In order to make the most of your day out there, good planning is essential; after all half of the fun is scrutinizing the route profile, trying new gear, working out race splits and so forth.
Part of that planning, which many trail runners neglect, is nutritional planning. As the saying goes “fail to plan, plan to fail” and the old adage definitely holds true with the Otter!
With so many variables in play on race day, we could all do with one less thing to worry about (hands up if you ever arrived at a trail only to find that you left your trail shoes at home) and properly planning your nutritional needs and intake for the race is key to achieving that.
You may be thinking “Well with GU providing product during the race and at registration what is there for me to worry about?” Well, there is quite a bit you need to consider actually! You’ll need to plan your fuelling and hydration intake for race day so you know what to take with you and what to pick up where on course where and when to take all of the above. It’s quite a mouthful, but the idea is to prevent you from simply taking mouthfuls of everything at the GU Munchie Point and then not being properly fuelled for the rest of the race.
You can only do this planning once you have thoroughly tested the GU products you intend to use on race day during the course of your training for the Otter. With this testing you need to look at a few factors, including but not limited to: the amount of calories you need, what flavours work for you, how much you need to drink, if you need extra electrolytes, will you be using caffeine or not and so forth.
The amount of nutrition you need (and can stomach) for a trail run like the Otter will be in the region of 300 calories, 300-600mg Sodium and 500-750ml water per hour depending on your size, time and intensity, so plan and test for that during training. As a guideline, GU gels, Chomps (4 per serving as in the packets you will receive at the Otter) and GU Electrolyte Brew (500ml/serve) all have about 100 Calories per serving, so they quickly add up.
GU has a wide range of flavours; find those that work for you flavour wise during training (some contain caffeine and others not so take that into account) so it’s easy to keep taking in product to fuel and hydrate you as needed during the Otter.
The weather at the Otter can be a mixed bag to say the least (hence the mandatory gear) so you may or may not need extra electrolytes. For extra electrolytes you can either stick to drinking the Blueberry Pomegranate GU Electrolyte Brew available on course (as it has double the Sodium content) and/or add GU Electrolyte Brew Tablets to your water or Brew. While GU gels and Chomps do contain electrolytes, their content alone won’t be enough if it’s a scorcher of a day.
You also need to think about if you will you be using caffeine or not. Caffeine affects people differently depending on their average intake, so heavy coffee drinkers may not feel much of an effect (GU gels and Chomps have 0/20/40mg caffeine where an espresso shot has around 100mg), while others may get a proper kick from using it. Be aware that too much caffeine may mean frequent “Nature Breaks”, not ideal on a remote trail like the Otter. We suggest either taking Caffeine consistently throughout the race or only towards the end for a bigger kick when you start fatiguing and need to “get back into the game”.
Once you know what to take, you need to take into consideration when to take in your fuel and when to hydrate, as well as how you will carry it (Check out the line of Salomon hydration vests). GU products make it practical to fuel and hydrate throughout a trail run like the Otter. For example, the GU Roctane drink provides 240 calories in a single 65g pre-packaged serving, which equates to 2,5 GU gels or almost 3 servings of GU Chomps. This makes it much easier to take in the calories you need on a strenuous trail run like the Otter without having to carry loads of nutrition with you or having to remember to take a GU gel every 20 minutes.
Once you know how many calories, fluid etc. you need per hour, take enough GU products with you to last for the duration of the Otter (if you want something specific product or flavour wise make sure you buy them well beforehand so that you have your favourites ready for race day!) or make sure you collect enough GU products at the GU Munchie Point to power you through the 2nd half of the race.
If this article has piqued your interest to give GU a try have a look at the Otter nutritional packages that GU has put together here on the Otter web shop.
Happy planning; and remember to stash your trash.
See you at the Otter!
The GU Team