Ultrarunning races like last week’s grueling UTMB often attract ultra personalities. And these extreme athletes nosh on some unexpected endurance fuel.
The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is 106-mile technical trail over some of the most daunting yet scenic mountains in the world. The distance runners who manage to finish the race do whatever it takes to train for it and get through it.
And sometimes that means eating some strange stuff.
Moosh: Lewy-Boulet’s Homemade Ultrafuel
U.S. Olympian Magdalena Lewy-Boulet placed a respectable fifth in the race a couple years ago after winning the Western States 100 the year prior.
She crushed both endurance events with an odd boost from “moosh,” the ultimate training meal thought up by her husband. Today, Lewy-Boulet eats the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink entree with pride.
Make your own moosh:
- Start with a mix of cooked quinoa and lentils.
- Add in lots of freshly chopped greens like kale and spinach.
- Throw in colorful veggies like tomatoes and carrots.
- Top it off with anything you like: avocado, blueberries, fresh ginger, pumpkin seeds, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.
- Drizzle olive oil and some sea salt to taste.
“After a hard training day, this meal refuels me,” she said. “It’s healthy, delicious, and packed with wholesome carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and good fats. It promotes growth and repair of my muscle tissues, keeps my gut healthy, and maintains a healthy immune system.”
Other UTMB Pros Eat With Abandon Too
And apparently, Lewy-Boulet isn’t the only ultrarunner with some unexpected nutrition habits.
UTMB competitor Tim Freriks topped the podium at the Transvulcania 73K and The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler last year. He likes crudité — carrots and bell peppers paired with hummus — for recovery.
Some newbies to endurance racing tend to hold off hunger pangs until well beyond the highly suggested 45-minute window for post-workout eating. Freriks warns against that.
“I will always eat when I’m hungry during training. Eat early and often. Never wait until the bonk to start fueling,” he said.
Tim Tollefson, who placed third twice in that last three UTMB races, will eat anything to prevent “the bonk.” But his fuel must check three boxes: It’s got to be tasty, filling, and add zero gastrointestinal stress to his body.
That means mostly grains and carbs for breakfast: oatmeal, almond butter, and coffee. During big races, he leans on gels like GU that go down easy. When Tollefson is training, pizza, rice, or “something loaded with bread” does the trick for lunch, he said.
And if he’s still working up an appetite, he munches on mixed nuts. And, yes, there are plenty of “recovery” cookies and doughnuts, he admitted.
Even endurance pros break nutrition rules — and they still win races.