Category Archives: Nutrition

Ultra Nutrition: Chia Flapjacks


As promised in my review of the NDW50 I am going to post the recipe for the flapjacks that I consumed throughout the day, as well as the nutritional information for them.

Just quickly, for those unsure of what Chia Seeds are here is a little bit of nutritional information on them:

Nutrient content and potential health benefits
In a one-ounce (28 g) sample, dried chia seeds contain 9% of the Daily Value for protein (4g), 13% fat (9g) (57% of which is ALA) and 42% dietary fiber (11g), based on a daily intake of 2000 calories. The seeds also contain the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium in amounts comparable to other edible seeds, such as flax or sesame.

Ingredients Required

  • 200g normal unsalted cooking butter
  • 50g Golden Syrup
  • 50g clear Honey (I used Rowse Australian Honey, the ‘Rich and Velvety’ one)
  • 150g light brown sugar (I used light brown Muscovado sugar)
  • 325g scottish rolled oats
  • 40g Chia Seeds
  • 2tsp ground Cinnamon

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180c, fan 160c, gas 4. Line a 16x25cm tin with grease proof paper. Melt the 200g butter in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the Golden Syrup and Honey and the 150g sugar, and simmer until mostly dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oats, Chia seeds and add the cinnamon.

Spoon into the tin and bake, I checked the flapjacks after 10 minutes and left them for a further 5 making a total of 15 minutes.

Chia Flapjacks ready for the oven
Out of the oven and ready for slicing

Once cooked turn onto a chopping board and leave to cool before slicing, the flapjack may appear a bit soft straight from the oven but will become firmer as it cools. Once cooled slice into pieces, you should be able to get 40 pieces from it but its down to personal preference (my nutritional info is based on 40)

Slice into bite sized pieces, you should be able to make 40 pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories per serving: 94
  • Total Fat: 5.1g (Saturated 2.6, Polyunsaturated 0.2, Monounsaturated 0.3)
  • Carbs: 11.0 (Sugars 5.8)
  • Protein: 1.1g

I found that having some ‘real food’ (not gels etc) really helped keep my stomach settled and my energy levels up, so I would recommend giving them a go, even if you don’t use them on a run, bake them anyway they taste great!!

If anyone reading has any other recipes that they have for running foods feel free to leave in the comments box, I am always looking for new things to try out.

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The night before: Last minute preperations


Well its been a fairly relaxed day, getting my last bits and pieces together for the Ultra tomorrow. I have bagged up all my nutrition into separate bags for each aid station, labelled them so and will be giving these to Gareth tomorrow who is kindly being my crew for the day.

My gear all ready for the early start in the morning
My aid station bags all labelled ready for Gareth to hand to me as needed

It’s not all been smooth sailing though, we did go down to Farnham this afternoon to register and collect my race number (the idea being its one less thing to do in the morning and means I can get some precious more minutes sleep) but upon getting there it seems the numbers haven’t turned up yet so all I could do was hand in my disclaimer, I will have to get my number in the morning (a tweet or email wouldn’t have gone a miss!)

However, in the grand scheme of things, if this is the worst that happens then I can live with it.

I will be tweeting and getting some pictures as and when throughout the race, so if you want to keep up with what is going on then follow @ultraplodder

Right now for some sleep…….A full race review will be out on Sunday or Monday, as well as a recipe for the Chia seed flapjacks that I am using in the race.

Marathon Nutrition: Trail Marathon Wales


Following my report on the Trail Marathon Wales, I thought I would detail the nutritional products I had before and during the marathon, what seemed to work well and what could be improved upon

My nutrition for the Trail Marathon Wales

Pre-Run – 07:30

  • Torq – Sundried Banana Bar, 1 bar (65g)
  • Porridge Oats

Pre-Run – 08:00 to 08:30

  • Xtreme Stimulant Energy Drink, High 5

In future I would eat sooner, I think had I eaten at around 06:30-07:00 it would have allowed more time to digest the food, although I didn’t have any real problems because of this.

