Hi, my name is Rab from Das Nutrition Consultancy which is based in Dublin.
Seeing the sunrise from one of Ireland’s highest peaks is going to be unforgettable. Collectively experiencing this while raising support for the Irish Red Cross will make it even more special.
Each peak will offer its own unique challenges. Larger ones will require more preparation both in any form of training you might do for it but also to ensure that you’re fuelled enough for the trek itself.
Here are some simple tips to help you navigate your unforgettable journey:
1/ Don’t forget to hydrate
While this won’t be the same as something like a marathon, it won’t be a walk in the park either. Ensuring that you’re hydrated BEFORE starting the trek is vital.
On the day of the trek (so at a more appropriate hour), make sure you drink plenty of water. It will be important to take in some form of electrolytes as well prior to the climb as well. Try a dioralyte sachet or some dilatable squash with a pinch of salt and sugar in the lead up to the trek.
Let common sense prevail here and carry a water bottle. An idea here would be to have water mixed with some dilutable squash and a pinch of salt to ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the journey.
Around 250mls per hour hiking should keep you sufficiently hydrated and trekking at your best.
2/ Fuel up beforehand
It’s a round trip of six hours or so for some of the peaks. Fuelling up for something like this would be a wise idea.
Now, it doesn’t have to be to the same extent but a basic level of ‘fuelling’ would be good.
Much in the same way as a runner might prepare in the days before a race, you should consider making some similar preparations.
As a simple rule of thumb, eat a whole food source of carbohydrate with a protein source at each main meal two days out from the hike. The reason for doing this is to build up a supply of energy that your body can use during the trek up and down. Think potatoes, rice, oats and other solid sources like these along with meat sources, eggs, fish and dairy.
In the hours leading up to the hike (or earlier in the day, considering the time you’re starting at), you can choose more simple carbohydrate sources like fruit and small amounts of sports drinks. Grapes, bananas, melon and oranges are a good shout here.
3/ Have a ‘sleep strategy’ leading up the trek
Okay, so it’s not directly a nutrition strategy but it’s definitely a big factor to consider.
You’re going to be getting up super early to travel to your summit of choice, so you’re going to be tired. If you’ve been coming from a rough week of work it might be good in the days leading up to the trek to start ‘banking’ your sleep.
Yes, you can do that. Planning in an extra hour or two of sleep each night in the week leading up to the summit can help with energy and how you feel on the morning.
You might find yourself being surprisingly refreshed upon your early start…
4/ Don’t forget about recovery!
While I’m sure many of you who are signing up will be salivating over the prospect of a full Irish or smashed avocado on toast once you’ve successfully summited and descended, it would be a good idea to consider some acute recovery nutrition strategies.
What do I mean?
The trek is going to be tough but absolutely rewarding. It will take a toll on your body and you will feel it over the following days. Minimising those effects heading into the coming work week should be a priority.
Recovery nutrition needs to prioritise protein. To kick-start the process, try packing a protein bar, a whey protein shake or protein milk (endless choices folks!) to down following the trek would be ideal.
After that, just make sure your breakfast and lunch have a considerable amount of protein present. Perhaps side with eggs and something else of your choosing. Make sure you continue this meal pattern for the rest of the day.
Hikers and adventures of all levels of experience are invited to Join the Irish Red Cross on Saturday, 26th May for this year’s Sunrise Summit Challenge, and hike through the early morning darkness, reaching the mountain summits in time to watch the sunrise. Setting out pre-sunrise to reach the summit of one of six mountains. Click: www.redcross.ie/sunrisesummit
Rabin Das is an MNU Certified Nutritionist and holds an MSc in Nutrition and metabolism. Passionate about all things nutrition related, he hopes to make a difference with the spread of honest, trustworthy and actionable information.
Check him out on Instagram or at dasnutritionconsultancy.com