The Dirt: Nutrition on the Trail

One of the most highly debated and seemingly controversial topics in endurance sports is nutrition. Arguably entirely personal and specialized based on the strength of the runner's gut and the situation they find themselves in, we have found a few consistent tips and tricks we religiously and regularly take with us. 

Eat early and often: Throughout a long race or outing, your stomach gets more and more sensitive as your body becomes fatigued. Unless you’re one of those freaks that can delete a california burrito at mile 80, there’s no way around it. But, by eating early on in your day, and continuously putting food down, you can mitigate that so-called bonk. Your body has what it needs, and you’ll gradually become used to the incessant eating.

Electrolytes: We all know that we need them, but what are they? Electrolytes are the essential minerals that your body needs to stay hydrated and performing. Without them, your body is unable to maintain its optimal temperature, your muscles can cramp, and your brain will fog (just to name a few of the side effects). When you work and sweat, your body is using and dumping these vital nutrients. It’s our job to replace them. So how much do we need? Experts recommend 700-900 mg electrolytes per liter of fluid, which you should be consuming every hour(ish). There are a few companies we love that neatly package that up for you in a powder that you can throw in your bottle. Scratch, Tailwind and Nuun are a few of our favorites. 

Carbs!: The holy grail. The reason a lot of us run. We love carbs. Try to keep the calories coming especially on a longer race or effort. Never stop snacking. Having a mix of sweet and salty options will save you when that stomach starts to turn. Even if you're not hungry, shooting for 50-90 grams of carbs (or roughly 150-300 calories) per hour is a good target. When you’re going harder (race or race effort) getting carbs in is key to keep the engine fueled...gels and liquid calories are great for harder efforts as they are more easily digested. Aim to get at least 50 grams of carbs an hr - more is always good.

There are countless takes, opinions, and hard science that go into figuring out your running nutrition. We try to keep it simple - if it’s working, keep on doing it. If that instant ramen or jar of pickles is sliding down easily, mind as well keep it going. Don’t quote us on any of this (we could fully be wrong), but these are our tried and true techniques for fueling the long miles.