Top 10 | On-the-go Running Snacks

Since completing my first ultra-run back in May at the Dukeries 40 Ultra, and whilst training for the Race to the Stones 100km a key focus has been figuring out which foods I can enjoy whilst on-the-go. Considering for both of these races I am required to carry the food myself, I was keen to ensure nothing was too heavy so they all tend to be snack size (i.e. mars bar size or smaller). I had a big reality check at the Dukeries Ultra having ill-prepared. With a complete and utter sweet tooth I packed an abundance of sweet treats, but hitting mile 30 all I was dreaming about was a packet of ready salted hula hoops – lesson learnt.. you need to prepare for every craving.

Over and above this, I am slowly learning that the key is to eat when you’re not hungry and drink when you’re not thirsty, sticking with the classic ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ motto that is very often drummed into me! But seriously – whilst I know more than most how difficult it can be to take fuel on board whilst running, and not feeling a big appetite, it’s the key to keep you ticking over and ensure you get to the finish line in one piece! There’s a mix below, whilst for an ultra gels and jelly sweets just aren’t going to cut it, indulging in a protein bar for a 5km might be a tad extravagant! So I’ve tried to help out and suggest when I think they could be best, but ultimately your body will tell you what it needs!

1. Coconut Almond Butter Filled Clif Bar

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Protein Pick & Mix

2. Tribe Cacao Orange Energy Bar

​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon

3. Clif Blok Shot Energy Chews

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 5km – Ultra-Marathon (not going to cut it for more than a quick energy boost during an ultra)

4. Torq Rhubarb & Custard Energy Gel

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Marathon

5. Pip & Nut Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Pip & Nut or Ocado

6. Good Health Filled Salted Pretzels

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon

7. Optimum Nutrition Watermelon Amino Energy Drink

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Optimum Nutrition

8. Ape Crunchy Coconut Bites

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

9. Tribe Infinity Choc Salt

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon

10. Clearspring Seaveg Crispies

​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

The Habit Hunter x

Top 5 | Things I Learnt Running My First Ultra-marathon

Back in February you might remember my bonkers decision to sign up to run the Race to the Stones in July (a 100km run in one day in the heat of the summer) what could be more fun eh? Once this had all sunk in I realised I needed to up the training game, this led to me entering the Dukeries 40 mile Ultra. With it not being too far from home and a supposedly “good first ultra’ I thought it would be a good starting point for my first ultra marathon (any distance greater than a 26.2 mile marathon). Needless to say – it was the toughest feat I’ve ever endured. However, I couldn’t have been happier to find out I completed it in 6hrs 29 mins, and was the 4th female home – and 1st in my age group!

For anyone else looking to take the next step beyond the marathon, don’t take it lightly, and hopefully the following tips will help a little (just a few things I wish I had been told).

1. Always carry water
– Whether you think it will weigh you down or not don’t even think twice about not taking water with you. Yes, there is likely to be aid stations throughout the route, however sometimes you’ll want something before this. Having a constant supply of water is key.

2. Run in your ‘normal’ shoes
– Obviously a change in terrain is apparent in an ultra, with the Dukeries route covering almost every surface possible I had no idea what shoes to wear. With lots of different views and opinions of people telling me to get some new trail shoes, I ended up going with my gut and wearing my everyday Adidas Ultra Boost ATR – and would honestly recommend them! Stick to what you’re used to, you’re on your feet for an awfully long time, at least do your best to keep them happy!

3. Carry sweet & savoury snacks
– As a complete and utter sweet tooth fiend, my biggest error was not taking any savoury snacks with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I was craving ready salted hula hoops at about 30 miles! Your body is doing something crazy – make sure you cater for these adverse cravings.

4. Train smart
– Whilst endurance is obviously key to any ultra-marathon, training the bit between your ears is just as important! When your body feels like it can’t go much further (and trust me.. it will) it’s a real case of mind of matter that will keep you going. Don’t underestimate what you are putting yourself through, and just make sure you’re just as well mentally prepared as you are physically.

5. Stay on your feet
– Yes, obviously whilst you’re running. But more so in the build up to the run. When you could be out  for hours on end, ensuring your feet are used to being on the ground for that amount of time is key. It’s not easy to train your feet to not get tired when you’re working in an office all day (trust me I know this), but if you can even substitute one way of your commute to walking, or including back to back training runs into your schedule just to prepare your feet for what’s in store you’ll be thanking yourself for it later – I promise!

With the Race to the Stones scarily close on the horizon I still have a long way to go with my training, and raising money for a great cause so if anyone is interested in supporting me in this challenge I’d be greatly appreciative! Big thanks to Hobo Pace and Ronnie Staton for organising great event at Dukeries Ultra – you nailed it!

In the mean time if anyone has any questions about their first ultra and any tips from the knowledge I am very much still learning please ask away and I’ll do my best to help!

The Habit Hunter x