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On-course fuel

Don't let it limit you!

By Steve Born

After numerous years in ultra marathon cycling, I've made every mistake in the book (some more than once), so trust me, I speak from experience. Most of the blunders I've committed are reflected in the "10 Biggest Mistakes" article in The Endurance Athlete's GUIDE to SUCCESS, which I'm sure most of you have read. (And if you haven't, why not?!)

However, over the past couple of years I've noticed an ever-increasing trend amongst athletes, and quite frankly, I consider this trend and strategy to be one of the dumbest ones that athletes adopt. The strategy? "Im training for a specific race, and they'll be providing specific fuels and foods on the course. Therefore, in an effort to better adapt to these fuels and foods, I'm going to use them in my training."

My thoughts regarding this are:

  • Really? You're going to let what the race serves at the aid stations dictate what you use in training, not to mention in the race itself?
  • What if the fuels/foods available at the aid stations are total junk, which they oftentimes are? How can you get the full value out of your training for an important race by fueling with junk in the weeks and months prior to it?
  • Are you willing to put what may be a key race in jeopardy by consuming fuels or foods that you know aren't of high quality?

Now, I understand the rationale behind this strategy: the athlete doesn't have to carry fuel during the race, thus possibly making things logistically easier. Still, why are the athletes who adopt this strategy willing to downgrade the quality of their workouts by training with what the race will be providing (which again, may be total garbage), simply so they don't have to carry their own fuel with them? And why are they willing to jeopardize their race by relying on whatever is offered at the aid stations?

In all honesty, it makes no sense to me whatsoever, especially because:

  • You can carry several hours of fuel (such as Perpetuem or Sustained Energy) in concentrated, multi-hour Hammer flasks or water bottles.
  • You can carry plenty of Endurolytes capsules (at least 30) in one of our easy-to-use capsule dispensers.
  • You can carry at least a two-hour supply (or more) of Hammer Gel in the Hammer flask, and you can use a runner's fuel belt to carry several flasks of Hammer Gel, containers of Perpetuem Solids, and Endurolytes capsules.

The bottom line is that you can cover most-to-all of your fueling needs during your workouts and races via superior Hammer Nutrition fuels in a very small amount of space. You DO NOT have to train with or rely upon the fuel/food offerings the race may be providing. And if you do run a bit short on fuel during the race, you can always carry extra Perpetuem or Sustained Energy in a ziplock-type bag, making more at the aid stations. Also, you can carry and consume a Hammer Bar or two during long-duration races. Hammer Bars and Perpetuem Solids are ideal solid food choices, and they're an infinitely better choice than the donuts, cookies, and other junk foods that may be offered at the aid stations.

As the season begins, make it a point to train with the right fuels - Hammer Nutrition fuels - all of the time. Yes, it may be a slight inconvenience to carry all of your fuel with you during your long workouts and races; however, that inconvenience is overwhelmingly trumped by the fact that you KNOW you've got the right fuels "on board" and that you don't have to rely on the fuels and foods that the race may be providing. HN