50k Preparation…how do you know?

P Carter

WKR
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Messages
593
Location
Idaho
As far as length of run before eating: you will just have to figure it out with experience. A lot done people bring too much food/water, which is fine. (Similar to “packing your fears” backpacking.) I think I wore a camelback my first trail half marathon, which is embarrassing.

But if it gets you out there, do it!

You will feel when you start to bonk. That’s the length of run you need to eat/drink. For me, I’ve gone up to 18 miles without food and water, but that didn’t leave any room for contingencies.

Starting out, I’d say bring some food and water for over 10 miles or over 1.5 hours. Doesn’t have to be much. I’d say, once you’ve done a handful of long training runs, you’ll get to the point where bringing food and water is inconvenient and not necessary for runs under 2 hrs.
 

Marbles

WKR
Classified Approved
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
3,993
Location
AK
Obviously there are some variables depending on one’s level of fitness but 180 - your age = max aerobic HR
Just to nerd out a little on the variables with HR formulas. They are probably good enough for most people, for some (myself included) they set HR zones too low. For others, they will set them too high. The best way to set zones is based on true max HR as tested and threshold tests.

For example, the Fox equation puts my HRmax at 185 (220-35) and the Tanaka equation puts it at 183 (208-35x0.7). I have hit above 190 on a treadmill with ECG monitoring, and hit 200 based on a chest strap.

The flip side, I have a friend (same age) who is faster than me, but he is pushing HRmax at 160.

The breathing method described by @Tock-O is great. For me, however, it can leave me pushing into zone 4 for the first hour. Allways setting a pace where one can exclusively nose breath will avoid extremely high rates, but, this too leaves me higher than I want to target on most runs.
 
Last edited:

Johnny Tyndall

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Nov 17, 2021
Messages
201
Location
MT
At what length of a training/race do you consider eating during the run?
This'll be pretty personal, you need to figure out what works for you. Lots of information out there on hydration/nutrition for this kind of thing, I think Hammer Nutrition has some good info and I like their products. As one data point, I don't take water for anything under 60-90 minutes and don't take food for anything under about a half-marathon. After that it's powder mixed into my water.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CMF
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
329
Location
Idaho
At what length of a training/race do you consider eating during the run?

For guys training or running by their heart rate, can you explain a little more or give examples, and also how it may differ in training vs a race?

Generally speaking, you don't need to start considering fuel until runs/rucks/etc. reach greater than 60-90-minutes.

One they reach that point, you'd want to target about 200-300kcal of carbs per 60-120-minutes. There's a huge difference between the two sets of numbers there, I know. Where you sit will largely depend on (1) what your gut can handle (2) your pace and (3) total time planned to be on the trail.

In short, the faster your personal pace is (i.e. the harder you're having to work), the more frequent. you're going to need to fuel. The "slower" the pace, the less often.

Personal pace is underlined because what may be extremely easy for your buddy (pace wise) could be extremely taxing for you. You, therefore, would need fuel more often than he would. This reiterates the importance of training. The more 'trained' you become, the better the fuel economy, the more you can stretch and make use of what you have on board.

I put slower in quotes because slow is not a negative thing when it comes to endurance training. It's provides a much better fuel economy (i.e. fuel lasts longer) + you're much more fluid in your movements, which leads to....you guessed it- a faster pace over time.

If training starts to stretch 3-5-hours, plus, you should start consider something more substantial with protein. Anything less than that, a low-protein, low-carb, low-fat option will serve you best as it's metabolized easier by the gut as all blood is dispatched to the legs (vs the gut for digestion). You could use electrolyte/carb powders (Tailwind, Gatorade, etc.), gels, etc. If opting for the latter, you'll want to have a decent amount of water on board to reduce the carb-load in the gut.

There's alot of talk about Zone 2 being 'fat burning', but it should be noted that's not necessarily dietary fat use of fuel. The name of the game with carb intake during the run (even at lower HRZ) is preservation of the fuel store in the muscle (glycogen) and to stretch it out as long as you can/keep it topped off.

We just recorded a 2-part series with the good folks at Uphill Athlete that will release 3 May and 17 May if you're interested in learning more.
 
Last edited:

P Carter

WKR
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Messages
593
Location
Idaho
We just recorded a 2-part series with the good folks at Uphill Athlete that will release 3 May and 17 May if you're interested in learning more.
Could you post the links to these when they release? Would love to listen, can't rely on myself to remember and get the right link!
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
329
Location
Idaho
Could you post the links to these when they release? Would love to listen, can't rely on myself to remember and get the right link!

I can appreciate that!

I’m more than happy to post them as they release if the admins are ok with it 👍
 

mikeafeagin22

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Feb 17, 2023
Messages
179
I’m 6’2” and float in the 195-200lb range so I’m by no means overly muscular but I don’t have the typical long distance runner build.. I’ve learned the hard way that I live or die on runs by what I’ve had to eat before I go out. I don’t know if that means I’m doing something wrong with my overall diet (I’m sure this is the case) or what, but if I don’t carb load before a long run then I bonk terribly most of the time.

