nutrient that takes the longest to break down in the body, and it may sit too heavy in your stomach. For races like mud runs, where you are jumping up and down and around, avoid saturated fats. They can make you feel nauseated.
Limit fiber intake
Fiber, like fat, takes longer than other nutrients to break down and may not give you the energy you need right away. Good pre-race carbohydrate choices include bananas, energy gels, cereal, rice crackers and dried fruit.
Don’t forget protein
Your muscles work hard during an obstacle race. Add protein to your pre-workout meal or snack to help aid muscle recovery. Sliced turkey, nuts, seeds, homemade smoothies or energy bars with protein powder are all good bets.
Fuel up for the run
You should take in between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates (120 to 240 calories) per hour. Practice fueling during one of your training runs to see what works for you. You can try commercial sports products such as gels, sport beans or drinks—or more readily available options like pretzels, Fig Newtons or Swedish Fish.
During an obstacle course race, you often have so much fun that you might not realize how hard you’re working or how much you’re sweating. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of failure to finish, so plan for water stops or carry water with you. Also, keep an eye on your electrolytes, especially if the race is outside in the heat. Sports drinks or coconut water are great for replenishing lost sodium and potassium.