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Fueling for the Long Run


Excellence is a pursuit, not a destination. And the same holds true for optimizing your fueling strategies, especially as the years go by. Even veteran endurance athletes can learn, adapt and readjust the types and timing of the nutrition we consume to better our performance and recovery. Like a life well lived, the process of improvement is continual and ongoing.

Let’s start with the basics. There are three classes of macronutrients the body utilizes to power us through the day: Fats, Proteins, and Carbohydrates. Within each of these are further subdivisions. For instance, the masterclass of carbohydrates can consist of simple sugars or more complex starches, and the sources of these carbohydrates can come from glucose, sucrose, fructose, or various other forms. Fats are equally multifaceted. There are saturated fats, monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and further differentiation within each of these. Proteins are just as diverse, perhaps more so. There are complete proteins, incomplete proteins, simple proteins (amino acids), and branch-chained amino acids. As you can see, piecing all of these factors together for an optimal fueling plan can be an intricate process!

Thankfully, Hammer Nutrition is a single source for all your athletic needs. I would recommend starting by reading or rereading SOS (5 Secrets of Success for Endurance Fueling). Not only is this an excellent guidebook on athletic nutrition, but there is also a product usage manual that explains how and when to use Hammer Nutrition products to fuel your success. I cannot say enough about the importance of this booklet as the foundation of understanding for any endurance athlete.

Of course, even using SOS as an indispensable tool allows for some personal discretion on which Hammer Nutrition products to choose. Personally, as I’ve progressed in my athletic lifecycle, I’ve found that certain Hammer Nutrition products work better for me under certain circumstances. Taking in more protein, fat, and solid foods has helped me better endure longer races. That means augmenting Hammer Gels with Hammer Bars, which contain organic nut butter (a healthy form of monounsaturated fat) and Sustained Energy 2.0, which was the world’s first protein-fortified sports drink (and has been recently improved by replacing the corn maltodextrin with tapioca maltodextrin). With the regular inclusion of Hammer Bars and Sustained Energy 2.0 in longer ultras—especially those stretching beyond 50 km or five hours—I’ve been able to maintain energy levels more consistently throughout the duration and experienced better post-race recovery, which is a massively overlooked element by lifelong endurance athletes (your fueling protocols during training and racing dramatically impact recovery!)

I’ve also taken a fondness for Perpetuem Solids as a steady and GI-friendly form of long-lasting fuel. Ever since being introduced to Perpetuem in 2008—by the now legendary South African ultrarunner Ryan Sandes during a race across the Sahara Desert—I’ve been a fan of Perpetuem. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered Perpetuem Solids and incorporated them into my fueling strategy. They are a great alternative—or companion—to gels and come in four quite literally mouthwatering flavors (and keeping your oral cavity moisturized during endurance events is another important and often oftentimes overlooked factor in sports nutrition!)

I hope these tips and recommendations can help you to up your fueling game for better performance and longevity over the long run. And remember that the staff at Hammer Nutrition are just a phone call, email, or Live Chat away to assist you in getting your fueling plan dialed in. After all, endurance is about one thing: enduring. Hammer on…


Ultramarathon 101: Tips for Starting Out
The seminal Walt Stack once counseled on running an ultramarathon, “Start slow, and taper from there…” If there is one critical mistake a new ultrarunner can make, it’s going out too fast. Better to start slowly and conserve your energy. Another piece of sage advice: eat early and often. You don’t want to put yourself into a calorie deficit early in the race. Use a liquid fuel like HEED and Hammer Gels to provide a consistent source of easily digestible and slowly metabolized carbohydrates. Avoid foods and beverages with simple sugar, which can lead to an energy crash and hurt your performance rather than help it. Use Endurolytes to maintain your electrolyte balance and avoid cramping (or Endurolytes Extreme if it’s hot or you’re a heavy sweater). Lastly, don’t set your goal to finish in a certain time, but let finishing be the main goal for your first ultra. For getting to the finish line of an ultramarathon is an accomplishment in itself.

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Dean Karnazes is an ultramarathoner and Hammer Nutrition global athlete. He is a NY Times bestselling author and recipient of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award. Learn more about Dean at: Dean Karnazes Keeps Hammering


During my last marathon in Rio on June 2nd, I experienced severe cramping in both calf, to the point where I could barely lift my foot over the last three miles. The last half of the Marathon was in excess of 80° was a major factor I am sure. I was taking in Heed from about 3 miles into the run but I never experienced such cramping in any of my previous 50 plus marathons. I am now being training to run a Marathon in Sydney on September 15th and would wish to avoid a similar experience as in Rio. What would you recommend?
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hi Charles, thank you for your question. Your scenario is one that suggests that the electrolyte content of the HEED was insufficient for your needs that day in those conditions. This can easily be addressed by carrying some Endurolytes Extreme capsules in a baggie or capsule dispenser that we provide free of charge. If conditions in Sydney are hot, plan to take 1-3 ELX capsules per hour, starting 30-45 minutes into the race. A second option to simplify logistics and reduce your carrying weight would be to use Hammer Gel @ 1 packet per 45 minutes, taking ELX as suggested above and getting water on course at aid stations. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss this further, do not hesitate to reach out via phone or email. BDF

Charles Johnson

Great write-up!!
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hello Paul, thank you for your support and encouragement, here and for so many years! BDF
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Thanks Paul, I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

Wishing you ongoing strength and endurance.

Dean Karnazes

Paul Monaco

Another great article with a ton of useful insight and advice. I appreciate how each time I read articles they seem to be directed at me so they feel genuine and not full of marketing propaganda but actual science backed dialogue.

Thanks for truly wanting to help us #everydayathletes accomplish our goals too!
Mat Sabinski
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hello Matthew,

Thank you for the thoughtful sentiments. From one everyday athlete to another, I wish you the very best in all your endeavors.

Keep hammering, Dean Karnazes

Matthew Sabinski

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