solo 24 hr eating

hey everyone, let’s hear your eating stategy on a solo 24 please

Eat lots :smiley:

Not a 24 h solo guy, but from long-distance backpacking:

Basically a long-distance backpacker uses over 6000 calories a day to hike 20-30 miles a day over 3-6 months. The hard part is to eat enough. My problem was that I got sick and tired of eating. The key is variety, and lots of it.

One thing you might do is decide how many laps you want to do. Then calculate how long they will take, and thus how long your breaks can be. Then divide that by two to be aggressive. That will give you a feel for how long you have at each stop. Then plan a series of (say, 20) snacks of a reasonable size to eat in conjunction with toilet, naps, water, uni fixes, and the like.

By having a better sense of pacing, you will know what’s ahead when you are in the middle of a lap and famished, and may be less likely to binge during a given stop. In addition, you can adjust the snack size as you go.

One of the best Iditasport riders believes in the principle of getting the body into survival state before the race starts, so the race isn’t a shock to the body. I think she actually starts a month early. Something to think about, anyway.

Ken and Nathan, and others who have actually raced these will have more pertinent comments, but that’s my two cents.

Ok, just kidding let me elaborate:

  1. Eat a variety of foods. You’ll be sick after your 10th Goo Gel/banana/whatever
  2. Make sure it’s stuff you’re used to eating. Don’t experiment on the day
  3. Salty stuff tastes great when you’ve been munching on sickly sweet goo gels and energy bars all day. Always keep a stash of crisps handy. Pizza is a good powerfood too.
  4. Easy stuff to chew- that’s why I never use Powerbars. It will take you a whole lap to down one
  5. Hot food is great at 3am
  6. Drink lots
  7. Caffeine
  8. Massage- Ok, nothing to do with food, but helps digestion
  9. Have a slave handy. They need to put a blanky over you and cram your mouth with food when you’re too tired to think for yourself
  10. I can’t think of a 10th one yet, but it kind of looks unfinished with only 9 eating strategies. Maybe the seafood diet. See Food. Eat it.

I take it you’re doing a 24hr Solo- that’s great! 174km off road is the mark to beat :smiley: Good luck!


I guesstimate that you will need about 4 times as many calories/kilojoules as you normally would during the day. You want to make sure you have it all there at the start, don’t send your support crew to the supermarket midway through.

There are some useful tips on the RAAM website

I stick to a balanced diet- including plenty of fat/protein as well. It’s not a 2hr race where you are burning mainly glycogen- during long distance events your predominant muscle fuel is fat. Make sure you get plenty of it.

“Ensure-plus” or other similar liquid supplements works well for people I know who have done enduros. It’s the stuff we give cancer patients- tastes like $#!t but has everything in a balanced liquid diet.


One of my favorite backpacking foods is Fritos. The thick ones don’t break up into little bits, they have nice salt, and corn is a great high-energy food.

thanks guys! very informative, I wouldn’t have thought about the 20 premade snacks, that’s a great itea.

I think with this course I am doing, 100km would be a fantastic goal for me to hit. It’s very hilly, and technical, and it takes a lot out of you on a 5 man relay team :frowning:

from biking across the USA:
eat as much pasta the night before as possible. a huge meal 8-12 hours before your event will help you start strong. if you have people who can cook for you (like on laps or something) instant oatmeal is really good and sweet and quick. fruit and nuts are also good. peanut butter on bagels is heavenly and easy to eat. tour de france riders used to cut turkey and cheese sandwiches into little squares and wrap them with wax paper and stuff them in jersey pockets. tastes great and is good fuel.

basically, eat as much as you can, and keep it varied. also drink like your always really thirsty. you’ll pee a bit more but you’ll perform tons better. gatorade in bottles and water in the camel back is how i got from oregon to boston, but i don’t know how you’d do such a thing on a coker. more info about the actual event might help the suggestions be more specific.

ps. just watched TWNR, the UW36 on the stairs broke my brain.

