Practical Nutrition Plan: Merrell Spring Challenge

Practical Nutrition Plan: Merrell Spring Challenge

Together with the team from Merrell Spring Challenge we have created some practical race day nutrition guides to help you strive towards your best performance and get the most out of race day. 


Race Day Nutrition Plan

 Timing Aim Tips Suggestions
7 days pre-race
Rest, recover & prepare for race day
  • Carbs + protein < 30 min after training
  • Minimum 7-8 hours sleep per night 
  • ~2 Litres water per day
  • Immune support
  • Optional Beet loading (5 days out)



Immune support:

2 days pre-race Aim for 2-3L (or upwards depending on size)
PURE Electrolyte Hydration is an option in the  24 hours pre race if you don't have a huge appetite (hydrates + supplies additional carbs and electrolytes)
3-4 hours pre-race
Low fat/fibre Breakfast with high carbohydrate content
  • Cereal
  • Yoghurt 
  • Toast/ fruit toast/ muffin split
  • Fruit/ fruit salad
  • Fruit juice/ chocolate milk. 
  • Pasta or rice based meal
Practice your choice before long training sessions
Race morning 

500-750ml Fluid

Sip away pre race (starting as soon as you wake up) to hydrate and top up muscle glycogen (fuel) and salt levels) 
1-2 hours pre-race
  • Smoothie or liquid meal
  • Muesli bar
  • Flavoured milk
Helps to prevent hunger and provide some last minute energy/ muscle fuel top up
15 min pre-race 
Sugar top up
Energy hit for once the start gun sounds
Hourly fluid
500-750ml + Fluid
Start drinking early and spread intake over each hour
Hourly fuel

30-60g Carbohydrate

6-9 hour event: 60-90g carbohydrate

Incorporate 1 PURE Electrolyte Replacement Cap each hour if you need cramp prevention

Use caffeine gels early to enable time for absorption 

Plan nutrition supplies to fuel longer race durations on course

Recovery (within 30min)  Protein + carbohydrate  Keep up the hydration in the hours after especially if planning a few well-earned drinks. 



Ideally, a race-day nutrition plan begins months before race-day so you have plenty of time to practice fuelling strategies, tweak when needed and turn up to your event with the confidence to nail your nutrition.

Here are some practical tips to help you plan for the ultimate race day experience.


Aim: approx. 500-750ml+ per hour

  • Start drinking early, with small amounts frequently 
  • Different weather conditions mean different requirements. Be prepared by carrying more hydration than required, especially if it is hot. But don't forget that even is cool conditions you need to stay hydrated
  • Hydration bladders are a great option while on-the-go, but remember you can't visualise how much you are drinking so check that you're meeting your hydration targets (drinking to thirst doesn't prevent dehydration, particularly during the longer events)
  • Why sports drink? For exercise over 60 minutes water isn't always adequate when it comes to fast hydration, getting carbohydrates on board (to fuel muscles) and replacing mineral salts (lost in sweat) to help prevent cramping and maintain energy levels
  • Don't forget to mix your sports drink up as per the directions.  There are several reasons a sports drink concentration is formulated as it is, including speed of absorption and hydration. If you dilute the strength, you are simply diluting the performance of the product - so make sure you choose a drink which you enjoy the taste of at full strength 


    Racing up to 3 hours: 30-60g per hour

    Racing over 3 hours: 60-90g per hour

    • Start early and spread your intake out evenly over each hour. Some disciplines are easier to eat while doing so make the most of these opportunities i.e. hiking/ transitions
    • Lay out your foods before the race to ensure you have enough carbohydrates per hour of racing (plus extra). Use food labels and the carbohydrate guide to work out carbohydrates per serving
    • If your carb aim is over 60g per hour ensure that your carbs come from different sources (so your body is able to absorb the high amount required) For example PURE Performance Plus Race Fuel

    General Tip and Tricks

    • Practice your nutrition plan well ahead of race day during your training so there are no surprises. A solid plan can be the difference between having a great day out vs. a survival grind
    • Remember you may be skipping meal times so look to include foods containing protein and fat to curb hunger 
    • Cut and repackage foods/supplements into bite-sized pieces that are easy to get to and easy to eat (snap lock bags are great). It's a good idea to allow for one snap lock bag per hour so you know what you need to get through each hour, but know in advance roughly how many carbohydrates each bag will provide.  Use the nutritional panel on the back of your food to help you with calculating this.  Make sure you consume your zip-lock bag of food during each hour - it's a great visual reminder on keeping your nutrition plan on track during the event
    • Allow for a change of taste buds. Have savoury and sweet options at each transition, you might just be surprised with what works well for you on race day.  Don't be afraid to have lots of options available to you in your transition gear bag, and simply select what you want before you head onto the next stage
    • If you are using caffeine add this in earlier on in the race to allow time for absorption. (Selected PURE Gel flavours have 30mg of added caffeine, about 1/3 cup of coffee)
    • Prone to cramp? Add additional salt to your diet in the day or two before race day or alternatively, PURE Electrolyte Capsules can be taken in the day(s) before to provide sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium to support muscle function

     For further event specific information visit Spring Challenge