Dan'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.
Dan once again showed his ability to tolerate a large carb intake whilst running at high intensities. He cleverly used the slightly different format of his gels to his advantage on this course which involved lots of elevation changes. On the more technical trails during the first section of the race he took his smaller PF 30 Gels which meant he felt more nimble and had the option of caffeine, before having the bigger PF 90 Gels when he was rolling along the flatter and less technically challenging terrain.
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 Dan’s losses are on the low side, getting his hydration strategy right is still important if he wants to perform at his best.Learn more
Although this race was tricky for Dan to get his hydration on board logistically, he was able to execute his pre-planned strategy very well. He was even able to time his drinking so that his soft flasks were a bit lighter once he got to the tougher uphill efforts. Dan did experience a stitch in the last 10km of the race, which he thought may be due to the sheer volume of fuel he’d taken up until that point. A large contributing factor to stitches or ‘Exercise-Related Transient Abdominal Pain’ (ETAP) is actually dehydration reducing blood flow around the gut, which in combination with his aggressive fueling strategy, is likely to have been the leading cause of his discomfort in Te Anau. Dan’s hydration strategy relied on him picking up some plain water from aid stations to achieve a relative sodium concentration close to his sweat losses. As it played out, this didn’t happen which meant he slightly ‘over-salted’ relative to how much he needed to drink in the mild temperature.
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.
Just as he thought about the most tactically advantageous way to get his fuel on board, Dan showed his racing nous by adjusting the timing of his caffeine intake based on the course topography, to elicit maximal performance benefits during the sections of the race when he needed it most. This meant that he took his first PF 30 Caffeine Gel shortly before 30 minutes of running, so that it would peak in his bloodstream at the same time as he was reaching the toughest part of the first climb.
How Dan hit his numbers
Here's everything that Dan ate and drank on the day...
Dan's weapons of choice
Dan's full stats
There is an adequate level of accuracy in the data collected and the numbers reported. The athlete manages to recall what they ate and drank including most specifics (brands flavours quantities plausible estimations of volumes). However there are estimations made within the data which affect the overall confidence level in the data reported.