Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fueling and Minimal from 1948

While I was running with the Iron Mtn crowd on July 4th, my wife bought me a nice little book called "Walking With Spring" by Earl Shaffer. Earl was the first known person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1948. (124 days- unaided) It was a great read... enjoyed the descriptions of the parts of the trail I have hiked (and run) and imagining the sections I have yet to hike.

A couple of things jumped out at me as I read his account from 63 years ago:

He wrote this after eating a big meal: "Almost instantly my legs lost that 'leaden' feeling and I felt like hiking again. Despite no unusual sensation of hunger my legs felt better after eating. From that point on my strength increased and so did my food bill."
I wonder how long it took for exercise physiologists, coaches, distance runners, marathoners, ultra runners to figure out our legs need calories even when we're not tired or hungry.... Ole Earl had it figured out in 1948.

Somewhere in Southwest Virginia the soles of his shoes had worn thin and he found a cobbler to resole his boots: "He half-soled my boots while I lunched on cookies and milk obtained at the grocery counter . I wanted to try walking without heels like the Indians did, so told him not to replace them. He finally agreed but joined the growing list of people who doubted my sanity."

I thought it was pretty cool how Earl was certainly ahead of his time. I was halfway waiting for him to say he needed to "Oil the Machine" with some Udo's 3-6-9 blend!!


  1. Thanks for sharing and I will add this to my to buy list.

  2. Looks like a good read. I'm certain that consistent fueling is one of my weak points and that gels are not the answer to proper fueling. I think JJ is heading in the right direction with his concoctions. must start experimenting with some easily digested, easily packed/carried, real food.