Proper fueling essential for lengthy runs | SierraSun.com

Proper fueling essential for lengthy runs

Peter FainRunning on Dirt

None of us are immune from the needs of fuel while running. Whether it be water, an electrolyte drink, salt-covered potatoes andamp;#8212; you name it, youandamp;#8217;ll need it to run trails for extended periods of time. There is a long learning curve with figuring out what works best for you. The reason I say that is because just when you think youandamp;#8217;ve got it figured out, your stomach will tell you otherwise. Just ask Geoff Roes, last yearandamp;#8217;s winner and current course record-holder of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. His stomach did not agree with him in his attempt to repeat the performance this past weekend, and he dropped out at mile 55.Itandamp;#8217;s not really something you can run through. Getting your fuel figured out is hard. My thoughts are going to give you some guidance on everything from the 5 kilometers to 100 miles.Food, be it in the form of some gooey mess or a gummy bear or a PBandamp;J, is essential for constant forward motion. For me, Iandamp;#8217;m a fan of GU products and First Endurance products. Both forms of gel go down easily and are not too sweet. First Endurance has the least amount of sugar, but GU has the most delicious flavors. Blueberry pomegranate, anyone? Then there are the gummy products. These are good for those of you who canandamp;#8217;t handle the gel stuff. These are like a soft Jujube that you get when you go to the movies. Youandamp;#8217;ll spend plenty of time trying to get the residuals out of your teeth. And then there is solid food. For those of you taking on longer distances, say 50 miles or more, I think it is really important to get something solid in your belly. Sometimes itandamp;#8217;s hard to eat, but you better do it. Otherwise you wonandamp;#8217;t finish. There are a few rock-star runners who live on gel products alone, but I donandamp;#8217;t recommend it.Liquid is the key to survival. But believe me, you can drink too much. First rule, your body has a hard time processing anything more than 24 to 28 ounces in one hour, so my rule of thumb is to drink one 20-ounce bottle per hour plus a Dixie cup at each aid station. If youandamp;#8217;re running a short distance youandamp;#8217;ll be fine with plain water, but for longer distances I suggest an electrolyte mix like GU Brew or EFS by First Endurance. Again, EFS will be less sweet. For longer races, mix it up with water and an electrolyte mix of sort. One last thing I want to touch on is salt. Long, hot runs deplete salt from your system. Youandamp;#8217;ll need to replace it to keep from cramping up. The easiest way to supplement this need is in a pill form. There are many brands that also includes electrolytes. I like S! Caps. So, there is so much information that Iandamp;#8217;m leaving out in this column, but there is a lot to be had out there. This monthandamp;#8217;s Trail Runner Magazine has a great article on fluid intake. Check it out. Most importantly, donandamp;#8217;t neglect to feed your system. You wonandamp;#8217;t get far on an empty tank of gas. andamp;#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at runondirt@gmail.com.