Ultra Running Diets

Ultra Running Diets

girl with tape measure large

Ultra running, also known as ultra-marathoning, is long-distance running.

It is running distances longer than the marathon, or more than 26.2 miles, although the shortest distance most commonly run as an ultra-running event is 50 km, or 31.07 miles.

Nutrition for athletes is crucial, but especially so for endurance athletes that include ultra-runners. A good diet can provide energy and fuel, and aid in recovery post-race.

Before making any major dietary changes, talking to a health care or nutrition professional about necessary nutrients can be helpful and promote optimal nutrition.

Fewer Processed Foods

A healthy diet for athletes, especially ultra-runners, includes fewer processed foods and more foods that are close to the source. This includes fruits, like eating an orange instead of drinking orange juice, and more whole foods. This aids in feeling full and provides more fiber and nutrients than foods that are more processed.

Nutrient Balance

Ultra running is an endurance sport, and endurance athletes may benefit from a diet comprised of a certain balance of nutrients. Ultra-runners may want to follow a diet made up of 60 percent carbohydrate, 25 percent fat and 15 percent protein. The specific balance of fats may be altered; depending on if an individual wants to lose weight or if training is at its intensity, but this is a general guideline. While vitamins and minerals can be helpful, large doses may not have any benefit, although vitamin C can help reduce cold symptoms caused by ultra-marathon training and races.


Hydration seems like a simple thing to remember, but it is easy to overlook. Colorado State University states that cool or chilled drinks are absorbed more easily by the body, and help to lower body temperature, which can be crucial during an ultra-running event. Staying hydrated is important before, during and after an endurance event; and it may take up to 36 hours post-race to fully rehydrate the body, says Colorado State University. Wearing a fuel belt or hydration belt can make it easier to obtain fluids during an ultra-running event.

Vitamins and Minerals

If an ultra-runner or endurance athlete eats a healthy and varied diet, the necessary vitamins and minerals are usually adequately obtained through foods. During exercise, especially endurance events, the body may need more minerals because of the added demands placed on the body, according to Colorado State University. During an endurance event that includes ultra-running, the body sweats profusely. The body’s concentration of salt increases due to sweating, and the salt steals water from cells, leading to muscle weakness and increases the likelihood of losing potassium, says Colorado State University. Potassium helps control muscle activity, and is necessary for proper muscle functioning. Adding salt to sports drinks during races or taking salt tablets during an event can be beneficial for some athletes.

Taken from the www.livestrong.com website