How do you fuel an ultra like the Comrades Marathon? Run Tester, Kieran is about to tackle the 55-mile (87km) road ultra in South Africa and in this video he shares his tried and test go-to ultra running fuel for higher intensity races including the best gels, cubes, chews and hydration solutions for running ultra. As well as a few tips on how to build a good fuelling strategy to keep your legs moving and your tummy happy on a 9 hour+ run. Hit play for his Comrades Marathon fuelling essentials…

0:00 – Intro
1:57 – Breakfast & Pre-race
5:06 – Race fuel
10:06 – Hydration

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Hey people welcome to the run test it's Kieran here now in a few days time I'm Going to be heading to South Africa to Run one of the world's oldest and most Iconic Road Ultras the comrades Marathon Now the comrades marathon is a pretty Unique challenge that runs between Durban and Peter's maritzburg although Each year the direction of the race Swaps so there's up years and down years This year I'm going to be running Between Peter maritzburg and Durban I am On a down year though in the down years There seems to be more up than in the up Years looking at the course profile now Basically this race can take you Anywhere between six hours and 12 hours Is a very strict 12-hour cutoff if you Don't get in Under 12 hours you don't Get to cross the finish line they pull Up across the barriers and you're done The other unique thing about the Comrades is essentially I think like 99.9 of this course is on road but it's All on hill so you're either going Uphill or downhill it could be running From five o'clock in the morning Anywhere between temperatures between Kind of 15 I reckon up to maybe even 24 25. depending on how long you're out on Course now if you've never heard of it Or comrades has always been on your Bucket list suggest you head over to Marathon Tours and Travel I'm traveling

Over there they basically put on Packages which take away a lot of Logistical pain of traveling they sort Out hotels organization all of those Things it's well worth looking into Their packages they've also got some Great information about the challenge That awaits you when you get into the Comrades and why it's such a remarkable Race so I'll stick a link in the caption Below go and check out their website for More information if you're tempted to Whack this onto your bucket list or have A go next year so when you're looking at A run that's going to take you anywhere Between six hours and 12 hours one of The big challenges is how you're going To fuel that run over the years I've Tested hundreds of products on different Ultras and what I'm going to do here in This video is take you right through how I'm going to fuel this run from the very Moment I wake up what I'm going to have For breakfast how I'm going to fuel the Pre-run through the run and how I finish It Energy and hydration so let's get into It [Music] Foreign [Music] Breakfast while the comrades is a Point-to-point Race So for context a lot Of people are going to end up staying

Near the Finish Line perhaps or there's More hotels in the big city of Durban Which is where I'm going to finish so We're staying there you have to be up And on a bus at 2 30 in the morning to Get bus to the start line in Peter's Maritzburg looks like a couple of hours On the bus and then the race itself Starts at 5 30 which is great because You beat a good chunk of the heat of the Day which is you know it's winter there But it's still going to be hot it's Basically our summer here in the UK is There winter in terms of the Temperatures gonna be 20 24 something Like that so you've got an early start That essentially throws breakfast into Kind of some kind of turmoil because you Know it's it's the middle of the night It's 2 30. you've got to get up I'm Going to be up at one so what am I going To do my plan for this and it always has Been I when I have to do these really Early starts even if I've got a race Start I've got to be leaving at six I Tend to reach for a liquid breakfast now What I will be using before the comrades Is this I always go for this it's the 33 Fuel Elite Mill replacement now this Essentially has a good hit of Carbohydrates got 33 grams of Carbohydrate in each shake and then it's A mixture of other kind of real food

Ingredients that I've talked about it Before on here but you've got everything From you've got some good hits of Protein from pumpkin protein and Sunflower protein you've got flax seeds There's coconut there's oats in there Carob cacao there's Goji berries and Walnuts it's kind of real food Ingredients there's little bits in it so It's not like a smooth protein shake It's actually got some real texture to It which is really nice and you can Essentially beef up the energy hit of This if you want to depending on what You mix it with if you mix it with milk Soy milk cow's milk whatever you want to Use that will add to what you know I Guess the overall kind of nutrients that You're going to take in I tend to mix it With water though that's just the way I Like it I might stick a bit of coffee in There I sometimes put some 33 fuel super Greens in there also to get a few more Extra kind of nutrients in but Essentially this kind of forms the base Of my breakfast the other good thing is It's really easy get down you can just Have it ready the night before you just Stick water in the morning Shake It Up Drink it on the bus on the way there and Yeah it just gives you a nice easy no Fuss no cooking no messing breakfast no Noise if you're getting up at a hotel Room which I'm going to be with family

Try not to wake them up so that is going To be the staple of that I will Supplement that with some other bits and Pieces that I can forage from the hotel Maybe some pastries maybe some fruit a Few other bits and Bobs that I'll eat on The bus on the way out there I will also Take with me Something I reckon maybe one or two Bananas that I'll have closer to the Start of the race if I can get one I Will also get hold of an avocado which I'll eat like an apple Really good source of kind of energy in The avocado I really like it it's like Slow burning easy I find it very easy to Digest and it just gives me something in My stomach that's a little bit more Substantial in order to get going but so That'll be breakfast that'll all be Eating on the bus if I'm not asleep or Right before the race [Music] Now moving into the race I'm looking at Probably running about nine hours There's a particular medal that you get Called a bill Rowan for going sub nine Hours and I think this is going to be my Aim hopefully I can achieve that without Too much trouble I think I'm not fast Enough for World Trade enough to go for The sub seven and a half or the next Medal down so that feels sensible and What that means is if you think about

