My fueling strategy for the Tamalpa 50K

I’ve got my Nuun tablets, Gu’s, Bonk Bars and Endurolyte capsules spread out in front of me and I’m putting together my fueling plans for my first 50K this weekend. I like to have a plan ahead of time because it can be too much to try to figure out what you need to do while you’re running.  And when I wing it I tend to under-fuel.

Overall Strategy

My overall strategy is to:

  • consume 250 calories / hour
  • replenish my electrolytes often enough
  • drink 22 ounces water / hour

GU GELS STRATEGY

One Gu gel gives me 100 calories and a boost of caffeine.  My Gu gelling strategy is very simple:

  • one Gu 45 minutes prior to the start
  • one Gu 15 minutes prior to the start
  • one Gu every 45 minutes after the race starts

This translates into a Gu at each of these time intervals: 0:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45, 4:30, 5:15, 6:00, 6:45, 7:30 (hopefully I’m done by this point!)

Aid Station Strategy

Aid stations can be overwhelming with all the options.  Pretzels, M&M’s, Gu gels, PBJs and lots more.  I like to know ahead of time what I’m going to look for so I’m in and out pretty quick.  So at each aid station I plan to:

  • refill my 22 oz water bottle.  It should be close to empty if I’m drinking enough.
  • grab a couple of Gu gels to replenish my onboard supply
  • slam a Dixie cup size worth of electrolyte drink.  Usually this is something like Gu Brew, Ultima or Gatorade.

Protein Strategy – 2+ hours into the race

Once you start reaching beyond 2 hours into the race, it’s essential to give the body some protein to help fuel it, or else it starts taking it from your muscles which can lead to bonking and serious fatigue.  I like the Bonk Bar brand of bars.  They are 25o calories and taste great.

So starting at the 2 hour mark, and at each full hour mark after that, I plan to:

  • eat half of a Bonk Bar (125 calories)

With the Gu schedule above, this will give me 250 calories an hour which is what I’m shooting for.

ELECTROLYTES (ENDUROLYTES)

I first learned how valuable electrolytes are when I somewhat accidentally drank a sports drink at an aid station during the Double Dipsea.  My body felt refreshed after that and I realized that I was not taking nearly enough electrolytes.  I would prefer taking a Nuun drink but that would mean carrying a second bottle, which I really don’t want to do.

Instead I’ll be taking Hammer Endurloytes capsules.  So starting at the first full hour, and every full hour after that I’ll take:

  • two Endurolytes capsules every hour at the top of the hour

RECAP

If that seems like a lot of stuff to remember, it kind of is.  But after having done this for a few months, it’s not quite second nature to me yet but it’s getting there. I can definitely say I felt a huge difference in my energy levels when I made it a point to consume 250 calories an hour and began eating Bonk Bars during my long runs.

Less than 48 hours till race day.  Time to hydrate!

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My fueling strategy for the Tamalpa 50K

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