Kokoda Challenge

Expert Tips : Kokoda Challenge Nutrition & Hydration



Nutrition Tips and Tricks for the 2012 Kokoda Challenge

Scott Whimpey from First Aid Accident & Emergency and Delina Rahmate from Fit Dimensions Education recommend to eat and drink for the Kokoda Challenge.

Both Scott and Delina are from the elite team CONDEV 1 and have finished this challenge every time they have participated, Scott has a winning time in the 96 km Kokoda Challenge of 11:19 min and Delina has finished every Challenge inside 18hrs.

It is recommended to consume 200-300 calories 2-3 hours prior to Kokoda, if you cant usually eat prior to exercise then try to consume 50-100 calories just before you train then start consuming 100 -150 calories/hr during workouts of 2+ hours.

The following lists of foods are suitable for endurance are generally easy to digest and provide use-able carbohydrates:

The following are examples of pre and during workout ideas for you to assist in a great performance, they are very healthy and packed with nutrition. Please make sure that you PRACTICE your nutrition prior to the race as you need to find out what works best for you!

50 calories is approximately per item:

  • 1 small piece of fruit such as apple
  • 12 strawberries
  • 1 slice of pineapple
  • 10 grapes
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • 1 small pack raisins

100 calories is approximately per item:

  • 14 almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 pieces of fresh fruit
  • 2 cups of watermelon
  • 1 small sweet potato (baked/steamed and salted)
  • 1 cup of white potato (baked/steamed and salted)
  • 1 gel (check your brand)
  • 1/ 2 sports bar (check your brand)
  • ½ cup of boiled pasta
  • ½ cup of boiled white rice
  • 20g of potato chips
  • 1 ½ slices of thin white bread
  • 1 slice white bread with Vegemite
  • 1 Anzac biscuit (small)
  • 1 medium sized plain pancake
  • 10-12 jelly beans
  • 7 jelly lollies
  • 4 squares of dark chocolate
  • 1 heaped scoop of powdered sports drink (check your brand – this is what Hammer Heed, Trail Brew and Tailwind Nutrition provide)

Here is how we can put some of the above suggestions into practice:

Do you need blister protection or ITB help for the challenge? Check out Scott’s Ultimate Kokoda pack here.

  1. Consume 50-100 calories immediately prior to short workouts and 200-300 calories/hr during workouts of 2+ hours
  • Energy Drink (electrolytes and carbohydrate mix)
  • Energy Bar – ½ – 1 bar (depending on distance/ time training) Homemade or a sports bar (eg. Hammer Bar)
  • Energy Gel or Energy Chews (only use during workouts of 2+ hours, otherwise, use real food)
  • Raw Fruit – 2 small or 1 medium-large/hr. Best choices are banana pieces, mandarin oranges, pineapple, figs, dates, raisins (caution during longer workouts, as dried fruit can cause bloating/diarrhea).
  • Berries easier pre-workout if they will get squashed or have at checkpoints
  • Fruit Puree in squeeze sachets or preserved natural fruit- easy to carry
  • Boiled Baby Potatoes sprinkled with sea salt (these carry well in a zip lock bag)
  • Sweet Potato sprinkled with sea salt (these carry well in a zip lock bag)
  • Sweet Potatoes with Sea Salt & Honey This is a higher carbohydrate meal perfect for the demands of Kokoda. Bake or boil 1-2 sweet potatoes and consume with sea salt and 1-2 tablespoons local raw honey or organic maple syrup. For added calories (especially prior to a 2+ hour training session or race), you can include a dollop of organic, pot-set yoghurt or 1-2 tablespoons almond butter.


  • Homemade Vegetable Soup:
    If you are walking and know that you will be out there for a long time hot foods are perfect when it gets late. Vegetable soup provides a source of liquid, electrolyte and some nourishing vegetables. Minestrone Soup (Serves 8-10). Use whatever vegetables are in season and try a variety of ingredients to keep the recipe fresh.
  • Ingredients:
  • – 1 can cannellini beans (or beans of choice);
    – 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock;
    – 1/4 cup olive oil;
    – 1 small onion, finely diced;
    – 1/2 cup celery, finely sliced;
    – 1/2 cup carrot, diced;
    – 3 cloves garlic, minced;
    – 4 cups baby spinach or other dark leafy greens;
    – 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped;
    – 2 zucchini, trimmed, diced;
    – 1 can diced tomatoes;
    – Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Directions:
  • 1) In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion, celery and carrot.
    2) Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
    3) Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.
    4) Add zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, parsley and stock.5) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, puree half (optional – will make soup thicker) of the cooked beans in a blender or food processor.
    6) Add it to the soup along with the remaining beans. Continue to simmer it for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fluid and Electrolyte Intake
    The major electrolytes found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride. Because these crucial nutrients help stimulate nerves throughout the body and balance fluid levels, an electrolyte imbalance can cause a variety of serious negative symptoms.


  • Dehydration
    Any level of dehydration will decrease sports performance – a 1% loss of body weight generally decreases sports performance by 5%.


  • Adverse Effects of Dehydration
    There are many adverse effects of dehydration including:▪ Heart rate and body temperature increase.
    ▪ Perception of work / effort increases.
    ▪ Muscular endurance and aerobic capacity are reduced.
    ▪ Reduced concentration, mental functioning, and skill learning ability.
    ▪ Cramps, nausea and headaches.
    ▪ Delayed gastric emptying, making it harder to rehydrate. Fluid intake when dehydrated can lead to stomach upsets.
    ▪ Inability to urinate a few hours after an endurance event.

To assist in the fluid and electrolyte balance you can use food as sources as well as sports drink replacements and supplements.

  • To understand your hydration needs weigh yourself before and after a training session (such as a long weekend training session) and this will show how much weight you have lost in fluid and hence approximately what needs to be replaced. You can then use this as a guide for future rides.
  • If you are relying on a very low calorie source of fluid you need to consider your energy requirements particularly on your long training sessions and in Kokoda. When purchasing a sports drink the Institute of Medicine recommend the formula to contain the following ratios of sodium to potassium to carbohydrate to ensure maximal uptake and a correct electrolyte balance in the body:
  • 10 parts sodium: 1 part Potassium or 6 sodium:1 potassium
  • With a 5-10% carbohydrate content to maximise absorption.

If you would like any additional information, contact Scott or Delina now on Ph: 55205068