Looking for a trail race nutrition plan? Lauren MacLeod, RD, sports dietitian and MUIR Energy Content Editor and breaks down the perfect energy gels for each stage of your next race.
MUIR Energy Gels aren’t just tasty – they’re built to work hard. Whether your stomach grumbles or the dreaded bonk approaches, each gel has its own part to play on Race Day.
The best before the starting line - Red Raspberry
Before a long training run, it’s necessary to find balance between nourishing yourself and preventing digestive discomfort. The secret behind every strong race start is a solid dose of easy-to-digest carbohydrates. The sweet spot here is 30-60 minutes before the starting line. Red Raspberry is a fan-favorite flavor, and it’s a bit more fluid than our other flavors, making it a quick and easy pre-race boost.
The best for the aid stations - Cashew Vanilla Mate
It’s hour two and the next aid station is in sight. For many racers, this is the moment when your stomach rumbles, but you fear you may not be able to digest those tasty aid station snacks. Now is Cashew Vanilla Mate’s time to shine: it provides a light but filling dose of fats and proteins, which is the perfect recipe for refueling during a long endurance effort.
Protein begins the process of muscle recovery, while fats are the most dense source of calories. Trail running burns incredible amounts of calories, and it can be tough to get enough from carbs alone.
At this point in the race, a little caffeine pick-me-up might be just what you need. All MUIR mate flavors contain 90 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as a cup of coffee.
The best for cramps - Pineapple Kale
Whether it’s your stomach or your leg, pineapple kale is the perfect choice for preventing cramps. It’s high in sodium and potassium, which are electrolytes that maintain the electrical signals between your brain and flexing muscles. Interrupted signals = muscles that can’t chill out.
Bromelain is a naturally-occurring enzyme in pineapple that supports digestion. If your stomach doesn’t want anything to do with gels, try some Pineapple Kale to settle it down.
The best for the bonk - Strawberry
If you’re crashing HARD on that final climb, your body is begging for carbohydrates. Racing depletes the body’s stored carbs, and running out means running into the dreaded bonk. Strawberry contains 23 grams of sweet and simple carbs, the ideal dose for every 30 minutes of race time.
The best for the finish line - Cacao Almond
After a grueling day of climbs and sprints, give your body the protein it needs to rebuild its tired muscles. Cacao Almond contains the most protein of any MUIR gel, which is just what you need to celebrate the perfect finish – plus, who wouldn’t want to celebrate with chocolate? Support the recovery process by following up with a full meal and fluids within two hours.
Remember: avoid trying new foods or hydration on race day! Sample each of our flavors on at least one training run to find the right fueling system for you.