Brett's headline numbers
Carbohydrate is the main fuel you burn when racing. Failing to fuel properly is a leading cause of underperformance in longer races.
Brett utilised a wide range of sports nutrition products, as well as real foods to ensure he could change the texture and flavour profile of what he was consuming, and feel satiated throughout. He did this while hitting his carb target each hour, to provide sufficient fuel to his working muscles for the duration of his 23 hour effort. By using the larger PF 90 Gels, Brett was easily able to carry and consume an hour's worth of carb at any one time. Happily, Brett also reported absolutely no gastrointestinal discomfort throughout the race which makes nailing his carb numbers even more of an accomplishment.
Taking on board an appropriate amount of fluid and sodium is essential to maintaining blood volume and supporting the cardiovascular effort needed to perform on race day.
Whilst the absolute amount of sodium and fluid consumed per hour is important, it’s critical to consider these in relation to each other. This is known as 'relative sodium concentration' and it’s expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L). How much sodium you’re taking in per litre of fluid is more important than the absolute amount taken in per hour.
Sweat sodium concentration (mg/L) is largely genetically determined and remains relatively stable. Knowing how salty your sweat is enables you to replace a good proportion of your sweat losses, which can range from 200-2,000mg/L.
Whilst Brett’s losses are on the moderate side, getting his hydration strategy right is still important if he wants to perform at his best.Learn more
The WSER 2023 started at 5am and competitors quickly reached snowy peaks in the high country where it was just 2ºC / 37ºF, before the temperature increased to 21ºC / 70ºF as the athletes worked their way towards the finish. This meant that individual sweat rates varied significantly during the race. As a result, Brett had to adjust his hourly fluid intake according to the temperature to avoid over or under-hydrating. Judging by his subjective feedback above, he nailed that! Brett drank 10L of PH 1000 Drink Mix and took twenty eight Electrolyte Capsules as well as some pickle juice. This resulted in a relative sodium intake of (~1,611mg/L) which is higher than his Sweat Test result (1,085mg/L). This ‘oversalting’ would have encouraged some excess water retention in his body and may be one reason why he didn’t pee very frequently during the race. Brett didn’t report having any great cravings for plain water, which is normally the first symptom of taking too much electrolyte on board, however we’d still suggest dialling this back in line with his individual sweat losses if he were to ever run WSER again.
Beyond the Three Levers of Performance (carb, sodium and fluid), caffeine is one of only a few substances that is proven to improve performance for most endurance athletes as it can help stave off mental and physical fatigue.
Brett took 10 caffeine gels during this race, which relative to his bodyweight means he consumed over double the general recommended guidelines for single day endurance events. Seeing athletes exceed the recommended range is not unusual at events which last this long, and the tactical use of caffeine will have interacted with Brett’s adenosine receptors in his brain and helped stave off the body’s craving for sleep during the night time period at the end of Western States.
How Brett hit his numbers
Here's everything that Brett ate and drank on the day...
Brett's weapons of choice
Brett's full stats
There is some confidence in the quantities and brands of products consumed but the data may lack specifics (e.g. volumes specific flavours). A high number of estimations have been made and the room for error is moderate-high. There may also be the possibility that some intake has been grossly over- or under-estimated.