The Secret is in the Pudding

Today we welcome back Majell Backhausen with a slightly unusual piece. Some of you may remember his UTMB report that he wrote for us a few months ago. Well it went down a storm with many of you, so I wanted to ask Majell back to write some more for the website because he does so well, and with great humility too. Not one to shout about his efforts, he let’s his feet do most of the talking and we’ll be featuring a report from him soon on his Great Ocean Walk experience. But first, an interesting little article on his rather ‘different’ nutrition for races and a little secret he wanted to share with us. It’s unusual to say the least, so I’ll let Majell explain!

Being approached about what I eat is usually a floodgate of information opening. Having the opportunity to lay down a small insight into on one of my favourite topics for the benefit other runners has me keen as mustard.

I won’t go on my usual rant of how much I love vegetables, rice and lentils. I will instead let you in on a little secret that has got me through the 2015 editions of UTMB and GOW100.

I was lucky enough to spend a summer with Ultra Running Coach, Robbie Britton, a gentleman better known for his running talent than his skills in the kitchen. But the one thing he taught me in the kitchen was how to make a small parcel of power for the trails.

Enter the world of real food running fuel, a concept which I don’t have time to cover in detail but a concept I encourage you to explore and include in your running, especially for the long distance events.

The Power Parcel is simple yet effective. Train with it and understand how it works for you and like all experiments of nutrition adapt it accordingly to your desires – but remember, real food running fuel so don’t go adding M&M’s or Skittles. They have their moment in the spot light, during the long stuff. But you have to put in the miles and visit the pain cave before you get those kinds of treats.

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Here is the step by step for making your own Power Parcel and then we can talk how to incorporate it in your race routine.

You need:

  • 1 cup plain white rice – for 10cmx10cm container
  • 3 Tbls Nut Butter- any kind really
  • 3 Tbls Jam (50% fruit or greater)
  • The ability to refrain from eating ingredients, during the process
  • Reusable Pouches OR Aluminium foil (10cmx10cm squares)

Slightly overcook the rice – get it sticky and moist.

  1. Pat down one layer of rice in chosen container or deep tray and pack it down fairly firmly- 3cm-ish layer
  2. Employ the ability to resist eating nut butter
  3. Spread nut butter over bottom layer of rice- 0.5cm-ish layer
  4. Spread Jam over nut butter- 0.5cm-ish layer
  5. Lay down a top layer of rice over the NB&J and pat down -2cm-ish layer
  6. Maybe a sprinkle of Salt for some electrolyte inclusion
  7. Cover and send it to the fridge overnight

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When it’s nice and chilled, flip it (the container), ensuring the slab of goodness comes out as one. The dice it up in 3cm x 3cm blocks and wrap it up into small Power Parcels OR mash it and put it in reusable pouches for Power Pouches

That is it, keep it simple, keep it real and don’t eat them all before your race!

There are many different options here for personalising a Power Parcel such as add some fine chopped nuts, a sprinkle of chia seeds, or add some dried fruit. But the main thing goal here is to keep it real and simple.

There no room or need to get all ‘amped’ up like a Master Chef and make a gourmet gut bomb! In order to be successful in the long run use this as one simple fuel, in what should be a pantry full of options. I incorporate these Power Parcels with products such as Tailwind.

Down Power Parcels every 30-45min early in the event until you finish or can’t tolerate them any longer.

Run, eat and enjoy – simple!

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Majell Backhausen
Majell (pronounced My-al) is an Australian International Ultra Distance Runner who wants to explore the world, meet great people and prove himself in the mountains.

You’ll either find him behind a BIG plate of veggies, running in the mountains, talking about a positive life or cycling around town.

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