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Running in the Age of Hammer

From fueling wrong, to Fueling Right, Feeling Great


My running life can be divided into two eras - before and after I discovered Hammer. In 2010, at age 35, I had jogged a couple of NYC marathons and wasn't sure if I should admire or be skeptical of the ultramarathoners I had met via photo assignments for the 4Deserts race series. Eventually, I overcame my doubts about ultrarunners and attempted one myself: the 155-mile 4Deserts race in the Australian outback. The event was a complete debacle for me. Not only did I barely finish the race, requiring two intravenous drips after just the first-stage, but I also put my life in danger with my ill-conceived nutrition "plan."

Plan, what plan?

Well, to be honest, I didn't have a plan. If anything, I tended to eat food high in sugar, fat, and sodium, assuming I needed the energy. I also thought drinking plain water was adequate, unaware of the need to maintain a balanced electrolyte profile. And recovery - wait . . . what is that? Beer? Looking back, I also ate too much for breakfast and too close to the start of races. Breakfast typically included sugary granola or oatmeal, orange juice, and a generic bagel.

Once my body recovered from the 155-mile race in Australia, I endeavored to improve my fueling. I tested a range of products and Hammer Nutrition's were clearly the most effective for me.

Zandy's fueling formula

I also changed my nutrition strategies for training and races. If I don't have time to digest a meal a few hours before exercise, I simply have a Hammer Gel a few minutes before starting. Time permitting, my favorite prerace meal is a pour-over coffee blended with coconut oil, organic raw honey, cinnamon, and a raw egg or two. An hour later I'll follow that with two Anti-Fatigue Caps and Race Caps Supreme, then a Nocciola Hammer Gel and Endurolytes capsule a few minutes prior to the start. Recoverite always follows. It may sound complicated, but I've done it often enough that it is now rote.

Hammer time

A few months after the wake-up call in Australia I achieved my lifelong dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon! Since then I have BQ'd five times and improved my ultrarunning results:

  • 2012 - 4th overall in the seven-day self-supported Atacama Crossing
  • 2015 - 2nd overall in the Atacama Crossing
  • 2015 - Won Masters Division in the Keys 100
  • 2015 - Ran 119 miles in my only 24-hour race

It is no exaggeration to say that Hammer Nutrition has fueled every single step in recent years. Races longer than three hours are fueled exclusively with a mix of Hammer Gel, Sustained Energy, Endurolytes Extreme or Fizz, Anti-Fatigue Caps, Endurance Aminos (and occasionally a banana). With this strategy I don't hit the wall or experience gastro trauma. I also supplement my regular diet with Mito Caps, Race Caps Supreme, Premium Insurance Caps, Enduromega and Xobaline, and Vegan Recovery Bars or Vegan Protein powder. This is #howihammer

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