(C) Dave Cooper (RRC) at the finish of the National 100km Championships 2002
(C) Dave Cooper (RRC) at the finish of the National 100km Championships 2002

 

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How do you manage your food intake in a 24 hour race?
I have tried all methods of food intake over the years. I have tried eating 50g of carbohydrate per hour as recommended by nutritionist but found this impossible (too much to take in), and have finally ended up with an easy strategy - make sure you eat a minimum of one item of food per hour after running six hours. I tend not to eat early on in the event but rely very heavily throughout the race on sports/carbohydrate drinks. My favourite foods during a 24 hour race tend to be boiled new potatoes, custard, plain yoghurt and soup. It is best to eat what suits you and what you think you can keep down, running and eating do not go together very well!!

Do you need a special diet to get through a normal week of training?

To do the amount of mileage needed you need to have a diet high in carbohydrate (things like pasta, rice and potatoes). Ideally 60-70% of your diet should come from these foods, 15-20% from protein and 15%-20% from fat. Timing of food is very important to take advantage of the '2 hour' window after heavy training when the body replenishes the fuel at a faster rate. I always plan my day ahead for food so that I have time to eat at appropriate times to my training. I often have to supplement my diet with carbohydrate drinks to gain enough fuel.

Is there any particular ultra athlete that has inspired you?
Yes, when I first began looking at ultras I read so many articles on Eleanor Robinson and the fantastic world records she held (I believe she holds the record for holding the most Guinness World Records). I always remembered seeing her at a local marathon in 1993 at Kirkleatham, (Langbaurgh Marathon) and never dared speak to her. I stood with Eleanor on the podium when I won my first European 100km Silver team medal in 1995 and was room mate with her on every international event from that day onwards. It is a priviledge to be on such good terms with Eleanor and she is always a fascination to listen to and will never tire of her talking about her events.

Have you ever found any running shoes particularly outstanding for ultra races?
No, not really. I have mainly been a Brooks person, my first pair of shoes were Brooks, but over the years I have won various makes of shoes - Asics, Mizuno, Reebok, Adidas, but must admit I have always brought Brooks for the road shoes and Saucony for trail shoes. I am a slight pronator and so try to get stability shoes with as much cushioning as possible.

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