Practice, Practice, Practice! Training is the time to experiment with various nutrition and hydration and you must figure out and learn what works best for you. You cannot hide it and if you do it will catch up with you and stop you in your tracks. Before going on a run become familiar with your route and where all the water stops are. I like cold water and the best places I have found are the golf courses, Fire Stations, and a couple of the schools. If you don’t have access to these amenities or you’re training on trails, then consider taking some sort of hydration pack with you.
There are a variety of fuel belts, hydration vests, and handheld bottles available. It’s best to practice with these as most trail races are going cup-less meaning they don’t serve water in cups at the aid stations. In these races, you have to carry your own bottle and refill from the coolers. It’s a way for race organizers to limit the amount of trash on the course. Hydration belts bounce too much for me but some people like them. Hydration vests are nice and allow you to carry more supplies with you. Make sure you try these out in training so you can figure out if it’s comfortable to wear. I prefer to train using a handheld bottle with a pouch to carry my gels. It’s easier for me to refill and exchange with my crew during races. Pay attention to how long you can go with fluids in your bottle and how that changes depending on temperature and effort. You need to know this information before race day so you can determine how much fluids you must have to get from one aid station to the next.
Most trail races are notorious for having an assortment of food. It’s like a buffet of everything you can imagine. I’m talking about quesadillas, burritos, pecan pie, ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, gummy bears, M&M’s, crackers, chips, fruit, pickle juice, electrolytes, etc. What have I missed? Unfortunately for me my stomach cannot handle most of these when I’m going fast. I’ve figured out that I can go pretty much go all day on gels (Huma gels). Again, you must practice with these in training and it’s helpful to search the Race’s website to learn what they will have available at their aid stations. Experiment with it and see what works the best on your stomach and also gives you the most amount of energy.
Review link of race website for what’s on the table at an aid station.