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half marathon des sables ultra running

Half Marathon des sables (HMDS): how to prepare your diet?

The Half Marathon des Sables (HMDS) is the event not to be missed for ultra-running enthusiasts. It is originally a shorter (but no less grueling) variation of the legendary concept of the Marathon des Sables (MDS) of 240 km , created in 1986 by the Frenchman Patrick Bauer. An alternative of more or less 120 km all the same! This increasingly coveted event puts a strain on athletes. Taking place in the driest deserts , from Fuerteventura, Peru, to Jordan to Morocco, to complete it, you will have to face the temperatures, the sand, the fatigue and the endurance of such a race . A key element for your race to go as smoothly as possible: nutrition .

HMDS Freeze Dried Food


The concept of HMDS


The Half Marathon des Sables , a race concept out of time ! It offers you four days of adventure in the middle of the desert . The route is divided into three stages, to be completed as quickly as possible. However, be careful not to underestimate its difficulty , the HMDS remains an ultra-trail that must be prepared. Your body will be put to the test and your logistics will have to be on point so as not to get caught up in the desert! If the HMDS takes place semi-autonomously (you will find water supplies, a bivouac tent and doctors at each stage), a significant part of the race is left in your hands, in particular the managing your diet .


On the HMDS, you bring and carry your personal food over the 4 days of the adventure. It's up to you to manage your nutrition so as not to lack energy and optimize your recovery. SO, how to properly prepare your food on the HMDS? This is what we will see in this article.


How to properly prepare your diet?


Going on an ultra event is never trivial, it requires a lot of rigor And preparation . Knowing your body and your diet before the race is part of it. Let's continue with some essential questions to ask yourself for successful preparation.


What are your nutritional needs?


The HMDS is an adventure in food self-sufficiency which takes place over 4 days. Depending on your destination, you will need to plan a total of 10 to 12 meals . It is strongly recommended to leave with a minimum of 2000 kcal/day . Knowing that the average daily needs for a woman are between 1800 and 2300 calories and 2300 to 2700 for men , this is the bare minimum to complete the adventure. With the physical effort, heat and energy that you will have to draw from your resources, you add an expense of approximately 200 to 400 calories per hour , which will need to be filled with a nutritional strategy effective. Favor foods rich in energy like our  (447 kcal) for breakfast or even a MOS Energy Ball for the snack (to be found in the HMDS nutrition pack).


  • What are the weather conditions for the race?


    Managing your food during HMDS is also a question of temperature. To you to balance your desires and your needs according to racing conditions . It is interesting to alternate hot/cold and sweet/salty snacks to successfully eat during the ordeal. THE cereal bars where the gels are good sources of energy, but perhaps you prefer a beef snack or a freeze-dried compote ?


    For the long stage, in the middle of the route, you can choose one or two cold dishes such as freeze-dried tabbouleh faster to prepare. Then when the temperatures rise, don't forget to hydrate yourself well, you can also optimize your hydration with a isotonic drink stick .


    Finally, in the evening when the heat calms down and the legs rest, a hot meal is ideal for comfort and recovery from the day , like a good dish of freeze-dried carbonara pasta !


    How much weight are you able to carry on your shoulders?


    Last question and not least, it will be necessary to take into account the weight you are able to carry every day on your back and at racing pace. For an ultra like the HMDS, you will need to find the ideal compromise between the weight of your bag And food self-sufficiency.

    A lightweight bag will certainly save you time, but could also compromise your race if you don't recover enough. Gaining weight must be a priority, however, without neglecting a good nutritional strategy . In other words, THE freeze-dried meals are your allies on the HMDS!


    THE HMDS nutrition pack was designed and approved by two of our Mx3 dietitians in collaboration with HMDS. It brings together several savory meals, compotes, energy gels, sweet snacks (energy bar and Energy Ball), exercise drinks and recovery drinks to help you optimize your diet for D-day.


    To summarize, the key to HMDS successful, it is a well-managed diet with meals: nutritious , balanced , practice And light to carry. All that remains is to equip yourself with a comfortable backpack, technical clothing and your bivouac equipment to be ready to face the great adventure of the HMDS!


    Edited by: Delphine Danielou

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