You know most people the science kind of Suggests we can absorb somewhere between 60 and 90 grams of carbohydrates per Hour 90 grams at the top end Pretty much if you're well trained and You're used to sort of taking on board a Lot of energy 60 grams is probably the Safer end to avoid you know any kind of Stomach issues and so if you think about That what I've worked out here I've got My little numbers for my race At the lower end of that I've got to get On board around 540 grams of Carbohydrates ideally for that race Top end of that might be 110 grams so How am I going to do that well I've got Some go-to sort of Staples that I've Been using for a long time I will have a Mix of products mix of textures mix of Flavors the other thing to consider I Don't want to be running with a big Heavy pack there are Aid stations I'm Told every kind of two kilometers that Also carry other foods that you can pick Up fruit potatoes all sorts so there's Going to be ways that I can supplement If I need to hopefully some watermelon Some bits and pieces to add to this but This is kind of my core my base if Nothing else is working this is my Fallback plan this is my go-to it's my Sort of self sustaining kind of energy Source that I've got I'll be running With a belt and maybe a small vest so

I'll have some pocket space but not I Don't want to go I'm going to go quite Minimal on this race because I don't Want to be carrying kind of lots of gear And with that in mind I've whittled it Down and I'm going to take a few Different products so here the first Step is these These are Precision Fuel And hydration 90 gram carb gel pouches So you get 90 grams in each pouch it's a Resealable pouch I'm going to take four Of these so I'll have 360 grams of Carbohydrates in these pouches they're Resealable so you can take on board as Much as you want any time you don't have To like it all down in one go like a gel And get rid of the packet these will fit All around my belt and that is a really Good solid kind of base of carbohydrates The texture of these not because you Know it's a lot more like a really loose Jelly they're really easy to get in you Know you can sort of suck them down very Easy they disappear in the mouth and They are very neutral flavored there is No flavoring in these so absolutely They're very easy on the stomach I find And because you can take little bits you Can kind of gauge that a bit more if You're feeling a bit dodgy then you know Don't take on as much sometimes you want To take more reseal it put it away They're also because of that they're Just very easy to handle take one out

Take as much you want recap it put it Back so those pouches are going to be my Go-to so everyone can all supplement Those are only taking four of these These are 30 gram mint and lemon Precision Fuel and hydration chews They're little cubes break in half so You can take half one take them all on At once so get free Dean grams it's got A first section here they're a much more Kind of chewy there's much more texture To them it will break up it's plugging Down these give you something else Different kind of mouth feel which is Important different kind of flavor Profile that again it's not overdone It's quite a minty and kind of lemon so It's quite refreshing not too sweet but Just about right sort of pretty well Balanced so those will give me something And I'll kind of intersperse those with The pouches as and when I need to The other thing though that I will do in Order to have completely kind of change Of sort of flavor profile I'm going to Take a few different gels and these I Will tend to kind of save for when I Want a bit more of a psychological boost Because the taste profile overall is a Bit more enjoyable and a bit less kind Of um Sports Nutrition one of them is This this is the Varla energy gel it's About 20 grams of carbs in each of these Gels so date based gel it's got dates

It's got maple syrup it's got a bit of Lemon juice in it it's very sweet but I Really enjoy the flavor if you're gonna Have to like dates to to enjoy these but What those will do give you every now And again when I need something to taste Completely different a bit of a pep Something that uh works for the mind as Well as the body these will be kind of Interspersal I'll save those for little Treats along the way I'm also going to Take a couple of these These are the Velaforte Reba gels these are Blackcurrant and Elder flowers again Totally different flavor profile we've Got 110 milligrams of sodium in these Gels as well 22 grams of carbs per Gel they're not really gels they're sort Of like Nectars the um it's really loose It's almost like a cordial in a way so Again changing up the textures changing Up the feel in the mouth and the flavor Is completely different just to not get That kind of fatigue over nine hours of Eating one thing can be a bit too much That gives me somewhere else to go as Well I've got options I'm also going to take some other cubes These develop Forte Amaro sour cherry And guarana so again you get a bit of Natural caffeine of 75 milligrams of Natural caffeine six soft chews in this Slightly different texture to the Precision Fuel and hydration texture and

Again really nice natural flavors and Again something that's just a bit of a Nice treat to look forward to and then Another one that I've gone to load of Times these are a bit more like turbo Suites here it's like turbo Haribo these Are the honey Stinger organic Energy Chews these ones are pink lemonade Flavor and in each pack you've got 40 Grams of carbohydrates so again 220 gram Portions but again I might take a couple Of those little chews every now and Again into Spurs just to mix things up And that will be my fuel that will give Me enough to get round I will then just Supplement with things off the Aid Station whenever I see something that I Think takes my fancy I'll stop and eat It and I think it's going to be you know It's enough I've trained my gut well Enough over running the Danube Where I pretty much ate everything and Anything yeah but I will also be using Those Aid stations to add different Flavors different textures different Types of energy maybe you know we'll go For some fruit bananas those kind of Things maybe some Savory stuff as well To mix up with the sweet just to make Sure that you've got this really nice Balance the one that the enemy really is Kind of getting overkill on the sweet Stuff so all of the stuff I'm carrying With me is very sweet so I'll use the

