It’s only 15k, why do I need fuel?  Well if you are running the North American OCR Championship (NORAM) course in an hour and a half, you may not need fuel. 

If you are like most of the athletes on the course spending between two and six hours on the course, you are going to want to carry some fuel with you for the race. 

Peaking Essentials

REM Caps:  REM Caps are a natural sleep aid we talked about in the “How To Prep for the 3k OCRWC with Hammer Nutrition” article. Still a great product regardless of the distance you are racing. 

Race Day Boost:  Race Day Boost is loaded by taking pills for the four days leading up to your A race.  The Sodium Phosphate contained in each pill helps buffer lactic acid buildup, the chemical correlated with fatigue in the muscles. A study reported a measurable increase in performance of 8%, making this something you may want to consider adding to your pre-race bag to ensure a successful peak.   

(You can save money by picking up both Race Day Boost, Energy Surge and Anti-Fatigue Caps as part of the Race PR Kit.)

A man racing through a 15k OCRWC race.

Pre-Race Essentials

Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme: Regardless if the weather is hot or cool, you are going to be sweating on the course.  As a safety net for my racing, I recommend an electrolyte pill.  Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme provide a full spectrum of electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride.  They aren’t just “salt pills” but have been designed for endurance athletes by endurance athletes. 

Anti-Fatigue Caps: A couple of pills pre-race are designed to reduce Ammonia in muscles and enhance blood flow via ingredients like Beet Root powder. 

Heed: Finally, sipping on some Heed pre-race can quench your thirst.  It also tops off your energy supplies by swishing the complex carb solution around in your mouth and swallowing some for easy access to a carbohydrate fuel source early in the race. 

Intra-Race

Gels: Fueling during a race can be tricky. You can’t nor should you try to replace all calories burned.  Instead studies have shown that your body can only reasonably absorb 200-300 calories at most an hour.  Hammer Nutrition recommends fueling lean with at least 120-180 calories. 

At 90 calories per gel, if you are racing for three hours and following Hammer Nutrition’s recommendation of fueling lean that comes out to about 4-6 gels over the course of the entire race.

If you are the type of person who is going to use every available minute of the six hour cutoff to complete the course, you may want to consider a small water carrier.  Of note, you will have to carry this across the obstacles so balance the risk vs. the reward of having constant access to water.  For most athletes, I recommend leaving the water carrier in your hotel room unless the weather is unusually hot.

If you decide to carry one, you are going to want to use Heed inside, Hammer Nutrition’s carbohydrate and electrolyte blend.  It’s loaded with complex carbohydrates to give you that steady release of energy without a spike and crash.

Regardless of your fueling plan, make sure you practice it before hand with the same exact products to ensure you don’t get any gastro-intestinal distress. 

Personally, I find that I need much less fuel during a training run versus something like a race when my physical output is significantly higher so be sure to take that into account.

Check back next week, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic again, Ultra-OCR as we talk fueling for the 24 hour long OCR Enduro Championships in Australia this June. 

While you can get away with poor fueling for something like a 3k or 15k and still perform okay, not fueling at something as long as Enduro I guarantee will lead to disaster. 

A man running through the 15k OCRWC

Looking for more great tips of OCR?  Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing

Evan Perperis

Evan Perperis, NSCA-CPT,  is an athlete on the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team and author of three books on Obstacle Course Racing. Included in his 39 podium finishes is a 2nd place Pro Coed Team at the 2018 North American OCR Championships and 1st Place Team at 2018 World’s Toughest Mudder. Find more of his content at www.teamstrengthspeed.com.