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12-hr Adventure Race fueling

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12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Sun May 16, 2010 8:12 pm

I am getting ready for a 12-hr adventure race and am using Hammer exclusively. Here is what I am training with so far, but could use some help. I am 150lbs and bike or run 5-6 days/week.

I typically mix a 2-hr bottle of Sustained Energy and Heed by combining 3 scoops SE and 2 scoops Heed. I try to drink half the bottle/hr and consume about 2-3 Endurolytes caps every hr as well. I am fine consuming this on the bike and paddle section (adventure races usually have a mt bike, trail run, and canoe sections). However, I switch to a pure Heed bottle on the run as my mixture described above seems to upset my stomach while running.

This plan works well until about hour 6 or 7, after which I typically start fighting nausea. Once this happens, I find it difficult to consume anything and thus begin to spiral downward. It seems that I need to try and add some type of solid food to the mix as periodically to keep the nausea at bay, for once I get some solid food in me then the nausea often goes away. Of course, I have also stopped exercising at this point and so the nausea could be going away due to that as well.

So, should I be consuming solids as well? If so, what are some easily chewable suggestions. I tried the hammer bar some time ago and seem to recall it being fairly hard to chew, but I could be wrong. Also, can I just add the endurolytes to the bottle mixtures I have and does it alter the flavor any? Any feedback would be most welcome. Thanks.
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby steve-born » Tue May 18, 2010 9:31 am

Hello knjwes (please post your first name so that we'll know who you are!) -

Let's take a look at your fueling and see if anything jumps out...

1) 3 scoops of SE @ 107 calories per scoop = 321 calories
2) 2 scoops of HEED @ 105 calories per scoop = 210 calories

TOTAL = 531 calories, equal to 265.5 calories/hour

At 150 lbs I believe you can consume less calories without any loss of energy whatever, and you will most likely minimize-to-eliminate the stomach issues you've been having. Adventure racing, like triathlon, is a "digestively challenging" type of sport because you're doing a variety of disciplines, which may compromise how easily food/fuel is digested (especially when doing a more-impactive type of exercise like running). AS a result, I think that your hourly calorie intake is a bit on the high side.

I'd like to have you lower your intake so that it's a bit close to 210-220 calories per hour. Remember, you can always add calories to your intake if you feel it's necessary, but once you've consumed too many calories that's a much more difficult problem to resolve (and it takes a lot more time to do so as well).

As an example, if you were to use 3 scoops of Sustained Energy (321 calories) + 1 scoop of HEED (105 calories), that would give you a total of 426 calories, or 213 an hour. Another possibility would be to use 2 scoops of Sustained Energy (214 calories) + 2 scoops of HEED (210 calories). That will give you a total of 428 calories, or 214 an hour. I think either of those possibilities would work really well for you (I especially like the first option) and minimize-to-eliminate the stomach problems that you've had to deal with.

As far as solid foods are concerned, for most races I typically view them as a luxury, not a necessity, meaning it's not crucial that one consume solid food during prolonged bouts of exercise. However, in a 12-hour race it sure would be nice to have some solid food to consume on occasion, if only for a break from hourly feedings via liquid fuels. One of the nice features about the Hammer Bar is that it is soft and very chewable, even when the weather is very cold outside. The "bar that would become the Hammer Bar" was my solid fuel of choice when I did the Double Furnace Creek 508 record several years ago, and I found it to be an ideal, and very healthy, solid food choice. I definitely remember that even when I was extremely tired, these bars were easy to chew and easy to digest... I had no problem whatsoever using them on occasion as a break from my liquid fuel intake.

So yes, if you feel the need to consume solid food, the Hammer Bar would be a good choice. In general, when it comes to solid food consumption, I have two basic recommendations:

1) Make wise choices, knowing that what you put in your body is going to determine the quality of energy that you get out of it. (Hint: Take a pass on the sugar-loaded, saturated fat-filled junk foods). The saying "Garbage In, Garbage Out" definitely applies to food/fuel consumption during exercise.

2) Use solid food sparingly, almost as a reward of sorts. When athletes rely too heavily on solid food (and I know this from past experiences) they end up feeling lethargic, almost to the point of feeling sleepy. The reason is that it takes more time, fluids, electrolytes, and bodily energy to process solid food - no matter how high in quality it may be - and especially so compared to liquid fuels.

Lastly, yes, you can use Endurolytes Powder or empty the contents of Endurolytes capsules into your fuel bottles. It will alter the taste a bit (usually a more salty taste, though you might find some of the minerals to have a slightly bitter taste), but for most athletes that's not really an issue, especially when compared to the "convenience factor." I would definitely recommend that you carry some Endurolytes capsules with you, just in case what you've premixed in your fuel bottles is proving to be inadequate. In the ultra cycling world we have a saying, "Better to be looking at it than looking for it," which, when it comes to carrying extra Endurolytes means, "You know, I may never need to tap into my reserve stash, but I'm going to feel a whole lot better knowing I've got them with me, just in case, instead of having left them at home or in my hotel room."