Aid stations as a Counterpoint to that [Music] Foreign So the other really important thing then There's going to be hydration and as I Mentioned it's winter there but that's Still going to get to 2024 so for me That's kind of Summer essentially so It's going to be warm I have done a lot Of heat training to try and get myself a Bit more prepped been spending a lot of Time in the sauna uh 20 minute stints to To build up kind of the sweat response All of those things but my approach to Hydration will be pretty simple in the Lead up to the race on the days I will Be taking these I'll be having these are Precision Fuel and hydration 1500 Tabs and what I'll do is in the days Before the race I'll pop one of these in My bottles when I'm drinking during the Day maybe probably once a day I'll Definitely have one of these in a bottle The night before going to bed and then I'll also have a bottle that I carry With me in the morning on the bus to the Start with a 1500 in it so that'll be Like my kind of pre-hydration and Getting my kind of electrolyte levels up And making sure that I get to the start Line nicely hydrated but also with a Nice balance of hydration and Electrolytes in the body So that'll be that

Foreign Flask that'll go in my naked running Belt at the back and I will also carry This tube of precision Fuel and Hydration for some tablets so these are Elect flight tablets as well but these Are the Thousand so there's slightly Less kind of sodium content in these Than the 1500s and one I will pop one of These in a 500 mL flask and I'll Basically drink that on the road sipping It basically when I need it Um I'm not going to overclug it and I Will mix that up with the water that I'm Going to take from aid station so I'm Told there's pouches that you get on all Of the aid stations every kind of two Miles or so or something so there's Going to be plenty of regular water that I can grab as I go and then I'll just Have my electrolyte back up on me to sit Between that and again I'm going to go You sort of go on feel with that I'll You know I'll have I'll carry these as Well so if I need to restock that and Stop put another tab in and go I'll do That but most of this is going to be Drinking to thirst and being sensible About it but you know it's almost like I'll swap between having a bit of the Electrolytes and then a bit of plain Water a bit of electrolytes bit of plain Water there's every chance as well if They have other you know there might be

Some flat Coke or some other drinks that You'll pick up on the wave that I'll add To that as well But yeah I think it's gonna be hot so I'm going to sweat a fair amount I'm a Medium level sweater so the 1000 is the Precision hydration tablet for me but Yeah you can go and do a sodium test Actually on their website or you can do You know you can basically put into a Calculator to calculate which of these Tablets would be work best for you based On your own kind of unique profile so That's worth checking out [Music] Thank you so a quick summary breakfast Gonna be a liquid breakfast with a few Other bits that I'll take in a little Packed breakfast to eat on the bus on The way there I'll save something for About half an hour before the race that I eat just to make sure I'm starting With something nice and kind of solid in My tummy It's not running fuel then once the race Starts I'll be moving to the pouches to The cubes chews and some more kind of um Natural flavored gels and a few other Bits and pieces and along the way I will Just mix up those so that I'm keeping it Nice and fresh each time I'm not just Taking on one type of fuel so that it Doesn't get the flavor fatigue or the Tummy's good get a bit of variety of

Chewing give you something else to think About airplane meal Style Supplement that with bits and pieces That I can forage from the aid stations And the tables and that should be good Just making sure that I eat early and Eat well and keep topping up in Little Bits when I need it and yeah the energy Is going to be key you know keeping that Energy high so you don't ever reach a Point where you've not got a good supply Of carbohydrates going into the body and Just judging that right is going to be Important particularly when you get Towards the end of that race So there you have it that is my comrades Marathon fueling strategy with the Products that I've tried and tested that I really love these are my go-to's I Think they're really reliable I think They fit the bill perfectly for a race Like this obviously nutrition is very Very personal but I would recommend all Of these at least giving them a test if You've not done before that said as ever I would love to hear about what your Fueling strategies are for Ultras how do You approach it do you go for sausage Rolls peanuts I've seen people eat so Many crazy things on Ultras some people Can't stomach going for the fuels and Gels some people only Savage peanut Butter sandwiches what is it that gets You around those races hit us up in the

Comments below share the things that Really work for you the greatest other Runners see kind of other products that Might be good if you have any questions About how I'm going to approach this or How I've approached other Ultra runs hit Me up in the comments below as well I'm Always happy to kind of share the things That I've learned over the 15 years that I've been doing these kind of races that Brought me to this small selection of Products that I now use but yeah Otherwise I'm off now to South Africa to Go and Tackle this race wish me luck as Ever thanks very much for watching and Good luck with all the running that You're doing whether you're racing Training chilling out going out and Enjoying yourself fantastic let us know What you're up to all the best happy Running people and we'll see you again Soon on the Run testers