Food is often a matter of individual choice, but I will give a few basic guidelines and foods that I have found to be useful when marathon paddling.
Breakfast in my opinion should always be either muesli, porridge or Weetbix. These are low GI (Glycaemic Index) foods which means that they slowly release glucose in to the bloodstream.
Throughout the day, I eat every hour and use muesli bars, nuts and fruit.—Dried fruit such as bananas and apricots is good and pieces of grapefruit can give you quite a lift.
In the middle of the day a sandwich can be quite good, but if you want to have a rapid instant meal I often use the Up and Go liquid breakfast. It comes in a sealed pack with a straw and can withstand heat and being knocked around in the boat or being on the deck. They can be bought at all supermarkets and come in various sizes and flavours.
i always keep a 250 ml of Big M Coffee and Milk, which I drink at the start of the last 10 km—The sugar, milk and caffeine gives you a real lift as you approach the finish.
When I get out of the boat I usually drink up to litre of V8 vegetable juice. I find it to be a fantastic recovery drink, particularly when it is very hot. It has lots of potassium which you need after a marathon and is very high in antioxidants which play a major part in helping tired muscles recover overnight for the next days paddling. Even if you do not think you would like it, I suggest you get your land crew to bring a cold bottle of it to the finish. I have converted many paddlers to V8 by getting them to give it a try.
Another recovery food that helps me a great deal is a container of New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels which you can buy at supermarkets. They are rich source of Zinc and Magnesium which the body really needs after a hard days paddling—-Give them a try–You may be favourably impressed.
Your evening meal should have lots of either rice or pasta combined with your choice of meat and vegetables.
Milk can be very good as it has a high potassium–I will drink up to a litre with a meal.
What to do if you “Hit the Wall” If everything goes wrong and the motor just will not work, I suggest an emergency kit. –A packet of natural jelly snakes and a bottle or can of Coke. I would never touch Coke in everyday life, but on the odd Marathon it has brought me back to life. One of my paddling friends christened it the “Red Doctor”, and when things went absolutely pear shaped we would go for the Doctor. It works.