I think that's everything but if I'm forgetting something or if you have any additional questions please post them.

I hope you will find this information useful!

Sincerely -

Steve
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Tue May 18, 2010 1:36 pm

I appreciate your feedback. What are some indicators that I should look for in taking more than 2-3 endurolytes/hr? II can remember the last time I had cramping issues. Would nausea be a potential indicator?
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby steve-born » Tue May 18, 2010 2:22 pm

Nausea may very well be a symptom of inadequate electrolyte replenishment, but in my opinion it's not on the top of the list. The signs your body gives you that it needs additional electrolyte support are very subtle, unlike when you're starting to get dehydrated or starting to bonk (those signs are VERY clear and obvious).

Without discounting nausea as a possibility, the usual suspects for cramping are:

1) Feeling a twinge of a cramp coming on. This could be due to over-hydration or insufficient electrolyte replenishment.

2) Your pedal cadence and/or running gait is not smooth and efficient.

3) You experience emotions of anger, lethargy, and despair. This is because electrolytes play a role in the optimal functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands. Insufficient replenishment of electrolytes oftentimes is manifested in feeling the aforementioned emotions.

I think your current dose of 2-3 an hour is spot on. Just know that if you feel a twinge of a cramp coming on or if you feel that you're not running, riding, paddling, etc with efficiency and smoothness, that's the time to take another dose of 3-or-more capsules right away, and going to a higher dose of 4-5 capsules an hour, perhaps even 6 an hour if the weather is hot, from that point on.
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Tue May 18, 2010 3:59 pm

One last quick item for clarification and I will hopefully quick bugging you. In reviewing my hydration plan, I will be carrying a 3 ltr hydration pack. If I were to fill a two hour bottle (24 oz capacity) with 2 scoops SE and 2 scoops Heed, it appears that I would be taking in approx 19 oz of fluid every two hours or 9.5/hr. Since you hydration article articulates a need for about 500 ml/hr (17 oz) it appears that only half my hydration would need to come from my water as half will be from the mix. So my pack/bottle combination could sustain me for 12 hrs, assuming I got all the water to mix my bottles from an external source. Does this sound accurate? It just seems like very little. For the sake of discussion, the temperature shouldn't get above 70 degrees during the race and should be overcast.

- Kirk (remembered to include my name)
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby steve-born » Tue May 18, 2010 4:57 pm

Kirk -

I haven't done precise calculations but I'd say you were right on the money in regards to the amount of actual fluid (about 19 ounces) remaining in your SE/HEED mixture. And you're also correct in that this fluid counts towards your hourly fluid intake (as you mentioned, your fuel bottle will have about 10 ounces of actual fluid in it).

Our recommendations for hydration are 16-28 ounces of fluid per hour. That may seem like a fairly wide range until you compare it to the old standard, which I believe was set by the ACSM, and suggested an hourly fluid intake of anywhere from 20 - 40.5 ounces (to me, that's like the weatherman saying the high temperature is going to be anywhere from 70 - 90 degrees... it's just such a wide range).

We have found that most athletes under most conditions most of the time cover hydration needs ideally with an hourly fluid intake of 20 - 25 ounces, or roughly the equivalent of the capacity of the standard-size small or large water bottle. Now, larger athletes and/or athletes competing in very hot weather may need a few more ounces on an hourly basis than 25 ounces (hence, the up-to-28 ounces/hour suggestion), and lighter weight athletes usually don't require 20 ounces per hour (hence, the 16-ounces-per-hour suggestion).

So if you were to take in roughly 22 ounces an hour (just using that figure as an example), about 10 will come from your fuel mixture and the other 12 will come from the water in your hydration back. At the rate of 12 ounces of water per hour, your 3 liter pack should provide enough water to cover you for about 8.5 hours.

You will, as you've noted, have to find water from an external source to make up additional multi-hour bottles of fuel.

I hope this clarifies things!

