Marathoner in Training (Part II)

Sunday will mark 3 weeks out until race day.  Feel a bit nauseous? Don’t worry, me too. For the past week I have been googling marathon training burnout because I don’t know what is up with me.  Even if I don’t have a scheduled run, you can usually find me doing something like yoga, or biking, or Zumba-ing.  Not lately.  It’s all I can do to lace my runners and get out the door.  I am still doing it though, so I guess that counts for something right.  One thing I have been trying to pay closer attention to is how I fuel my run.  And I don’t mean the post long-run carb fest or french toast at Padmanadi.

Fueling during a run, like most things about running, is different for everyone.  I personally prefer water to sports drinks, but that means I need to take in more semi-solid chews or gels which may or may not bode well for a nervous race day stomach.

Based on this handy chart, the general rule of thumb is to consume no more than one Gel pack (or 25 grams of carbs) every five miles.  So at my pace, that would be one every 4o minutes, or 5-6 over a 4 hour marathon.  I read once that Lance Armstrong took in 13 gels during the Boston Marathon.  That seems excessive, but who am I to judge his greatness.

Lately on our 3 1/2 hour runs, I have been having one pack of clif bloks (6) and one gel.  If I chose to drink Gatorade instead of water, this would lessen the needs for gels due to the carbs I would be drinking. That would also mean a more constant stream of glucose… which may or may not be a good thing.  Also important:

Water intake is critical to proper gel assimilation and we recommend consuming 16 ounces of water for each gel pack consumed. This does NOT mean that you should drink 16 ounces all at once, but you should drink 16 ounces before you rip open your second gel pack (and so on).

I run with a Camelbak like this one, which according to the website holds water for 1.5 hrs.  It seems to last me closer to 3, which leaves me a bit concerned about how much water I am drinking.  Yikes!

For those of you who are not into the artificial flavours and processed sugar in gels, Brendan Brazier of Thrive nutrition and Vega products has his own recipe that he uses:

  • 4 dates
  • 1/2 cup raw agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp dulse
  • Sea salt to taste
Something about the dulse in there makes me feel a bit off, but whatever works right!

So the options are:

  1. Pack gels/chews, drink water
  2. Pack gels, drink water from my Camelbak but take Gatorade at rest stops
  3. Fill Camelbak with Gatorade and lessen the need for gels or clif bloks.
I would love to hear your opinions or about your experiences on race day.  As long as I can get fluid and fuel in and keep it down I will be one happy camper.
3 more weeks! That’s gravy : )

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