Looking to lock down your nutrition strategy for the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 Run? We chatted with professional ultra runner, GU athlete and Oregon local, Max King, about his nutrition and fueling strategy as he prepares to take on Leadville.
Leadville Race Series: What do you like about using GU Energy Gels and Hydration Drinks to fuel your races?
Max King: I know it might be a bit geeky, but the best thing about GU products for me is the combo of both maltodextrin and fructose that absorbs quickly through two different non-competing pathways. I get fuel faster and can maintain performance longer because of it.
LRS: What does your fueling plan for a 100-miler look like? E.g., when do you start fueling, which products are you consuming, what frequency are you consuming them, hydration and salt intake, etc.
MK: That’s a good question. It’s not totally formulated yet, but I know I run best off Roctane Gels. For Leadville, I’m going to attempt a mix of solid food and Roctane for about 40-50 miles then switch to Roctane Gel for the remainder, getting in about 300 calories per hour. I’ll use Roctane Electrolyte caps at a rate of about two capsules per hour as well throughout the race.
That’s the plan, if things fall apart, then it’s every man for himself and I’ll just try anything until it works.
LRS: How do you adapt your plan based on how you are feeling during a race?
MK: That’s the tough part, figuring out what your body really needs if it’s going into a bad patch. Usually, I need to slow down a bit and increase carbohydrate consumption so I’ll add an extra Roctane gel. If I feel some cramping coming on or an upset stomach, that usually signals a loss in electrolyte balance, so I’ll pop an extra Roctane capsule. I’ve even had good luck chewing a capsule up in my mouth for quicker cramp relief. It’s nasty, but usually works faster.
LRS: When you feel a bonk coming on, what do you do?
MK: The best thing to do when you feel a bonk coming on is take an extra gel. Don’t wait until you’re full-on bonking. It comes on fast but there is a little bit of warning a few minutes before full-on bonk. You’ve got to get the gel in then — don’t wait.
LRS: Where do salts/electrolytes fit into your fueling plan?
MK: They’re very important. I know research says that low electrolytes aren’t the reason for cramping, but I’ve seen too much anecdotal evidence that they actually do help to believe anything different. I need them and race better with them.
LRS: Any specific strategies for running Leadville?
MK: That’s what I need to figure out over the next several months. It’s going to be critical to go into the race with a plan and stick with it as long as I can. I think it’s going to be a nice, comfortable, even pace that’s going to get the job done.
LRS: Any GU flavors we absolutely have to try?
MK: My fave and the one I race with is Blue-Pom Roctane. It just works and I don’t get sick of it. Cherry-Lime also works. My go-to flavors on a training run are caramel macchiato and chocolate coconut because they taste like candy. Oh so good!
LRS: After finishing a 100-miler, what do you do and eat to help your body recover?
MK: Ha, a big juicy burger and big, thick, black beer would be perfect! After my GU Chocolate Smoothie Recovery drink, of course.