I ran the TNF 50 km trail ultramarathon and fueled almost entirely with energy gels, energy chews, and electrolyte supplements from Precision Fuel & Hydration (PFH).
Runivore had reviewed several products from the United Kingdom-based brand, testing them separately in many workouts and even a goal marathon. We found them well-suited from flavor to nutritional profile, and packaging.
TNF 50 km provided another opportunity to test drive them, but this time combining different options in their product porfolio.
(This article is not sponsored by PFH or other companies. We purchased all the products.)
What I consumed?
I brought in my hydration vest:
- 2 x PF 90 Gels (read full review)
- 2 x PF 30 Gels (read full review)
- 2 x PF 30 Chews (read full review)
- 5 x PH Electrolytes Capsules
- 2 x 32GI Guarana Caffeine Shots (read full review)
- Dried mango
Available at aid stations:
- About 4 L of water
- About 750 ml of Pocari Sweat sports drink
- Half a banana
- A few pieces of watermelon
I fueled and replenished electrolytes mostly with PFH products. I snacked on a few bite-sized pieces of watermelon and half a banana provided at the aid stations. I also mixed water with Pocari Sweat, a popular bottled sports drink in Asia.
Estimated calories: 1300 calories
Estimated carbohydrates: 407 g
Estimated sodium: 1700 mg
What I ate pre-race?
It was a destination race. I stayed at a bed and breakfast the night before and didn’t have my usual morning setup. The start of the race was early, at 4 am.
I wanted to sleep for as long as possible, so the plan was something easy yet energy-packed for breakfast. Two energy bars and two cups of coffee did the job.
A little bit about the race
TNF 50 km had 2500+ m in elevation and took me 7 hours and 6 minutes. There were some steep, muddy and slippery sections (quite technical), but overall, I would rate it as a runnable course. (For your reference, the winner, Hong Kong’s Stone Tsang, won it in 5 hours and 40 minutes)
Water stations were located at 5 km, 16 km, 24 km, 32 km, 43km, and 47km.
Temperatures began at around 23 degrees Celsius and steadily climbed to 30+ degrees.
My fueling plan
I used the fuel calculator provided by Neversecond, another energy gel brand we reviewed recently. It suggested I consume 60-70 g of carbohydrates and 0.5 L of water per hour.
Following a simple self-evaluation and based on past experiences, I know I’m not a “salty sweater.” Consuming 250-300 mg of sodium per hour is typically more than sufficient for me.
I started with the above information and recommendations and adjusted during the race as the temperature soared. Always listen to your body and improvise when necessary.
When and what I consumed?
To the best of my recollection, here is the timetable of what I ate.
10 min before the gun, I took a 32GI Guarana Caffeine Shot. It had 60 mg of caffeine and not much else.
- I started the race with two 500 ml soft flasks. One was all water, and the other was water mixed with a full PF 90 Jumbo Gel squeezed in. PF 90 provides 180 calories and 90 g of carbohydrates. It doesn’t contain any electrolytes.
- At the 5 km water station, I only refilled my flasks with water—no caloric intake.
- For the first hour and a half, I fueled with the water+PF 90 concoction and two PH Electrolyte Capsules containing 250 mg of sodium and 150 mg of potassium each (the capsules are blister-packed).
- I continued to fuel with the second PF 90 I had in my hydration vest, taking small sips directly from the pouch every 10 minutes or so. I also consumed another PH Electrolyte Capsule.
- At the 16 km water station, I filled the two water flasks, one with water and the other with Pocari Sweat. I also munched on a few pieces of watermelon. My body always reacts well to watermelons since it contains plenty of great nutrients for ultra-running.
- I took another 32GI Guarana Caffeine Shot around 20km.
- I had one PF 30 Gel (same as PF 90 Gel, but one-third the gel quantity) and one PF 30 Chew. Each provides 30 g of carbohydrates for a total of 60 g.
- I popped another electrolyte pill.
- I refilled my water flasks at the 24 km station. One flask was half water and half Pocari Sweat.
- I also had half a banana.
- I had the same energy gel, energy chew, and electrolyte capsule combo as the previous hour—another 60 g of carbohydrates and 250 g of sodium.
- At the 32 km water station, I chowed on more watermelons. I believe this station ran out of Pocari. I downed water before refilling both flasks.
9am to 10:00am
- This was when temperatures skyrocketed to 30 degrees and most of the course was exposed. I was out of energy gels but honestly, I was getting sick of gels anyways.
- I relied on watermelons and Pocari Sweat at the aid station and dried mangoes, one of my favorite snacks.
10 am to 11:06 am
8 km push to the finish and mostly downhill
At the 43 km water station, I refilled only one of my flasks to save weight. Just 7 km left! I didn’t even stop at the 47 km water station.
I was definitely a little dehydrated, slightly under fueled, and my legs were bombed, but I just wanted to hang tough and get it done.
Finish time 7 hours and 6 minutes.