Save the malted beverage until after you’re done.

I’ve never done 24 hrs but have done 200 miles by road bike in 12-13 hours and 120 miles in 12 hours (80 the next day) with a 50 lb tandem and 60 lb kid stoker (time includes stops).

Besides the advice already given, my mantra is very frequent hydration and fueling. I like a sport drink like Cytomax at about 20 oz per hour, I don’t like straight water. Don’t eat to much at once but keep the intake frequent enough that you never feel hunger. By then its too late.

Train lots so your system is used to this type of hydration and fueling.

Claus Larson mentioned buying cartons of chocolate milk to refuel on his lower 48 ride. I don’t think my system would have liked that.


Brian, what Ken says is exactly right. You’ll need a variety of foods all ready to go. During the race, your tastes etc will change and you might find some stuff that’s normally fine is not appetizing. And it is critical that you do refuel, so you have to have lots of choices. At the Moonride, we did that and the support guys would ask us what we wanted after the next lap. They prepare while we’re riding.

I was really surprised about drinking. Normally I drink less than the average person (I think). For the Moonride our support guy had a simple rule for me: 600ml of electrolyte replacement drink after every single lap. And these laps are a little shorter than you will be dealing with: 6.8km vs 11-12km at Lifestyles. The amazing thing was that I didn’t pee until lap 10 - meaning I drank 6 liters before peeing.

All in all, besides being mentally and physically ready for the challenge, the most important thing is probably your support crew and the fuel they force down your throat.

See you soon!


Food+Drink are key, but I read an article in the paper about overhydrating.
You shouldn’t have too much water or it could be dangerous for your system. Marathon paramedics actually have to deal with more overhydration problems than dehydration.
Make sure you have a qualified sports doctor/nutritionist/advisor to consult with about amounts of food and drink. Not everyone else’s method will work for you.
Good luck!

Mainly a problem if all you drink is water. It dilutes out your electrolytes in the blood stream- Na in particular, making you hyponatraemic. And that’s not good for your brain…

Drink lot’s, but make sure you get plenty of electrolytes with it.

Yeah, Lars Clausen was big on drinking milk during his rides as well.

I am no expert on it, but overhydration can be a problem even with balanced electrolytes. Everything you drink has to go somewhere, and so if you are drinking alot more than the toltal fluid lost, there can get to be just too much fluid, which can cause problems. If you are feeling really bad, try weighing yourself, if you weigh less, drink more, if you weigh more, then don’t drink so much.

My brain was like that all yesterday. Just like the IE buttons to delete cookies and files I need a brain buttons to “Delete all the extraneous stuff that accumulated over the past week” and “Clear Head”.

Brian, one other piece of advice: clothes. You’re working so hard for so long - that makes for lots of sweat. I brought one extra set of shorts/jersey/socks but would’ve done better to have two extra sets. You’ll feel much more comfortable if you do a clothing change at 8 and 16 hours rather than just one change at 12 hours.


I wouldn’t worry about this on a 24 hour. It’s pretty hard to overhydrate. Just only drink when you feel thirsty, drink small amounts often.

Eating wise, I’d totally agree eat tons of pasta the night before.

Start drinking energy drink from the time you get up instead of water.

Be used to energy drink, put the same powder in your camelbak when you’re training as you’ll use in the race. The first few times you use it you may go a bit too whooshy and push yourself too hard.

Don’t bother with energy bars unless you really like them. I use mars bars and crunchy bars lots. Also fruit, especially bananas and apples.

At some point you’ll probably not be able to eat properly. I like to get big bags of fruit jellies (the sweets) and eat them constantly at that point. Some people like jelly babies.

Have tons more stuff than you expect to eat, you’ll have half of it left afterwards, but you never know exactly what you’ll want to eat.


I always go with “eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty”…Peeing in the middle is a good sign…

The crew is important coz when you’re down they’ll feed and take care of you and send you on your way even when you don’t feel like it…