Fuelling For An Ultra

Hi Runners!

I’ve had this blog going for nearly a year now and the response from everyone has been great. But like all good things, there must be a change to keep it fresh and exciting. So what am I changing? I’m now going to leave the ideas up to you, the reader. If you have been following Brewsters Running on facebook, you may have seen a post by me asking for questions based around nutrition, dieting, performance and fuelling which resulted in a few great ideas which I will follow up over the next couple of weeks. So here is the first installment on the new nutrition blog, just for you, the reader!

Long time follower of ours Brett Stickland has asked – How do you fuel for a 56k race?

With the Two Bays 56k run coming up in a month’s time and knowing Brett is local to the area, I have a feeling Brett is trying to get some tips for the Two Bays 56k. Shaun and I did the 56k last year which is an awesome event, one of our favourites. Although after moving house in the last couple of months and not having time to do the big K’s, I will be entering in the 28k instead while Shaun will be on holidays with his family in Byron Bay!

Your morning pre race food is just as important as what you do during the race which I covered here a few weeks back. Fuelling for the 28k should be quite simple as there won’t be a lot of time out there on the trail, but a bit of fuel at the halfway mark should see you through the distance in good form. Although this depends greatly upon the speed you will be running at. The faster guys will fuel somewhere like 2/3 in and the slower ones 1/3 and 2/3 in.

As for the 56k runners, they should aim for the first fuelling 90 minutes in (at the latest) and every hour after that depending on what they use. Gels tend to be needed a bit more frequently as they give you a big, but un-sustained hit, while solid foods are required less frequently as they hit the blood sugar slower giving more of a long term energy boost.

My recommendations are first to use what you are used to and what you have trained with, but what I have been using lately is Amazeballs. A food from a local company called the Runners Kitchen. They are small and easily carried in any event, easily chewed (many solid foods take too long to chew) and are mostly slow released carbohydrates, which are perfect for the long distances. Each ball contains 10-11 grams of carbohydrate depending on the flavour (3 to choose from) and are made from real food. When you have something slow to release the energy, or sugar, the energy levels tend to be far more consistent lessening the chance of “hitting the wall”.

Tara from the Runners Kitchen recommends that we have 2-3 Amazeballs an hour in conjunction with your favourite sports drink or energy gel. Using a combination of fuels is generally recommended as the high glycemic sugars combine with the low glycemic sugars to make a more potent, or usable, combination compared to either of them as a single source. In effect, you are getting the best of both worlds, a good kick after you take the gel and the sustained energy after the Amazeballs.

What I also recommend you try out is some amino acids. There are three types to choose from, branched chain (3 aminos), essential (8-10 aminos) and full spectrum (up to 22) but all are beneficial to the runner. Take them at least half hour before the start of the race and every 2 hours after that. Cyclist studied while riding at a given intensity had a lower heart rate and lower perceived energy output compared to when they had not taken the aminos. They also help prevent the body scavenging your protein supplies in your muscles when your glycogen levels get low. The longer the race, the more essential these things become.

Just make sure you do trial this out in a good run a few weeks out from the race (even though it is getting close to Two Bays) as everyone is different. I would hate to think that anyone would take my advice and have it ruin their race because they failed to test it out on the trail before hand.

So to all the runners doing the Two Bays, have a great day and say hi if you see me out there!

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll


Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Bec
    4 years ago

    Hi Chris

    What form do the amino acids come in? How do I take them during a run?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Chris O'Driscoll
    4 years ago

    Hi Bec, the amino acids quite often come in a powder form, but some come as capsules which make it far easier to carry and consume during a run.
    Thanks for the question

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