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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I TiVo'd the Olympic trials for the men and watch is about once a week (I like Ryan Hall's fist-pumping boyishness), and around (I think) 20 miles Dathan opens a gel and takes it down. The announcers explain the product, which is fine, but I wonder if it's rare that elite marathoners need much more than water during a marathon. Is that typical? Or do they gel/Gatorade (or what have you) like the rest of us ("us" being non-elites).<br><br>
Thoughts?
 

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An elite taking a gel in a marathon is a rare sight indeed. Since an elite male can run a marathon in 2:05 - 2:20 that's simply not enough time out there to really benefit from a gel. Most elites will do sports drinks, some adding their own electrolyte tablets such as E-Caps, an electrolyte - salt tablet. Many marathons allow elites to have their own bottles at special tables along the way.
 

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Doctor Wu is right. I believe you can run for about 2 hours before needing to refuel. I'm not talking sport drinks, but stuff like gels. I'd guess that the elites either take one gel or just gut out the last 10-15 minutes.
 

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Sports drinks, gels, same thing, different package. Elites get to have their own special formula in their own bottle at each water stop so there is no need to carry gels. Gels are for us mere mortals who don't have our aid stations catered.<br><br>
It is true that elite marathoners are more efficient and lighter than us and therefore burn fewer calories per mile. But I would bet that their pace dictates a high percentage of the calories they burn comes from carbs, where MOP and BOP marathoners are burning a higher percentage of fat.<br><br>
Victor
 

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Noakes has investigated a lot of research on the subject of fuelling while exercising and says you can benefit from this technique in races as short as an hour. Your body derives a percentage of energy from fat, and the remainder from blood sugar and muscle glycogen. The percent coming from fat will drop as you increase pace. The percent coming from blood sugar will rise by the same amount to compensate. Your body stores blood sugar in your liver, and has a relatively limited supply that will eventually run out. Obviously, the faster you run, the quicker your supply will run out. If an elite wants to run a little bit faster than their supply will allow they can do so if they intake carbs to supplement their internal supply.<br><br>
So, yes, elites will benefit from carb intake during a race. However as Wu points out, their need for carbs is less than yours or mine because they will be racing far less time.
 

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from my experience, don't ask a 2:16 marathoner how many gels they require for a marathon.......just sayin' <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif"><br><br><br>
Tigger- where can I find that info???
 

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I've always run on that premise. However, and maybe Ritz's action may acknowliege this: like Tigger said the faster pace will burn faster. I've always made it to mile 18 on "stores". However, I was running a marathon 15 seconds faster than my previous 10 marathons and at mile 25 my body shut down, eventhough I reached 18 mile marker quicker so was taking in fuel at an earlier time. I'm just wondering if Ritz had a "safety" gel, because as you and Wu have stated, we usually see elites getting everything in a bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The announcer mentioned that Ritz had "bonked" during his 2006 ING marathon debut, and that he felt it would benefit himself during the trials if he took in a gel. It had not occurred to me before hearing this information that elite marathoners do not use gels to benefit their performance. I also wondered if they did have a more specialized formula in their bottles (I do know that the elites have their own marked bottles) that would replace the need for gels. And when you're attempting to not only qualify but win a marathon, I'd imagine that gels, which can be cumbersome, would only slow them down.<br><br>
And, I did notice that Sell, Hall and Meb took their pace down the slightest notch while he took in a gel. Did anyone else notice that? I thought that was interesting. A show of respect?<br><br>
Very interesting. Another reason I ask this question is because I am fuel-dependent during my long runs. I've considered challenging my need to use gels as I am learning more and more how to use nutrition to better my performance on long runs. I am a back of the pack runner. I'll never be an elite. But I can still learn from elites.<br><br>
The above information makes sense. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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everyone's individual, I guess you can only know by trying. I take a gel approaching mile 10 of a 1/2. I've had people tell me that "No way is that helping you, it must be psychological". Well, I tried a half without a gel and I got to mile 11 and didn't think I'd finish. Self-fulfilling prophecy??? A few years ago, I was lining up for half and freaking because the race was gonna start and I didn't have a gel. Mr. fast guy lined up in front of me hands me one and I say "are you sure" him: "i only really need one". So if a 1:15 guy takes a gel for a half, I will not be shamed out of mine.
 

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Noakes has a chart in his book (indeed, he has a whole chapter devoted to energy consumption) that shows the percent of VO2 max vs time that one can run on stored energy reserves. There are two lines. One is for liver glycogen and the other is for muscle glycogen. The liver glycogen curve is the limiting factor. For example (I am going on memory here) At 75% of VO2 max (80% MHR) one can run for approximately 4 hrs. Then the liver refuses to give up any more glycogen.<br><br>
Liver glycogen can be supplemented by ingestion and adsorbtion directly into the bloodstream. The optimal amount appears to be around 1 gram per minute if memory serves me correctly. The effect of this is to reduce liver glycogen supply, thereby conserving it for future use if required.<br><br>
I'll finish this later..........
 

