Some runners make the transition to trail running after getting bored of the tarmac. However, when you run of out food and water during a road run, you can still hop into a convenience store to replenish. But what happens when you’re in jungles and mountains?
ToughAsia spoke to trail runners to share some ‘pro tips’ and ‘expert’ advice on how to refuel – or eat your way – to the finish line of Malaysian Mountain Trail Festival (MMTF) in Taiping, Perak this weekend.
Mohamad Affindi Nudin is definitely a familiar face in the trails, as he won first place in the Action Asia Janda Baik 50km race and was rewarded with a trip to race with the world’s best at the Asian Skyrunning Championship in Hong Kong, now postponed to February.
This year alone, he has raced ultramarathons in Indonesia and Vietnam, besides running local road marathons in Terengganu, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur. Popularly known as Findi, his pre-race breakfast consists of energy bars containing dates, oats and honey. For MMTF, he will be carrying 4 energy bars, 6 gels, drink every 2-3km, eat every 10-12km plus fruits at every checkpoint.
Racing in the 84km category, Findi will be starting his race in the wee hours and will be carrying his trusty Petzl headlamp. His hydration pack will be stuffed with nutritional electrolytes and minerals, and guess what, Ribena pastilles! His kids lent their ‘expert’ opinion on these pastilles and it’s now his must-have on the trails.
Leading The North Face Malaysia’s monthly trail runs around Klang Valley, Dannie Choong is another regular in the trail run scene. Stretching his legs in the 25km race at MMTF on Sunday, Dannie will start his morning with 3-4 slices of bread with a cup of hot chocolate.
During his races like the Hulu Langat trail run earlier this year, Dannie will pre-pack honey to eat or drink, plus salt tablets and chocolate bars to boost his energy, eating as he requires. His favourite snacks are chocolate bars, mixed nuts and salt sweets.
Paving the trails for the TrailRaptorz group, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim will be taking on the 50km race at MMTF. Sticking to the true Malaysian breakfast, Rahman loads up on nasi lemak, or ‘mihun’ (vermicelli) while packing raisins, dates, apples, energy bars, and mineral water into his race pack.
Since starting trail running two years ago, Rahman’s regime is to eat every 30 minutes in his first 10 kilometres to maintain his momentum, and subsequently eat only when hungry, while filling up at the checkpoints too. Rahman was last racing 84km at the Ultimate Direction Cross Country (UDCC), and finds running in trails therapeutic as it calms his mind and rejuvenates his body.
If a mother of four can race 50km in the trails, you better believe that she has a tremendous amount of energy that would outlast any commercial bars or gels. 37-year-old Adamia Binti Adam loves running in the serenity of the trails while enjoying the lush greenery at multiple ultramarathon trails in the last 2 years. She recently raced at the Pink Ultra Paya Indah Wetland 50km, and UDCC 55 km with the TrailRaptorz group.
Another true Malaysian by heart, she takes Milo and bread for breakfast before packing energy gels, salt sticks, electrolyte drinks and dates. Using the trails as an excuse to indulge in her favourites, Adamia finds joy in chocolate bars and jelly beans!
Now, pack up and load up on your favourites and maybe even exchange some along the way.