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Prepped & Packed for his training and races

by Paul Hayward
Tuesday 19th January 2016
Tags  Prepped Packed   |   nutrition   |   Stuart Parsons   |   Team Muddy Kit

Product feature: Run247's Obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward introduces a bag that promises to to assist athletes in their hydration, meal preparation and nutritional needs

Prepped & Packed

I find myself racing more and more, either obstacle course races, runs such as half marathons or triathlons, and I find myself considering everything from improving my kit to getting my nutrition strategy right. It is natural to consider compression or trainers, but nutrition can often be overlooked.

Whilst I am really good with eating the right things on the lead up to a race, I often find myself falling short on race day, on both the morning before and after the race itself. Although I used to think that “I have just run 13.1 miles, I can have two beers, a burger and a brownie”, but it became apparent to me that my body did not like this approach and yearned for decent food; I would either need to eat again pretty soon after consuming the burgers or I would feel lethargic and awful.

When I was training for an Ironman last year, this approach was hindering my progress. I found myself eating on the way to the race on occasion or even worse, I would find myself eating at a service station on the way home as I had not prepared properly.

With this in mind I started looking for a solution and noticed that OCR athlete and runner Stuart Parsons of Team Muddy Kit used the “meal preparation” system Prepped & Packed for his training and races.

With a specially designed bag that offers to assist athletes in their “hydration, meal preparation and nutritional needs”, Prepped & Packed makes it easy for you to do your own meal preparation, without the hassle of carrier bags with ice packs in addition to your race kit, or lunch boxes in your kit bag, where food could go off or be all over your kit.

I decided to find out more and I asked Stuart Parsons what Prepped & Packed offered him as an athlete: “The Prepped & Packed Apollo bag has allowed me to manage my healthy eating goals and approach every morning prepared nutritionally for the day ahead. Whether training in the gym or on the road I am never caught short with nothing to eat or having to snack on goods at a service station.

"Before the Prepped & Packed Apollo bag I would use various plastic containers, protein shakers and stick it all in my bag, being very disorganised and struggling for room. Now I can have everything I need and more, organised and easily accessible whilst kept cool throughout the day. The inbuilt skeleton structure not only helps the bag keep it shape but also means I can stick my fruit, such as bananas in the bag without it getting bruised and turned into mush and with the inclusion of the Prepped & Packed recipe book aiding me to make good food choices I’m never short of ideas.

!When it comes to race days/weekends the bag is perfect, packing my prepped snacks and meals pre and post as most OCR athletes know many races can be a few hours drive away and with registration and warm up time to consider we/I like to get on the road nice and early to ensure I'm not late to the start line. This can sometimes mean that there is little to no time for breakfast before leaving. So having my usual breakfasts and pre race snacks and drinks can be easily consumed and kept cool whilst on my journey. Typically I like to have my breakfast at least 4 hours before a race as well as a banana and a few high energy secret snacks unto an hour before and sipping on mountain fuel right up until the race. The bag allows me to keep this all organised and packed neatly, ready to grab easily whilst on the go and post race I can grab my recovery fuel and snacks within the 20 minute time window for optimum recovery ready to get right back into training after a heavy race weekend”

With this in mind I will be putting the Prepped & Packed Hermes bag through its paces. I hoped that it will give me a complete meal solution while racing across the United Kingdom and, more importantly, ensure that my nutrition is not affected by travelling or early mornings or late evenings.

First impressions and features - Hermes bag:

Prepped & Packed

The Hermes bag aims to offer the complete lifestyle solution in that it offers a gym/work bag, combined with the meal management system. On closer inspection this offers a large section to the top of the bag, big enough for trainers and gym kit, with a shake mixer pocket and a strong section at the bottom, known as the “skeleton structure”, housing the freezer gel packs in their own pockets. The whole structure is wrapped in silver meshing to insulate your food and there is enough room for three lunchboxes for your food. Due to the skeleton structure, there is no fear of the food being crushed or hurt. 

In addition there is another “slimline” section to the bag that will allow you to house flapjacks, nutrition shakes and other items of food to ensure that you are prepared for the day. You can of course use this for any other purpose too. Splitting the bag up into sections, ensures that you do not have to worry about your food mixing with your race / training gear.

The bag is carried through straps or by way of a strong shoulder strap and feels akin to a large shoulder/gym bag. Pleasingly it is not restrictive and has a great deal of room to house all of your needs for the day.

As first impressions go, I am really excited by the flexibility and independence that the Hermes bag appears to offer. I was really surprised to see that there is enough space in the bag to house my training kit and ensure that I do not end up eating pre-packed sandwiches or fast food, if anything I am looking forward to being in complete control of my nutrition strategy and having options for training or come race day.

The test

I will report back in June 2016 on my experiences and how I have got on through both my OCR and triathlon seasons. However I was interested to know how much of a game changer Prepped & Packed could be and Stuart summed up his thoughts:

“It really is an investment in your body and goals as anyone interested in any kind of sport with any goal, whether it be weight loss goals or fuelling yourself correctly to achieve your goals as an athlete”.

Prepped & Packed

More information on Prepped & Packed’s range can be found at: preppedandpacked.com or on their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/preppedandpacked/?fref=ts

Stuart Parsons is part of Team Muddy Kit and their details can be found at: www.facebook.com/teammuddykitOCR/?fref=ts and you can follow his 2016 season on Twitter at: twitter.com/djzebede


About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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