Anecdotal claims have suggested that an increasing number of ultramarathoners purposely undertake chronic low-carbohydrate (CHO) ketogenic diets while training, and race with very low CHO intakes, as a way to maximize fat oxidation and improve performance. However, very little empirical evidence exists on specific fueling strategies that elite ultramarathoners undertake to maximize race performance. The study’s purpose was to characterize race nutrition habits of elite ultramarathon runners. Three veteran male ultrarunners (M ± SD; age 35 ± 2 years; mass 59.5 ± 1.7 kg; 16.7 ± 2.5 hr 100-mi. best times) agreed to complete a competition-specific nutrition intake questionnaire for 100-mi. races. Verbal and visual instructions were used to instruct the athletes on portion sizes and confirm dietary intake. Throughout 2014, the athletes competed in 16 ultramarathons with a total of 8 wins, including the prestigious Western States Endurance Run 100-miler (14.9 hr). The average prerace breakfast contained 70 ± 16 g CHO, 29 ± 20 g protein, and 21 ± 8 g fat. Athletes consumed an average of 1,162 ± 250 g of CHO (71 ± 20g/hr), with minor fat and protein intakes, resulting in caloric intakes totaling 5,530 ± 1,673 kcals (333 ± 105 kcals/hr) with 93% of calories coming from commercial products. Athletes also reported consuming 912 ± 322 mg of caffeine and 6.9 ± 2.4 g of sodium. Despite having limited professional nutritional input into their fueling approaches, all athletes practiced fueling strategies that maximize CHO intake and are congruent with contemporary evidence-based recommendations.
Floris C. Wardenaar, Rianne Dijkhuizen, Ingrid J.M. Ceelen, Emma Jonk, Jeanne H.M. De Vries, Renger F. Witkamp and Marco Mensink
The objective of this study was to investigate whether ultramarathon runners were able to meet nutrition recommendations during a training period and on a competition day.
In preparation for a 60 or 120 km ultramarathon covering a varied terrain, male and female ultramarathon runners (n = 68, age 46.5 ± 7.1 y) reported habitual dietary intake during three independent days using a web-based 24-hr recall and questionnaires. The diet was assessed using probability of inadequacy or by qualitative evaluation using reference dietary intakes or sports nutrition recommendations. A small group of 120 km runners (n = 4) was observed continuously during the race. After the race, 60 km runners (n = 41) received a questionnaire to assess dietary intake and gastrointestinal (GI) distress on the race day. Spearman rank correlation coefficients (r) were applied to investigate the association between intake and general GI distress symptoms.
In men and women, habitual mean carbohydrate (CHO) intake was lower than recommended, as was mean protein intake by women. CHO intake during the race was <60 g/h in 75% of the athletes. A large variation of nutrient and fluid intake was seen. GI distress during the race was reported in 82% of the runners; severe GI distress was low. In general, moderate, mostly negative, correlations with nutrient intake were seen for GI distress.
Sports nutrition recommendations for the habitual diet were not achieved. During a competition day, a large variation was found in nutrient intake; this may be related to a high incidence of GI distress.
Ricardo J.S. Costa, Beat Knechtle, Mark Tarnopolsky and Martin D. Hoffman
Ultramarathon running events and participation numbers have increased progressively over the past three decades ( Deutsche Ultramarathon Vereinigung, 2018 ). Anecdotally, there has been growing interest from both amateur and elite endurance runners looking for new adventurous courses and challenges
Martin D. Hoffman
The term “ultramarathon” refers to foot races longer than the standard marathon distance of 42.195 km. The word came into use as these long foot races began to become popular in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, although foot races beyond the marathon distance have existed for centuries
Alister McCormick, Carla Meijen and Samuele Marcora
performance in an actual endurance event ( McCormick et al., 2015 ). Specifically, this study examined the effect of strategic, motivational self-talk on performance in an ultramarathon. Self-talk can be defined as what people say to themselves silently in their head or aloud, automatically or strategically
Ultramarathon running is increasingly popular. An ultramarathon is defined as a running event involving distances longer than the length of a traditional marathon of 42.195 km. In ultramarathon races, ~80% of the finishers are men. Ultramarathoners are typically ~45 y old and achieve their fastest running times between 30 and 49 y for men, and between 30 and 54 y for women. Most probably, ultrarunners start with a marathon before competing in an ultramarathon. In ultramarathoners, the number of previously completed marathons is significantly higher than the number of completed marathons in marathoners. However, recreational marathoners have a faster personal-best marathon time than ultramarathoners. Successful ultramarathoners have 7.6 ± 6.3 y of experience in ultrarunning. Ultramarathoners complete more running kilometers in training than marathoners do, but they run more slowly during training than marathoners. To summarize, ultramarathoners are master runners, have a broad experience in running, and prepare differently for an ultramarathon than marathoners do. However, it is not known what motivates male ultramarathoners and where ultramarathoners mainly originate. Future studies need to investigate the motivation of male ultramarathoners, where the best ultramarathoners originate, and whether they prepare by competing in marathons before entering ultramarathons.
Dale E. Rae, Andrew N. Bosch, Malcolm Collins and Mike I. Lambert
The aim of this study was to examine the interaction between aging and 10 years of racing in endurance runners. Race-time data from 194 runners who had completed 10 consecutive 56-km ultramarathons were obtained. The runners were either 20.5 ± 0.7, 30.0 ± 1.0, 39.9 ± 0.9, or 49.4 ± 1.0 years old at their first race. Each runner’s race speed was determined for each race over the 10 years. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA, one-way ANOVA, and independent t tests and showed that performance improved and declined at greater rates for younger runners; younger runners had a greater capacity for improvement than older runners; ≈4 years were required to reach peak racing speed, regardless of age; it was not possible to compete at peak speed for more than a few years; and the combined effects of 10 years of aging and racing neither improve nor worsen net performance. In conclusion, these data suggest that although these runners showed similar patterns of change in race speed over a 10-year period, the extent of change in performance was greater in younger than in older runners.
Nicholas L. Holt, Homan Lee, Youngoh Kim and Kyra Klein
The overall purpose of this study was to examine individuals’ experiences of running an ultramarathon. Following pilot work data were collected with six people who entered the 2012 Canadian Death Race. Participants were interviewed before the race, took photographs and made video recordings during the race, wrote a summary of their experience, and attended a focus group after the race. The research team also interviewed participants during the race. Before the race participants had mixed emotions. During the race they experienced numerous stressors (i.e., cramping and injuries, gastrointestinal problems, and thoughts about quitting). They used coping strategies such as making small goals, engaging in a mental/physical battle, monitoring pace, nutrition, and hydration, and social support. After the race, nonfinishers experienced dejection or acceptance whereas finishers commented on the race as a major life experience. These findings provide some insights into factors involved in attempting to complete ultramarathons and offer some implications for applied sport psychology.
Claire Blennerhassett, Lars R. McNaughton, Lorcan Cronin and S. Andy Sparks
There has been a substantial increase in the number of recreational athletes participating in ultraendurance races ( Knechtle et al., 2010 ), evidenced by an exponential increase in the number of participants in ultratriathlons ( Lenher et al., 2012 ) and 12-hr ultramarathon running events
Stephanie K. Gaskell and Ricardo J.S. Costa
burden of carbohydrate intake during prolonged strenuous exercise is a key factor underpinning performance ( Stellingwerff & Cox, 2014 ). It is therefore plausible that reducing the FODMAP dietary content leading into and during mountainous multistage ultramarathon (MSUM) competition may reduce exercise