How to fuel for a 50K

Use my story to help you prepare for your next big trail race!


My first 50K was fueled by quesadillas.


Kidding! Quesadillas were only one part of my nutrition plan. But honestly, before my race, if you had told me my favorite aid station snack would be quesadillas, I would’ve never believed you!


Alrighty, enough about the quesadillas. The truth is, my 50K fuel plan included a bunch of different items. Here’s a breakdown of my fuel from the 2021 Bryce Canyon 50K:


Your typical run fuel...

Tailwind Endurance Fuel, Clif Bloks and Honeystinger waffles. I drank a ton of Tailwind throughout the race. At every aid station, I refilled my hydration pack and mixed up more Tailwind. It’s hard to estimate the number of liters I consumed, but I made sure to fill up my 2L hydration pack at every opportunity (around every 5 miles or so). Between aid stations, I ate one pack of lemon lime Clif Bloks. Over the course of the race, I ate about 4 Honeystinger waffles.


Refreshing

Orange slices and watermelon. SO GOOD. Fresh fruit was the best refresher, especially as temperatures climbed. I remember chatting with a fellow runner as we chowed down as many orange slices as we could manage. “These are soooo damn good!” We said to each other. Something about the sweet, juiciness of fresh fruit worked wonders. And bonus points if the fruit is cold!


Random

Quesadillas. I absolutely craved salt/savory snacks during the race. When I showed up at the second aid station, I remember smelling the sweet aroma of melted cheese. QUESADILLAS?! Give. Me. That. I had one slice when I arrived at the aid station, and one slice as I left. Just enough to satisfy my salty, savory craving, yet not enough to upset the stomach.


What I wish I had

Honestly, nothing! I felt like I took full advantage of the robust aid stations (thank you, Ultra Adventures and Vacation Races for the incredible food options and friendly, supportive volunteers!). I’m really happy I brought enough extra Tailwind to get me through the race. I really needed the extra calories from Tailwind, especially for the final five miles of the race.


Best advice

Plan ahead! Fully utilize those drop bags. It’s better to have too much of a good thing (I over-packed Clif bloks for sure), than not enough. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. Usually I’m a firm believer in “nothing new on race day”, but if something at the aid station piques your interest, I would say go for it! This was definitely my story with the quesadillas. I started with a small slice and quickly realized it had no negative impact on my stomach (in fact it made me feel so much better - "real food" was what I craved). So I grabbed another couple of slices at the next aid station. YUM.


And the rest is history.