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  • Fueling Tips from Ultramarathoner: Scott Conklin

    About Scott

    Scott joined the Run Away Shoes sales staff in July of 2022. Since starting to run in 2009 with the Bellin 10K, he has completed over 150 races including the Boston Marathon. He now prefers trails and has run over 35 ultra marathons including twenty-plus 50Ks, seven at 50 miles, and four 100 mile races. You can regularly find him out on the trails at Baird Creek in Green Bay.

    Scott's Favorite Trails

    Where Do You Start With Fueling?

    This is the time of year that many runners have started their training for a spring half marathon or full marathon. If it is your first one, you may be starting to wonder about fueling for your race and during training. Do you really need anything extra? When do you start needing to get more calories in to keep going? What should do use?

    Do you really need gels or any other fuel? It really depends on the person. Would you do better with a little something extra? Absolutely! Any time you are going for much more than an hour, you should consider replenishing the calories you are burning off. As your body burns through its glycogen reserves, your performance will start to drop off. You still have plenty of energy reserves but your body cannot process them as quickly as you need them. Keep in mind though that you will not be able to match calorie for calorie with what you are burning through. If you try, it will lead to bloating, sloshing, and GI distress.

    Three Parts to Training and Fueling

    There are three parts to training and fueling. One is the obvious, keeping up your energy levels for the amount of physical activity you are doing. If you have been eating a good diet, your body has a reserve of glycogen to sustain your activity for a while. But at some point, those reserves run out. When you are running long miles, you need to replenish calories as you burn them. If you don’t, that’s when you hit the proverbial “wall”. Once you crash or bonk, it is hard to get going again. It takes a while for your body to process that fuel to get your energy levels back. Don’t let yourself get to that point. Take in calories before you get hungry. When you are out for much more than an hour, you should start to fuel as you go. As you train, you will begin to learn how much you need and how often. Start with gels and plan to take one with water every 45 minutes. Your body needs the water in order to process most gels. Adjust from there if you find you need more or less. Your race will most likely have some kind of gel on the course for you so it is good to train with them.


    The second part is training your stomach and GI track to tolerate eating and/or drinking while you run. You aren’t just training your legs and your lungs. Your stomach is working too. It needs to get used processing new calories as you go.


    The third can be the trickiest, finding what works for you and what you like. Experiment! Try everything a couple times and see what works best for you. All the gels and sports drinks and other fuels are a little different. They have different textures, different flavors, and different ingredients. Everybody is a little different. Some people can handle anything they put in their stomach while others are very sensitive. Other people are very particular on flavor or texture. One person might be OK with a variety while another has their one source and they stick with it. No one can give you a definitive on what will work best for you. That is why we train.


    If you have questions about fueling, stop by and talk with any of our staff. We are all runners and can give you personal tips. You can also read more beginner nutrition tips from Triathlete Rhea Kratzer on her blog post.

    Shop Nutrition at Run Away Shoes



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