p-ISSN: 1300-0551
e-ISSN: 2587-1498

Selin Aktitiz1, Dilara Kuru1,2, Zeynep Ergün1, Hüseyin Hüsrev Turnagöl1

1Division of Exercise Nutrition and Metabolism, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Türkiye
2Coaching Education Department, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Rumeli University, İstanbul, Türkiye

Keywords: Ultra-marathon, endurance, running, nutrition


Ultra-marathons are running events that exceed the traditional marathon distance of 42.2 km (26.2 miles), and involve various distances, durations and environmental conditions. Considering the varying physiological characteristics and types of races, nutrition plays a crucial role in achieving optimal performance. Based on the literature, during the preparation period for these athletes, a daily energy intake of 40-70 kcal/kg/day, a carbohydrate intake of 5-8 g/kg/day, and a protein intake ranging from at least 1.65 to 2.1 g/kg/day are recommended. Nutrition during races is one of the fundamental challenges of ultra-marathons, so, careful planning is highlighted. For ultra-marathon runners, it is suggested to consume 150-300 kcal/h of energy during 81 km races, and 200-400 kcal/h during longer races, with a carbohydrate intake of 30-50 g/h. It is also noted that fat intake can be effective during long-duration ultra-marathons, and a protein intake of 5-10 g/h is recommended. Regarding hydration, the recommendations include consuming 450-750 ml/h or 150-250 ml of fluid every 20 min, with the fluid containing 500-700 mg/L or 300-600 mg/h of sodium (equivalent to 1000-2000 mg of salt), particularly in hot weather. In addition, pre-race caffeine intake of 3-6 mg/kg or 1-2 mg/kg during the race may be beneficial. However, it is essential to remember that all these recommendations are general sports nutrition guidelines adapted to the physiology of ultra-marathon running, and it is important to develop individualized nutrition strategies specific to each athlete.

Cite this article as: Aktitiz S, Kuru D, Ergun Z, Turnagol HH. Nutritional strategies for single and multi-stage ultra-marathon training and racing: from theory to practice. Turk J Sports Med. 2024;59(2):70-87; https://doi.org/10.47447/tjsm.0807

Author Contributions

Concept: SA, DK, ZE, HHT; Design:SA, DK, ZE; Supervision:HHT; Literature Review:SA, DK, ZE; Writing Manuscript: SA, DK, ZE, HHT;Critical Reviews:SA, HHT. All authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript and discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to authorship and/or publication of the article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or publication of this article.