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Aug. 23, 2011
Tara’s Hood to Coast Performance Nutrition Recipe
Hood to Coast is fast approaching for the Clif Bar team. This will be my first experience with a [more than] 24-hour, 200-mile relay race. I recently read an advice column listing a few of the biggest mistakes people make running Hood to Coast (or other relays, for that matter).

Hood to Coast relay
Image from

  • 1. Running the first leg too fast

  • 2. Standing too much between legs

  • 3. Not eating and drinking enough

I have no fear of running my first leg too fast. I am a slow starter more interested in saving up my energy for later. Standing, well, I hear there are plenty of opportunities for sitting so I am not worried. Eating and drinking, no problem. That’s what my job as the Clif Bar & Company Dietitian is all about, and we make the best foods and drinks to make that happen.

Here is my personal plan to put that performance nutrition to work (Amy – Team captain – take note for the grocery list). And for additional tips on running, be sure to check out episodes of CLIFCast, our Clif Bar podcast for info on sports nutrition.

Friday, First Running Leg

Our team’s relay race begins at 1:00pm Friday, so this makes eating as I normally would quite simple, with plenty of time to digest before my first running leg late afternoon. Breakfast will be fruit, cereal, milk, coffee and water.

Mid-morning snack will be almonds and an apple (more water). Lunch will be my trusty whole-wheat bread with banana-honey-sesame-butter sandwich and water. At mid-afternoon my leg of the race will be less than three hours away, so I will probably go with a Honey Graham CLIF KID Z Bar.

It’s important remember that you will be running roughly three 10k’s within a short time frame. This is different than running “just” one 10k in one day. I will be treating the entire race like a 30k with the benefit of long breaks to power in some good performance nutrition and rest between each leg.

So with that begins my use of performance nutrition food of three CLIF SHOT BLOKS 10 minutes before the “hand-off” at the start of my running leg. I know during a 30K I generally feel my best when eating around 50 grams of carbohydrates per hour. During a typical 10k I wouldn’t need to eat much beyond the pre-race meal, but this isn’t typical a 10K. I will chomp down the other half of my BLOKS packet about 20 minutes into my first run.

After my first leg is complete, I will have several hours to digest my foods. I will be taking advantage of my recovery window and chug down one shelf-stable milk box upon completion of leg one. For dinner I will be in the van.

I am not one of these people who tires of foods easily, and I am perfectly happy eating the same thing over and over again especially when doing so around running because it will lessen the likelihood of digestive surprises. So for dinner, I will delight again in my whole-wheat bread with banana-honey-sesame-butter sandwich. My next leg is in the middle of the night so I will try and catch some zzz’s here for a bit.

Saturday, Second Running Leg

Before my middle-of-the-night second running leg, I will wake up with a CLIF SHOT Chocolate Cherry Turbo Energy Gel with caffeine. Caffeine, don’t fail me now! I will follow that up about 20 minutes later with 3 (count them) CLIF SHOT BLOKS and will have an energy gel in my pocket for backup in the event I’m too tired to chew.

After successfully running in the middle of the night for the first time, I will not forget my recovery window and as if by instinct, I will drink my milk box and kick it in the van.

Saturday, Third Running Leg

At some point I imagine I will have time to eat breakfast. Eggs with toast, fruit and coffee would be ideal. Not knowing if this will be possible, I will have a sunflower-butter sandwich on backup or Crunchy Peanut Butter CLIF BAR.

My next leg will probably be about three hours out, so that will give me plenty of time to digest fully and put the food to work. Ten minutes before my third leg, I will stick with my 3 CLIF SHOT BLOKS and follow that up with the other 3 about 20 minutes into my run. This should keep me coasting into my finish where I will once again put the recovery window to work with; you guessed it, a milk box and a well-deserved beer. If a meal isn’t possible in the next two hours then I will eat a CLIF MOJO Bar and some fruit. Yum!

So there you have it. That is my plan. I based it on my extensive review of the sports nutrition literature (what nutrition nerds do) and my practical “field” of what has worked best for me around longer training runs.

P.S. I don’t think I put enough emphasis on drinking fluids and it is supposed to be hot. So drink up throughout the entire adventure.
Posted by:
Tara, the RD

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