Stamina is important. Whether your next endurance challenge is a 100-mile ultramarathon or a five-mile day hike, you don’t want to hit the wall halfway through.
So this week, we called up veteran ultrarunner, Ultimate Direction brand manager, and enduro supermutant Buzz Burrell. Follow his advice below, and you’ll still feel like showing those pearly whites (teeth, not thighs) at the finish line.
1. Drink in moderation
It’s commonly suggested that active people drink two quarts of water or more each day to ward off dehydration. And that’s a pretty good rule of thumb, says Buzz—if you’re a camel.
“The amount of water you’re supposed to drink is impossible,” he says. “It would be injurious to drink as much as they recommend.” While dehydration is a major drain on performance, distance athletes are far more likely to be injured or even killed by hyponatremia.
So how much should you drink? That’s not rocket surgery, says Buzz. “Your body knows pretty well what it needs. Drink when you’re thirsty. When you’re not thirsty anymore, stop.”
2. Eat better
But a man cannot race on water alone. And when choosing the right solid fuel for a long burn, “eat when you’re hungry” doesn’t quite cut it.
The best food options vary by activity, says Buzz. For those running for 18 hours or less (yes, some people do run for longer), he recommends simple sugars like the kind found in most performance gels. For high-intensity activity, these sugars provide all of the energy needed with none of the effort of digestion.
Those operating at a lower intensity for a longer period (like hikers or backpackers), will need to add fat and protein to keep moving. Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts are a proven and classic source, but for his own ultralight ventures, Buzz downs olive oil by the bottle.
We know—that’s gross. But hey, this guy did the John Muir Trail in just three and a half days. So maybe he’s on to something.