During the Run – Carried

  • 1 litre of water in a hydration pack
  • Torq gel Rubarb and Custard, 3 gel packs
  • Torq gel Banoffee (Caffeinated) 2 gel packs
  • Zero electrolyte sport drink (Caffeinated), High 5

During the Run – Aid Station

  • Unknown Isotonic drink
  • Banana, quarter

Opting to carry the majority of my nutrition and hydration on me the approach I took with the run nutrition was to have the Torq gels every 45 minutes with the caffeinated gels after the 2 and 4 hour slots, and the water I was constantly sipping throughout. The banana was from one of the aid stations (I think it was around 11 miles) with the isotonic drinks taken at each station that had them (from mile 6 onwards as I recall). I took the High 5 caffeine hit at around mile 20 after picking up a 500ml bottle from one of the final aid stations.

Overall I was fairly pleased with how the nutrition went, given that this was the first long distance race opposed to a training run. My strategy was to take a gel and walk while eating/drinking it to allow for my body to digest it as best it can, rather than try and eat and run which can cause problems when trying to digest foods. I believe I managed to avoid a serious bonk, I was shattered but I kept plodding on and I think this was due to having the foods planned out.

I did start to get stomach aches after probably the 4the gel and something that I will do in the future, particularly for the NDW50 will be to include some solid food rather than just gels and drinks. I think my stomach was crying out for solid food by the latter part of the race and had I had more time to prepare my Pinole recipe I would have taken this and hopefully avoided the aches, as well as keeping the energy levels up.

Post Run – Immediately After

  • Water
  • Syntha 6 Chocolate protein shake

I should have taken on calories in a solid food rather than a shake, maybe a flapjack or something like that would have done the trick. Next time I will have something tasty for the finish, as until I got solid food in my stomach I was feeling quite sick and a bit out of it.

What I did find useful on the run was the Salomon soft flask, which i used to carry the 3 Rubarb and Custard Gels, aswell as some water later on. I have a poor history opening the gels without splitting them and getting it all over me, this avoided that.

Salomon soft flask, allows you to squeeze every drop of gel out of it so no left overs at the bottom

Link to Trail Marathon Race Review: Race Review Trail Marathon Wales

Experimenting with Chia seeds


If you have read Born to Run then you may be aware of the use of Chia seeds and Pinole by the Tarahumara tribe, who are the part of the main focus of the book. These people think nothing of getting up and running hundreds of miles of fun, seemingly with no effort at all.

So, given all the running I am doing I wanted to look into trying to find an alternative to the energy gels that are commonly used, 1) to find something more healthy and balanced and 2) to save money! Not really being sure where to start I did a bit of googling and came across this website with a basic ingredient list to work from: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes/

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, ground as fine as possible
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
  • chia seeds (optional)

The basic ingredients I got from the supermarket, having to substitute cornmeal with maizemeal and I ordered the Chia seeds from Amazon.

Now, I have taken some pictures of the process and I have found that I deviated from the quantitys described as I couldn’t quite get the right consistancy with the instructions on the nomeatathlete.

As instructed I measured out 1/2 cup of Maize Meal and cooked for about 5 minutes.
Then I added 2tbsp of brown suger, 2 tbsp of Chia seeds and a 1tsp of cinnamon

Lastly I divided the mixture up into 9 pieces and cooked in the oven for 5 minutes.

How did it taste, well better than it looks but this batch seemed very dry and I wanted to have a stickier consitancy which would form a more solid bar which would be easier to eat on the run.

It was back to the drawing board (and in some way still is) and the second attempt is better, but still not perfect for eating on the go, more of a pre-run snack.

So with the final amounts worked out, below is the ingredient list and nutritional value per serving (mixed with 6 tbsp of water):

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Tesco – Light Brown Muscovado Cane Sugar, 25 grams 100 25 0 0
Rowse Australian Honey – Honey, 15 g 10 0 0 0
Generic – Maize Meal, 1 cup cooked 177 38 2 4
Whole Foods Organic – Chia Seeds, 2 Tbsp. 140 12 9 4

Divided into 9 servings this works out at: 47 cal, 8gram Carb, 1 gram fat and 1 gram protein. It still needs work but its a good starting point.

I am going to keep updating the ingredient list and will post any changes I make. I also have been working on an Iskiate recepie, also from the nomeatathlete site but with my own tweak which I will post in the future.