Meet the Midnight Runners. In 2019 Vega teamed up with the London-based running crew for their most remarkable run to date: a 400km cross country expedition of Tajikistan from the border of Afghanistan to the border of China. The expedition has now been made into a an award winning documentary being released later this year. In this blog we spoke to two of the runners about motivation and nutrition during the run - a part of any long distance running that is often overlooked!
On a multi-day run like this the ‘during’ is as important as the training. You can be fit as a fiddle but if you don’t let your body recover with the right fuel it’s going to be game over!
I knew that keeping my nutrition and hydration during the run was going to be key to successfully completing the trip, however I didn’t realise JUST how important it would be.
We were covering 45km+ a day and we structured the day to leave early to allow as much recovery time as possible during the afternoon and evening. Bed time in the High Pamir Mountains is delightfully early and tied to sun down. Whilst this was great for rest if we didn’t get in and sort out all our admin, eat and stretch early we would get caught out. There was this constant battle between running at a sustainable pace and pushing it to buy yourself more time with your feet up. In the end the fatigue of our bodies began to dictate just how quickly we could run.
I would stretch twice a day, in the morning when I woke up to get me going and immediately after my run. I used a foam roller on the part of my body I knew I was having issues - unsurprisingly tight ITB bands lead to knee issues so a lot of painful focus was on that!
After day two I really realised how much our diet was affecting our recovery. We were eating local food and, whilst it was super tasty and filling, it didn’t have any protein. To ensure I was getting enough protein, I was adding in Vega Clean* Protein to my daily routine. The protein helped me to refuel and maintain muscle post-workout after a long day and the formula is super low in sugar which I prefer to avoid a lot of high sugar energy products
My nutrition for an average day was this:
Porridge and honey
Vega Essentials Shake
Mid Morning Snack
Freeze dried pasta meal (normally with an amazing view of the valley!)
Vega Clean* Protein Shake
Locally cooked vegetables and rice
With so little local protein we were very lucky to have other protein sources to carry us through. Did our bodies survive and we make it to the end? Watch the film and find out…
*At Vega®, clean means suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten-free, non-dairy ingredients and non-GMO