The MdS isn’t just about covering the miles in a hostile environment. It is also about being self-sufficient in challenging conditions and taking responsibility for your physical needs.
Plan your food intake carefully
You will be self-sufficient from breakfast on Sunday until lunch on Saturday. You must provide all your meals between these two dates and times.
Freeze-dried food (add water and it’s ready) is recommended. Try it before the event to ensure it suits you.
Calculate your calories carefully. MdS rules stipulate a daily minimum intake of 2,000 calories for every day of the race but consider how much you personally will need. Saving weight matters. You can always decant your food from its heavy foil wrappers into resealable Ziploc bags and rehydrate it in half a water bottle each evening. Just clearly label it with the food type and calories: for example, ‘Peanuts – 100gms, 567 calories.’ Gels should be in their original packaging.
Do NOT bring too many calories: they will be heavy to carry and you will end up throwing them away.
Add Variety – Mix It up!
Mix it up, because eating will get harder as you go through the race. Include a solid breakfast and high-energy snacks, such as dates, nuts, Clif bars and bounce balls. Don’t forget that vital post-run recovery drink. Gels and heat don’t always go together, try before you fly!
Your evening meal must replace all the calories you lose during each day. You may want to bring a stove, as the comfort of a warm meal and hot drink after a day in the desert can make a real difference to your overall experience. Plan carefully for Day Four – the long stage. Some bring liquid cereal if they are not going to stop.
Plan nutritious and balanced meals
Get to know the fundamental food groups:
|Proteins||Generally stored in muscles (46% of the proteins in the body) – 15% of your total calorific intake should be made of animal and vegetable proteins to maintain the body’s nitrogen balance.|
|Fats||Fatty tissues store fats. Body reserves are usually 13% of the total body mass. Daily requirements in fat are about 30% of the total calorific intake.|
|Carbs||The number one need is glucose – the ‘favourite muscle fuel during a sustained activity’. Daily needs represent 55% of the total calorific intake.|
There are two carbohydrate groups:
|Sugars||which are rapidly assimilated by the body after absorption.|
|Sugar||Sugar which are slow(er) burning found for example in porridge, pasta, bread, potatoes or rice, which are stored by the body to be used as needed.|
As well as the above, any balanced diet should include a lot of water (ideally 1 to 1.5ml of water per calorie ingested). During the MdS, water will be rationed but the rations are MORE than adequate if you take your salt tablets and additional electrolytes correctly. During the race, your minimum food intake is 2,000 calories a day but you may need more. With a diet composed of 15 % protein, 30 % fats and 55 % carbs (with at least half of those slow-burning carbohydrates), water consumption should be between 6 and 7 litres per day. To that water it is necessary to add electrolytes and vitamins. Consequently, food should be salted correctly and potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C, B1, B2, B12, supplements are indispensable. Take electrolytes and be OBSESSIVE about taking your salt tablets. A rough guid is one (500mg) every half hour, however this will vary dependent on environmental factors and the salt intake from snacks and food.
Fuel for cooking
You cannot legally fly with any kind of fuel and it can be difficult to find camping fuels in Morocco. Gas canisters are NOT allowed in the bivouac. Hexamine cooking tablets will be available to buy for the event – we’ll let you know how closer to the race date.
Over 120,000 litres: that’s how much drinking water is consumed during the event. You will receive an allocation of water each day from the organisers, during the race at checkpoints and on arrival at the end of each stage. You must manage your water from the starting line of one leg to the starting line of the next, as morning meals are taken with water given out the previous day.
During Day Four – the non-stop stage – you will be advised of the amounts of water at each checkpoint (between 1.5 and 3 litres) However, everyone will receive 4.5 litres of water on arrival at the bivouac.
Please remember that MdS aims to leave no trace on its desert environment. Every water bottle given to you by the organisers will carry your official competition number and you must not discard it, or any bottle top, along the track. Instead, you must exchange each for a full one at the checkpoint or discard it at a designated disposal point after filling your water carriers. Please refer to ARTICLE 16 of the regulations.
Want to know more? Head to www.runultra.co.uk for a wealth of information about everything to do with MdS, from how to train to how to pack your bag, to stories from past competitors. Join now for all the latest updates.
And don’t miss out on your chance to join a closed Facebook group for your specific race.