Utra Running Nutrition Guide

The ultra nutrition guide needs to be viewed as a very high level resource to base your nutrition planning on. With an ultra being any distance from 26.2 miles upwards, your nutrition requirements will vary depending on distance, terrain and a number of other factors. This guide will give you an overview of which Active Root products can provide the fuel required to take on these epic challenges.


A single day ultra normally covers a distance of 35 miles to 100 miles and everything in between but also covers timed racing such as 12 hour and 24 hour events.


The key with multi-day running is fuelling to run and to recover, enabling you to be ready to go again day after day. There can also be added constraints where you might need to carry all your fuel for the event so weight becomes very critical.

Eating to recover and fuel for multi day events will be something you need to practice and you will understand your body's requirements over time. Getting your fuelling right will have a massive impact on your performance and recovery.


Ultras can start anytime during the day or night so ensuring you are well fuelled with your meal-planning in the build-up to your run is key. The main goal is to try to keep your body's energy level as constant as possible with minimal peaks and dips but this can be difficult during ultra runs.

However, most of you will have your preferred routine and favourite pre-race meal and it will be something you have practised over time. Ideally, any meal eaten pre-run should be high in carbohydrates and protein and avoid too many fats or fibre which can leave you feeling full and uncomfortable.

Also, pre-race hydration is vital so use Sports Drink Mix to hydrate and keep your fuelling constant, especially when travelling or when early race briefings are in place.

Ideally, start your drinking up to four hours but no shorter than one hour in advance of your race. Start sipping, swilling and swallowing your energy drink to get the maximum benefit - by drinking earlier and slower the more time the body has to absorb it and maximise performance. Plus you want to empty your bladder pre-race so stopping the intake 1 hour before will let your body process the fluid.

Made with high gingerol compound ginger, slow-burning cane sugar, and replenishing sea salt, our Sports Drink provides sustained energy and optimal hydration. Packed with over 200mg of natural dried ginger, it also helps alleviate gastrointestinal stress and reduces nausea.

Depending on your preferred strength, each sachet makes 500-700ml of sports drink. Simply pour your sachet into 500-700ml of water and shake, adjusting the amount of water to taste.


For ultra running, you are normally kitted out to carry your fuel, or you can leave supplies with your crew or at manned aid stations on the route. This allows greater options especially when carrying a pack with soft-flasks or a bladder with the bonus extra pockets for storage whilst still being cautious to avoid having to carry excess weight.

While fuelling your hydration and electrolyte intake are important factors, having a nutrition plan that will give you the best chance to complete your race is key! Your fuel needs to be easy to take and provide a guaranteed energy source. A high percentage of ultra runners are now obtaining their base fuel intake via an energy drink, the main benefit being the ease of consuming, sipping throughout the event rather than having to chew and eat solid food, something that can become increasingly difficult during the later stages of the event. Therefore, for those of us who currently suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels or solids this could mean a breakthrough in performance.

The ginger in Active Root can help contribute towards a normally functioning settled stomach and prevent bloating. Our Sports Drink Mix and Electrolite Drink Mix contain carbohydrate and electrolyte sources, with single serve sachets that mix into a 500ml flask, easy at aid stations and will fuel you for up to 1 hour with a single serving.

You could also add our Gel Mix during your Ultra, to help calm nausea and gastrointestinal distress. This innovative performance fuel powder packs 24g of easy-to-digest carbs per serving to deliver steady, smoothly sustained energy when you need it most. You can sip your gel more gradually rather than having to take it in one meaning less chance of those blood sugar spikes.

You should aim to consume a small amount at regular, frequent intervals, e.g. every 20 minutes. This is to maintain a steady energy supply and prevent blood sugar peaks and crashes.

If you are not keen on taking on gel mix then there are alternative fuelling methods. 

You could take on fuel using our popular energy chews - they offer a rapid energy boost and replenish essential fluids with electrolytes. Every chew delivers around 6g of carbohydrates, 50mg of sea salt, and 140mg of stomach-soothing ginger.

For a quick energy boost, eat 6 pieces per hour during activity. Always follow consumption with a drink of water or sports drink.

The main thing with ultra running and racing is to be prepared for the unexpected, anything can happen on race day. Try products to find what works for you and plan for the race. BUT be ready to be flexible during the race as it could be the difference between a FINISH or a DNF.


It is crucial that you refuel as soon as possible after running such a demanding event, a combination of recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your event and some solid food.

The key things to focus on post-race are: replenishing your electrolytes (rehydrate), restoring glycogen levels, rebuilding your immune defences, and repairing muscle tears. 

We’d recommend having a bottle of Sports Drink or Electrolite Mix pre-made in preparation for completing your race. The refreshing ginger taste hits the spot after your efforts and offers the perfect hydration option post-race.

Our Recovery Drinks are the perfect pick-me-up! Why not have a flask ready near the finish to rehydrate and enjoy the warming taste of ginger.

As well as a recovery drink you’ll also want to eat some actual food after your run. This can really be anything that is high in carbs and protein for their restorative properties, and includes fruits or vegetables high in vitamins and minerals for an immune boost.

Once you’ve got your ultra running nutrition plan down then all that’s left to do is enjoy yourself!

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Utra Running: FAQs

How should I fuel during an ultra marathon?

It's crucial to consume a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to sustain energy levels. Gel mix, energy chews, and sports drink mix are popular options for quick and convenient fueling on the go.

How often should I eat and drink during an ultra marathon?

Aim to eat small, frequent snacks every 30-60 minutes and drink fluids every 20-30 minutes to replenish lost electrolytes and maintain hydration levels.

What should I eat before an ultra marathon?

Prioritize easily digestible carbohydrates like oatmeal, bananas, or toast with peanut butter. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that may cause stomach discomfort during your run.