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Good discussion here. IMO, Tigger is spot on with the Noakes reference. Running faster burns more gylcogen. Everyone has a finite amount to store.<br><br>
Isn't it counter-intuitve to believe that an elite marathoner does not need to eat anything for a 2:30 training run, but would need a few grams of carbs in order to race for 2:06 marathon. I don't know any elite marathoners. I guess I'd like to know, too.<br><br>
My guess is elites require very little (50-150 calories) carbs to stay fueled for the entire duration. How comsumed? By drinking faster-digesting liquids in their bottles.<br><br>
Why more pros do not use gels? Eating solid food is a detriment because blood is taken away to help the stomach digest. When running at marathon race pace, that blood is better served helping the muscles move and/or assist the skin regulate perspiration.<br><br>
For this reason, I've come to believe (in my own mind) that I've had success in some races taking 1/2 gels. Less digestion involved. I digress.
 

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In my next big race, I'm not taking any gels and that will make me an elite runner...right?!<br><br>
I've often wondered what is in their personalized bottles.
 

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Regardless of "efficiency", my guess is that they take something. And that something is most likely in their bottles at the aid stations. Those special bottles aren't labled just for looks. My bet is that what they are taking (legally of course) is something us nonelites could not get our hands on in the nearest running store or race expo.
 

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Not weighing in on whether it helps...just passing on a Khannouchi interview I read years ago where he said he only takes water during a marathon. That way if he misses his bottle, he can grab a cup from the masses table and get the same thing. Whereas if he had a superspecial concoction and missed it he might then have opportunity to talk to himself about what he had missed and why he was feeling bad. Maybe physiologically suboptimal, but the man exudes mental toughness at a level that is incomprehensible to me on most days as I'm running and whining about my weary legs at 10 minute pace...<br><br>
I'm still amazed that Khannouchi managed to finish fourth in the OT a couple weeks after getting fitted for orthotics. Which is not to denigrate the performance of the three that beat him, it is a fantastic team for the Olympics in my opinion.
 

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3/4 strengths gatorade or some sort of replacement fluid or even just plain water.<br>
Just depends on the athlete. Most elites are pretty attuned to their individual requirements that have been "tweeked" out during training. There are really no secret<br>
formulas. Cheers
 

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<br>
I'm back!<br><br>
Of course, all of this is based on the proverbial "average" runner, but not all of us sit on the median. Some are natural (genetics) high fat/low carb burners who may get very little benefit from energy supplements. Others are natural low fat/high carb burners who might still crash and burn at mile 20 in spite of taking an optimum amount of carbs on board as they go. I suspect people who benefit most from low heart rate training would also benefit most from energy supplements because they seem to burn more carbs than fat at faster paces.<br><br>
So you have to experiment a bit to see if they are beneficial to you. I've run 5 marathons and crashed in all 5 of them. The longest I lasted was about 35 or 36 km, and in that one I was using it as a training run, so was running more slowly than my races. In my upcoming marathon (Feb 17) I'll be taking a gel every half hour right from the start, and will drink gatorade all the way too, in order to ensure I stay "topped" up.
 

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I thought Deena just used cytomax. Most elites don't use the general preference of RD--gatorade. Nonelites can get cytomax, accelerade, etc. Many can have their friends hand it to them. The RD needs to have control of what the elites are given, which is why their bottles are given to them the day before the race.
 

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I'm not elite and take well over 2 hours to run a marathon...but these are my ramblings before I head out for a workout.<br><br>
I have always wanted to do a better job of trying things in training in terms of fueling because it is not anything that I have really experimented with in an organized fashion. I just haven't had the patience to experiment, nor the team to help me get things like special fluids stored on a long run route and I'm not willing to set it out and then go for the run, turning a 2:45 affair into a 4 hour affair (driving and stashing, then running).<br><br>
My own approach has varied greatly over the years. When I started running, I used gels religiously. I also took fluids with me on every long run. At some point I switched to Accelerade. It might have helped, but it tasted gross and was expensive and I quit and didn't feel I felt a difference. In the last few years, I've basically quit taking fluids on most long runs. Last week I did 22, with the last 6 at MP and I had around 1/4 c. of water before I left and 1/2 c. with a gel after stopping at home at mile 12. That was it.<br><br>
Before the last marathon I ran, I decided I was going to try to incorporate gels again. I used them in training. Got to the start line and realized I had left them all in my warm ups in my gear bag. Thankfully, I knew that I had run many marathons on nothing other than Gatorade and water, so I didn't panic. Honestly, often by late in a marathon, my stomach won't tolerate anything other than fluids. I ran my at that marathon.<br><br>
Here's what I can say from personal observation at the last women's marathon Trials special fluids drop off - people vary enormously in terms of what they use. Many of the women attached gels to their water bottles. I did that. It was a great way to be able to get them easily, along with some water. So, for some water bottles, I taped the gel and then just had water in the bottle. My other bottles had different flavors of Powerade. I tend to get to the point where I can't stand the same sticky taste, so I thought that might help me down some fluids. Many of the women had specialized fluids. I really couldn't tell you what they were. I expect they are a variety of formulas. Nothing is refrigerated, so the fluids have to be able to be stored at room temps overnight.<br><br>
I know there are scientific benefits to getting this right, but I do also think that the ability to get by if you miss fluids, etc., is essential to running well and confidently.
 

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English was his second language, but he definitely understood me.<img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 
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