Find your fuel for the trail |

Find your fuel for the trail

Peter Fain
Running on Dirt

Iand#8217;m a minimalist when it comes to my sports. Iand#8217;m not a fan of gear, or maintaining gear, for that matter. Thatand#8217;s a big reason Iand#8217;m a fan of trail running. But all smart runners have certain tools or gear they never leave the house without. For me they are my water bottle (with an electrolyte mix), a gel pack or two and my watch. Iand#8217;ll save my obsession with my watch for another story.

Now that weand#8217;re having these wonderfully warm days, I canand#8217;t stress enough the need to drink water while on the trail. Better yet, an electrolyte product. My favorite is GU brew and in particular their blueberry pomegranate flavor. However, I recommend you experiment with a variety of products to see what you like best and what doesnand#8217;t upset your stomach. For shorter runs, 60 minutes or less, delicious Truckee water will work.

There are no hard and fast rules for proper consumption, but Iand#8217;m going to give you one anyway. The average water bottle is 20 ounces; plan on finishing a bottle each hour you run. So plan accordingly. On a two-hour run, bring two water bottles. Also, start your run hydrated. If youand#8217;re dehydrated from the beginning you wont have a good time.

Gel products are the other key tool for me. I will preface by saying Iand#8217;m not a fan of the bars. Iand#8217;m not a fan of gel, either, but at least you can get those down quickly. There are two products I bounce between, GU and power-gel. GU has some great flavors and it softens up well in the heat and is easy to swallow (with water). Power-gel is more watery and is a good product in colder temperatures.

The type of workout will determine how many GUs I take. For a race I will eat a GU before the start and then every 35 minutes until the race is over. It keeps my energy level balanced throughout. But for a workout, letand#8217;s say and#8220;The Animal,and#8221; Iand#8217;ll take one GU halfway through and carry one bottle of GU brew.

I have to stress that taking in GU and water while running is something you need to train yourself to do. It isnand#8217;t always easy. No matter the product you choose, these items need to be part of your wardrobe.

If you have further questions about various fueling products or general trail-running questions, feel free to e-mail me at

and#8212; Peter Fain is a trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races from half-marathon to 50-milers and snowshoe runs in the winter.