Imagine looking forward to walking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, you registered well in advance and did plenty of practice walks, you were feeling fit and had all the right gear courtesy of attending one of the Kuta Outdoors gear talks…. The big day was looming.
Prior to your big day you thought you’d prepared well, you packed your lunch, your packed your day sack with spare waterproofs, water, small first aid kit and pretty much covered it, so an early night to bed and then the big day finally arrives…
Through no fault of your own you set off slightly later than you had intended and as a result you got to the start late, you’d also skipped breakfast but hey you weren’t late, courtesy of some slick driving brilliant.
Despite not having breakfast you felt great, you’d eaten past the night before, you were ready or at least you thought you were.
The seed of a major problem was sown
You’d skipped breakfast.
After setting off from Horton on the Y3P the first leg is a slog up to the summit of Pen Y Ghent, it’s a great leg straining, heart pounding energy sapping uphill route that requires ENERGY… something that you don’t have much of but as it stands you don’t feel too bad but you have noticed your legs aren’t as strong as usual and you are beginning to feel tired and your character is changing, slightly edgy and not feeling 100% – at this stage your blood sugar levels are dropping and unless something changes quickly –there is a danger that you could become Hypoglycaemic or in layman’s terms – your blood sugar levels are so low you are literally running on empty and now in more serious danger of succumbing to the elements (Hypothermia or Heatstroke) and eventually potentially death.
So what do we have to do to avoid this situation?
It is remarkably simple – EAT BREAKFAST that is appropriate for your metabolism, a breakfast that will provide you with carbohydrates AND sugars – porridge is superb but not everyone can walk with a gut full of porridge made with milk – try it with water, fill it with cranberries and raisins perhaps some syrup – but have a breakfast, bananas – dried fruit or even flapjack. Some walkers swear by full English breakfasts – others can’t touch the stuff, you must find what works for you and a breakfast that doesn’t give you too much sugar (causing Hyperglycaemia) whose symptoms are identical.
Here are the 4 golden rules to ensure you avoid becoming food casualty:
- Rule 1 Eat the normal food you are accustomed to the day before your big walk
- Rule 2 Have a power breakfast that satisfied the bodies need for carbohydrates and sugars
- Rule 3 Ensue that you have sugary foods available for your big challenge, jam sandwiches, bananas, jelly babies etc.
- Rule 4 Do get a good night’s sleep. For the Y3P we recommend that you sleep in your own bed and get up early to travel to the start line rather than staying in a different bed hoping to sleep.
Great preparation doesn’t just include fitness and equipment it includes food. Finding the right mix of foods that satisfy our natural sugary needs and carbohydrates is down to experience and literally discovering the right foods that work for you.