Case in point.. yesterday I went on a 10 mile run and felt great the whole time. Stayed at my normal pace I like to keep for the entire run and was in that zone where I felt like I could go forever if I had the time. I ate a very carb heavy lunch about an hour before I ran. Today I had some bacon, sausage, and eggs for breakfast then ran about an hour later.. by mile 4 of 14 I was bonked so hard I thought I was going to meet Jesus the next hour and a half. To the point that I was half an hour off my average half marathon time.

The 80% humidity and heat index over 90 today didn’t help anything but it’s the fuel for me always.
 

Marbles

WKR
Classified Approved
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
3,993
Location
AK
I’m 6’2” and float in the 195-200lb range so I’m by no means overly muscular but I don’t have the typical long distance runner build.. I’ve learned the hard way that I live or die on runs by what I’ve had to eat before I go out. I don’t know if that means I’m doing something wrong with my overall diet (I’m sure this is the case) or what, but if I don’t carb load before a long run then I bonk terribly most of the time.

Case in point.. yesterday I went on a 10 mile run and felt great the whole time. Stayed at my normal pace I like to keep for the entire run and was in that zone where I felt like I could go forever if I had the time. I ate a very carb heavy lunch about an hour before I ran. Today I had some bacon, sausage, and eggs for breakfast then ran about an hour later.. by mile 4 of 14 I was bonked so hard I thought I was going to meet Jesus the next hour and a half. To the point that I was half an hour off my average half marathon time.

The 80% humidity and heat index over 90 today didn’t help anything but it’s the fuel for me always.
You may be running too fast. Try slowing your pace so you don't burn all your glucose.

If you snack a lot, your body might not be good at accessing fat stores for energy, making you dependent on glycogen stores.
 
Last edited:

mikeafeagin22

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Feb 17, 2023
Messages
179
You may be running too fast. Try slowing your pace so you don't burn all your glucose.

If you snack a lot, your bosy might not be good at accessing fat stores for energy, making you dependent on glycogen stores.
You might be on to something with the snacking.. I hadn’t thought about that. I’ve got a very active job so I eat quite a bit throughout the day or I feel like I’m starving by 3 in the afternoon. I pack a mid morning snack (usually like a pack of tuna, some peanut butter crackers, and an apple or something), a lunch, then an afternoon snack that’s similar to the morning one.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
2,281
You might be on to something with the snacking.. I hadn’t thought about that. I’ve got a very active job so I eat quite a bit throughout the day or I feel like I’m starving by 3 in the afternoon. I pack a mid morning snack (usually like a pack of tuna, some peanut butter crackers, and an apple or something), a lunch, then an afternoon snack that’s similar to the morning one.

This may not be healthy, but when I was running a whole lot, I would eat almost no carbs most of the week and I'd have 1 cheat day a week or every other week which was supposed to be me enjoying all the other food, but it inevitably just turned into binge eating all the carb junk food like ice cream on that day.

Regardless of the positive or negative health affects, I could run for 30 miles without food and water at that point in my life.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
622
Location
WI
I just got to volunteer and help at an aid station for a 50 mile run this past weekend. Anyone thinking about trying an uptra should volunteer. It was a great experience. Almost like a scouting/gear check seeing whats working for people and whats not. Its also a good mental toughness reminder. I sww a ton of people
Id bet my house on that they couldnt run a couple miles grinding and finishing the 50 mile. I was at the mile 37 and 43 station and you got to see in that 6 miles the people went to hell and back but just kept going. Makes you realize you can do incredible shit if you commit to not giving up. I highly recomend volunteering, its a great community to see.
 

mikeafeagin22

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Feb 17, 2023
Messages
179
This may not be healthy, but when I was running a whole lot, I would eat almost no carbs most of the week and I'd have 1 cheat day a week or every other week which was supposed to be me enjoying all the other food, but it inevitably just turned into binge eating all the carb junk food like ice cream on that day.

Regardless of the positive or negative health affects, I could run for 30 miles without food and water at that point in my life.
30 miles with no water is absolutely crazy.. you are a camel!
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
357
When I began running ultras I didnt train well. I just did it. It hurt. It sucked. I loved it. I ran when I felt like running. I recovered by cycling and eventually realized my cardio was better when cycling. YMMV.
You will not know when you are ready. If you can finish a marathon you should be fine. Walking is ok and quite powerful for being able to finish.
I ate pizza and drank coke during races. It was far better than typical gels and power bars.
 

P Carter

WKR
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Messages
593
Location
Idaho
^ One of my favorite memories: grabbing a double fist full of Swedish fish and marching up through the Pioneers here in Idaho. Brought me back from the grave. Slurping coke from a paper bowl like a dog from one of the backcountry aid stations that had forgotten cups, same thing.

I did one 8 hour run on just gels…only did that once! Plain ol granola bars and stroopwafels for me in training, whatever sounds good during a “race.” No need to get fancy!
 
Top