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Eat what you would normally eat..
What you put in your body during a mountain challenge such as the National Three Peaks is just as important as the clothes you’re wearing and the training you’ve done beforehand. Eating well can make all the difference between success and failure, so have a think about what you’re going to eat well before the day itself and consider these tips.
Eat what you’d normally eat:
Your body is used to powering you on the food you normally eat, so don’t change this radically on the day. Make sure you try the food you want to take beforehand and eliminate the stuff you don’t like; there’s no point forcing anything down. Take snacks you enjoy, and if you’re going to stop for lunch, take something you’re actually going to look forward to, like your favourite sandwich. There’s no point taking something you don’t want to eat, as when you’re tired you’ll just end up eating less of it.
Eat a balanced diet
When planning your snacks for the day of walking, take a mix of things so you always have something new to turn to and you don’t get bored. Fruit, nuts, flapjack and chocolate are all easy to eat and between then contain a good range of sugar, fats, slow release carbohydrates and protein. Avoid taking high energy stimulants like gels if you’re not used to them, as your body can react in a bad way to the high amounts of sugar they contain if you’ve got an empty stomach. The world of running is full of stories of people why try Lucozade on the day of the marathon for the first time and are then sick everywhere. Don’t be that person.
Eat little and often
Take foods you can eat while walking, so you don’t end up having to eat everything at once during your brief stops, potentially leading to indigestion. It’s better to actively top yourself up with good quality snacks like nuts and dried fruit than to wait until you’re very hungry before stopping. The nature of the challenge, or the weather, may mean that stopping for any length of time isn’t an option, and you don’t want to be left unable to eat.
Take care of yourself on multi-day trips
When you finish walking at the end of each day, or at the end of each peak on something like the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, remember to eat. Food is important not just to provide you with energy, but to help your body repair itself and to get you ready for the next stage. So before you try and get some sleep or sit around chatting, grab something to eat.
Prepare yourself the night before
It’s no secret that the night before endurance events, people eat a lot of carbohydrates, especially pasta, which are great slow release energy sources that can power your body for much of the next day. Whatever you eat, make sure you have a proper meal the evening before the challenge, and get a good night’s sleep.
And finally … remember to drink
Water not only keeps you hydrated, it is necessary for your body to burn the food you eat and convert it into energy. Try and drink 2 litres per mountain on something like the Three Peaks, and between 2-3 litres per day on other challenges. These numbers can increase on hot days, but we often forget to drink when it’s cold or raining. Whatever the weather, make sure you keep hydrated.
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