Sincerely -

Steve
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Mon May 24, 2010 3:57 pm

Just wanted to give an update on the event I had requested help with. The event was as follows: a two hour run/bushwack orienteering leg, followed by a 1 1/2 hour road run, then a five hour mt bike/treking section.
I started the day with a hammer bar two 1/2 hours prior to the race start and then down 1 hammer gel just before the beginning. I had also drank about 20 oz of water from the time of the bar to the start. I then took in a scoop of heed in a 20 oz bottle, along with about 5 oz of water, two endurolytes and two anti-fatigue caps.
The 2nd and 3rd hours consisted of a 24 oz bottle containing 3 scoops of SE and 1 scoop of Heed. I also drank about 20 oz of additional water during that 2 hours. I began the bike at the end of this bottle, and was feeling great. Shortly after starting the bike, I began to notice my heart rate was having difficulty coming down. After about two hours on the bike I began to get a headache, felt light-headed and nausueous (but it definitely wasn't from my fuel, as my appetite for my mixture remained). I then began vomiting with slowed speech and had to DNF and take a SAG vehicle back to HQ at hour 7.5. As the team leader this was crazy embarrasing, but felt that it wasn't better than being stupid. After drinking only about 24 oz of fluid and taking a cold shower I felt DRAMATICALLY better. Like I could go for another few hours.
I think I was experiencing heat exhaustion, as this was different than the over-caloric intake issues I described in earlier posts. Sat was the hottest day of the year so far and temps got to about 89 degrees with humidity about 60%. There was little to no breeze. For the last 6 mos I have been training in temps below 60 degrees as I am a very early morning workout person and it has been very cool temps this year. After being taken
So, two questions: 1) does my conclusion sound accurate or is there some other possibility? 2) Other than training in the heat to acclimatize my body, are there any other suggestions to help me through the heat?

-Kirk
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Steve,
If you get a chance, could you look over the question at the end of the last post? Thanks.

-Kirk
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby steve-born » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:46 pm

Kirk -

I agree with your conclusion that the problems you experienced were due to the weather and not being acclimated to those conditions... to me it seems pretty clear that that's the most likely culprit). It is a shame that we've had to discontinue Liquid Endurance (we explain why in the article "Liquid Endurance No Longer Available at http://www.hammernutrition.com/EN/EN67/ ... 67.html#le) because that would have been an absolutely perfect product for you to use prior to this race.

Acclimatizing your body to hot/humid-weather conditions is obviously the best thing you can do and there's really nothing that comes close to that in terms of preparing you for racing in such conditions. I would suggest that you drink about 16 ounces of cold water every hour prior to the start (perhaps a few more ounces would be appropriate), and that you take a dose of Endurolytes every hour prior to the start.

Once the race starts, you simply have to respect the heat, and especially so if you're not acclimated to it. That usually means starting at a much slower-than-I-normally-would pace. It's no fun to have to put the limiters on yourself but I think you'd agree that it's far better to ease yourself into the race rather than going out as though it's "business as usual." Starting conservatively, even ultra-conservatively, increases your chances of finishing (a.k.a. surviving) the race. I'd much rather do that, even sacrificing a personal best or whatever, than get sick or have to DNF.

I've seen this at many races I've attended that were contested in hot-weather conditions. On one occasion in particular that I remember (a 24-hour MTB race), the weather for weeks leading up to the race was in the upper 50's to low 60's. Then, out of the blue, it's 80-85 degrees (or warmer) on race day. What's up with that? Anyway, I watched as many an athlete, even some pros, went out like it was still 58-62 degrees. After a couple of laps it was obvious that there was a whole lot of suffering going on... people were tanking after just a couple hours.

The smart ones, the ones who knew that the race isn't over until you get to the finish line, paced themselves accordingly, giving deference to the weather. Sure, they weren't in the front of the pack for quite awhile, but they eventually made their way up there. The others, the ones who went out too hard? Most of them ended up dropping out.

The other thing you need to do in hot-weather races is increase both your fluid and your Endurolytes intake to match the weather. For the most part we suggest a fluid intake of 20-25 ounces/hour. In hot weather, however, you may need to increase that to 28 ounces an hour, perhaps even 30 ounces an hour. The main thing to remember if/when you do that is that you must increase your Endurolytes as well to match your increased fluid intake. If you don't there's a good chance that dilutional hyponatremia will occur... and that's a place you never want to visit.

Anyway, I don't know if I've been able to provide many solutions or options, but I hope you will find the information and advice helpful.

Sincerely -

Steve
************************
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Re: 12-hr Adventure Race fueling

Postby knjwes » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:29 am

Steve,
Thanks for the reply. Quick question for clarification as I haven't seen it in your literature: from your reply you seem to indicate that there is a dosage need of endurolytes based on water intake. What would be a general guide to use for an increase in hydration needs. Currently, on mild weather days I take two endurolytes/hr with about 20 oz water. I have found that 20 oz seems to leave me a little dehydrated (as indicated by urine coloration or lack of urination as well as other factors) and I plan to increase that consumption to about 24-26 oz.
If it were hot weather than I would likely need to increase my water consumption to about 30 oz/hr, but how would that affect my dosage needs for endurolytes? Also, if HEEd is in the mix somewhere, does it decrease my Endurolyte need?
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