What I Need to Run 20 Miles

Fuel for my 20 miler (minus the fruit in the background)

Fuel for my 20 miler (minus the fruit in the background)

Tomorrow Angie and I are going on a 20 mile trail run. I’m totally stoked!

In fact, I’m so excited about this run that I found myself gathering my fueling supplies 17 hours in advance. Usually I throw it all in a bag before heading out the door.

Now that I step back and look at it all . . . THIS IS A LOT OF STUFF!

But every one of these fueling items is necessary when I run for 3+ hours.

Here is a break down of what I’m taking

Fueling for 20 Miles

  1. Water and lots of it: The average runner needs about 16-28 fluid ounces of water per hour. I’m taking 68 oz and mooching the rest from Angie (she will be wearing her Nathan Hydration Vest). I have a Ampiphod 4 Hydration Belt. I’ll drop two more 22oz bottles at the 10 mile mark.

  3. Hammer Perpetuem Solids: I use the chew-able strawberry flavored Perpetuem solids to sustain my energy during a long run. They provide carbs, protein, and fat without causing GI distress. I take one every 15 minutes (unless I take a gel).

  5. Hammer Gel: I take one gel every hour to bump my calorie consumption up to about 180 per hour of running. My hourly fuel consumption looks like this: One gel = 90 calories; 3 solids = 90 calories.

  7. Hammer Endurolytes: I take up to 6 capsules per hour to prevent cramping. Cramping is your body’s way of saying that it is low on electrolytes. I take a couple per hour for maintenance purposes and more if I feel the beginning stages of a cramp. Angie doesn’t need these at all but I have found them to be a life saver. Every runner is different.

  9. Pretzels: I can’t say that I have some wise nutritional reason for eating pretzels on my long run. I just found that after about 16 miles I’m hungry for real food. The Hammer products get me a long ways but after 2 hours I can’t stomach them. The saltiness and texture of pretzels is a relief to my taste buds. They also give me a mental boost -like a special treat for running so far. Kinda like a Scooby snack.

Fueling needs will vary from runner to runner. You should work out your strategy during your long training runs and show up on race day with a proven plan.

We have a whole course in the Academy about mastering the long run. Click here to get a 14 day trial membership for only $1.

So now I’m all set to run with Angie in the beautiful Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri. Many new runners dread the long run. I think it is an adventure.

And every adventure needs to have food. Says I.

19 Responses to What I Need to Run 20 Miles

  1. Trevor February 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    What do you take on a 20 miler?

  2. John February 6, 2013 at 4:15 am #

    Travor, greta post and thanks for the info. How do you carry all these items. I am getting up to my 20 milers and starting to run out of storage space in my hydration belts.



    • Trevor February 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      My secret weapon is Race Ready shorts. They have six pockets.

  3. David February 6, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    Thanks for the info. For any run over I do over 10 miles, I use a hydration pack. I love it!!!

    • Trevor February 6, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Angie carried her hydration pack today on our 20 miler and was kind enough to let me mooch water after mine ran out.

  4. Simon Lewis February 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Angie. Interesting post. Have to tried running a 20 on a lot less? Does it impact your time a lot? Do you always finish it all? Thanks, Simon

    • Trevor February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      I think I can answer for her . . . she likes to take between 160-180 calories per hour of running. So that works out to be a little less fuel than what I take.

  5. Simon Lewis February 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Sorry, typo. Have you tried running a 20 on a lot less?

  6. Doug February 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I take about 24 ounces of water (I don’t need anywhere near 16-28 ounces of water per hour, unless I want to take a lot of pee breaks) and circle back home at the halfway mark to replenish – so, about 48 ounces total. Also, I carry enough gels for one every 45 minutes through 2:15, then every half hour.

    When I ran a marathon in October a spectator was handing out pretzels at mile 20. I took a bite and I realized it was a terrible mistake – it dried my mouth in no time. It’s amazing how we’re all different! If I carried any sort of food, I might go for juicy fruit, such as orange wedges. Honestly, the gels are enough.

    • Trevor February 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. When I first read that runners need 16-28 oz of water I had to scratch my head. I can get by on a lot less (except on really hot days). But, I am seeing that when I drink more water my legs last longer.

      You’re right. Every runner is different.

  7. Joe Foley February 17, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Nice post (and nice of Angie to allow you to mooch!). I had an Amphipod belt as well, but abandoned it in favor of either a Nathan 20 oz. Fastdraw and/or a Hydration backpack. I found, especially in the warmer weather, the smaller bottles got warm too fast. Nothing worse to me than warm Gatorade :).

    Keep running !

    • Trevor February 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      I’m hearing you man! Angie hates the Amphipod belt. I kinda like it but some day I will acquire a hydration pack as well for longer runs.

      Thanks for the comment!

  8. Robinson Mertilus February 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this Trevor. I ran my first marathon last year and found that during my training, I needed more fuel about 1 hour into my long runs and every hour thereafter. I never really quite got the right formula for success and paid the price as I was sapped of energy at about mile 17-18 during my run day. I finished the marathon and am happy about that, but I’d like to improve my time. When I get back up to my long run pace, I’ll definitely incorporate what you shared. Thanks.

    • Trevor February 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      I’m glad you liked this post. It can take a few races to get a good fueling system worked out. Try to figure out how many calories per hour; and how much water per hour you need. Then experiment with fuels until you find what your stomach is agreeable to.

      Thanks for the comment!

  9. Sarah May 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    I am running 20 this week. I’ll take a gel every 4 miles and down about 8-12 oz of water with each one. I plan to try Perpetuem in my next training cycle it’s too close to my rac for something new this time.

  10. Beth July 22, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    What’s the yellow liquid in your Amphipod bottles? HEED?

    • Trevor July 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      No, just water.

  11. Elaine March 4, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    I have been reading about Flip belts and thinking of trying one of these….has anyone tried one? I use a camelback hydration pack but there is only a small extra pocket that can’t fit too many extra things in it. One more question….my sister recently trained and raced an Ironman and swore by “BASE salts”….anyone tried these? THanks!


  1. Country Music Marathon 2013 Race Recap | Jonathan Riggs - April 30, 2013

    […] Solid’s go in a plastic baggie. My fueling strategy came from Trevor Spencer and a consultant at Hammer Nutrition. I planned on eating a Hammer Perpetuem Solid every fifteen […]

Leave a Reply