Trailblazer, Jon Christley, is pretty sure he was one of the original Tailwind users as he’s been using it for so long he can’t even remember when he started. As an ultra runner based in Arizona, he trains in pretty intense heat and has come to depend on Tailwind to keep him hydrated and fueled on these long training runs and races. Just last weekend, he ran the Hypnosis 54K in AZ that saw temperatures hovering above 100 degrees. We were so impressed with his solid finish, that we thought we’d ask him to talk about his experience on the blog this week.

Jon at San Diego 100

Q + A with Trailblazer Jon Christley….who just ran a 54K…in 106 degree weather…and is about to run the Leadville Trail 100

What distance do you normally compete? Ultras, Marathons, etc….

I normally compete in the Ultra scene ranging from the 50k range and up to the Hundo’s. In 2017, my goal is to complete 2 Hundo’s(SD100 and LT100) while sprinkling in an ultra race almost every month leading up to them.

How did Tailwind help you in the Hypnosis 54K while you were dealing with such extreme temps? 

For this race I was using a Nathan Vapor Krar 4L with a 1.5L Hydrapak bladder and two frozen soft flasks of Naked Tailwind. Normally not a fan of icing down my drink bladder, this night was the exception to this rule as I knew the heat was going to be at its worst when we arrived, at 106º!

To prevent that full feeling one can get, I kept my consumption around 200 – 250 cal/hr in the heat. The soft flasks were doubled up doses of Tailwind which I augmented with a second bottle of around 30 – 40oz of water. I found this system to work really well for me and I really started to consume my Tailwind about an hour into the race. As far as flavors, I kept it simple with the Naked flavor for as long as possible, but also added in caffeinated flavors, Green Tea Buzz and Tropical Buzz in the later stages of the race. For me, the least amount of flavor in heat like that is much better on my stomach and minimizes all the variables that might lead to me feeling blah.

Unfortunately, in the last four miles I ran out of Tailwind, but since I was close to the finish I just concentrated on my water intake. Throughout the race and afterwards, I never felt dehydrated, overhydrated or anything except good…I did keep cool with ice and cold bandanas, because in those temps you’ve got to do whatever you can to stay cooled off!

Explain your philosophy on diet and nutrition overall when racing.

I am pretty much of the opinion this subject is both simple and complex. The simple part is.. eat whole foods and from clean sources!! Vary the diet with the types of training you do. Eat and adjust caloric intake based on intensity, duration and recovery. Know when to use the fuel that you planned to use. Don’t let those shiny “squirrels” at an aid station derail your hard-earned race experience. Using Tailwind in any shape or form (diluted, concentrated etc.) has never seemed to bother me but I do find mixing as prescribed is the easiest to manage both for you as an athlete but for your support crew during an event.

What specific goals has Tailwind enabled you to accomplish?

Tailwind itself no doubt has contributed to a ZERO DNF history for me and my racing over the years. I am fortunate enough to have little to no stomach issues consuming Tailwind. I’ve done numerous ultras, R2R2R’s, just recently finished the San Diego 100, and plan to do more with Tailwind at my side.  

What do you jam to while running?

The pitter pattering sounds of feet on dirt and conversation! 🙂 I used to run with tunes but hardly ever do anymore. I have an awesome pacer and training partner who is chatty which is super awesome for me and IF I had to get some tunes going, it’s usually rock (Five Finger Death Punch, Alter Bridge, Tool, and the like).

Anything else you would like to share that you think our followers would be interested in learning about your sport or how you use Tailwind with your diet?

I am not a vegan runner but have cut back considerably on meat over the years to train for racing. I do incorporate a high fat diet and will tend to use Tailwind only on longer runs and only after 90 min into the run/race. A little known fact and tip perhaps is that I ALSO put Tailwind in my recovery shake which helps replace the glycogen stores immediately and this is usually mixed in with a plant based protein, turmeric, spirulina and some shakes of cinnamon. In rare cases I will pre-hydrate the evening before with some Tailwind if I am feeling I need some extra electrolytes and especially during hotter months here in Arizona.

San Diego 100 - 1st full crew stop - Jon Christley

1 Comment

  1. Great article! I, too, swear by Tailwind! It’s the only drink I’ve used since getting into trail running from road running / cycling several years ago. I run primarily in the mountains of Virginia so we have the humidity to go along with heat. Tailwind keeps me fueled and hydrated on every run longer than an hour! Love the Raspberry! Keep up the great work!

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