Why so many folks get Race Nutrition wrong

I’ve often wondered why so many folks under-consume sodium, carbs, and caffeine, and even fluid, when the literature is so glaringly clear what is performance enhancing for ultra endurance events (>6 hrs).

I just found out why.

The authors of this article won’t even tell folks to do what the research actually says to do and instead reference what “is done” and “personal preference.”

Folks, if we can’t take a position and stand by it, in a position stand then we need to reexamine why we’re doing research.

It’s glaringly clear in the literature that a consumption composition of virtually (or actually) 100% CHO is optimal for fueling ultra-endurance.

And yet they recommend non-negligible protein and fat intakes because that’s what endurance athletes prefer.

They do the same for undercutting well-evidenced sodium recommendations, and spending money on ridiculously expensive salt pills, in the name of palatability and runner preference.

The undercut carb recommendations and base their recommendation on “what is done” and the fact that runners often prefer savory foods thereby restricting the amount of carbohydrate they can intake hourly because of more complex digestion processes.

The problem is… it’s not optimal! And the savory preference thing is solved completely by increasing sodium consumption, but no one comes anywhere near what is optimal for hourly sodium intakes.

Folks, if you care about your performance, palatability is a close second to optimizing beverage composition, not primary!

I’m embarrassed for our field.

Rant over.

Eat and drink more carbs, sodium, and maybe caffeine, plz. (during long training & racing)


When I ran the Grand Canyon (R2R2R), I used nothing but gels for the entire run. Well, I did supplement with salt tabs every hour as well. This combo worked great. My gut does not tolerate protein or fat for long distances, and I’ve proven to do fine on carbs and salt alone.


Awesome. The actual literature, not position stands, is quite clear that your approach is optimal.

Great……however nutrition is highly individual. I run multiple 50K’s annually on no fuel and water only. I’ve run 2 hundred mile races on virtually no calories (half a cheese quesadilla each time at mile 40).

What works for most (statistically) isn’t a mandate to individuals.