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This topic grew out of another thread, for reference:<br><a href="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14337" target="_blank">http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14337</a><br><br>
What is your fueling strategy during a marathon?<br><br>
I have been doing gel every 5-6 miles or so, alternate sipping water or Gatorade if available (I will not touch any other sports drink but Gatorade agrees with me) at every station, except after taking the Gus, I have stopped as quickly as possible and drank at least a good 1-2 cups of water before taking off again.<br><br>
Based on the other thread and information I got at a running clinic last weekend, I'm curious about the idea of spacing out drinking a bit more but taking in more.<br><br>
I've also been told that Gatorade needs enough time to absorb fully in order for gels to absorb fully with water. That makes sense and does seem to be a strike against sports drink except at the very end of a marathon.<br><br>
Then there's the matter of actually getting the liquid into the body! I just practiced the pinch the cup and keep your hand over the top while drinking last weekend. It wasn't perfect but much better than trying to run and drink from an open cup as I have in the past. One person I spoke with carries short straws, but that seems like another object to possibly be dropped, or just to keep track of on the course.<br><br>
I'm interested to see how some of you do it, and what works for you.
 

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Well, here is one thing I've noticed about myself: Drinking Gatorade always makes my tummy ache and I spend half a mile feeling not okay. So, once I got my strap-on I started experimenting with carrying it along with diluted Gatorade endurance and just drinking from it at least once per mile and I found that I felt much better doing that, so that's what I did for my last marathon and I think it worked out very well.<br><br>
I also take Clif Bloks, but I am not completely sure if I've got the timing down on that yet. Like, I have taken gels and the equivalent early on, but lately, I've been waiting until later, like 14-16 miles in and then taking another every 3-4 miles after that along with water. I feel like it gave me a boost when I really needed it, but I do wonder if I am doing myself a disservice by not taking them earlier on in the race.
 

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I stick with water for runs under 8 miles<br>
for longish runs I drink gatorade (no water at all) - after the first 5 miles or so, then after every 3<br>
for long runs, say more than 14 miles I do chocolate GU and water (no gatorade at all)<br><br>
for races I will take gatorade or water every possible change during warm weather. For cool weather, maybe after the first 3 miles, then whenever I can get it UNLESS my stomach is sloshy, then I will pass it by
 

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I think I got some very good advice for my first marathon: "Once you take a gel, you must keep taking them."<br><br>
It was my army roommate who talked me into the marathon, and who advised me that once I take a gel that I spike my blood sugar. The spike lasts only so long and if not replentished, the blood sugar drops to the level lower than before the first gel. It can get ugly quickly, I was told.<br><br>
To this day, I still use the concept. For a marathon, the fuel strategy is fairly specific now:<br><br>
- Water every chance<br>
- Succeed capsule (electrolytes): First one at 30 or 60 minutes and every hour thereafter (2-3 total.) Depends on sweat rate.<br>
- Gel: First one at 70-75 minutes, and again every 30-35 minutes to the end (3-4 gels total.)<br>
- In the last thirty minutes of the race (~4 miles) I might take Gatorade if I need the last energy boost to the finish. Gatorade ingests and absorbs faster than a gel.<br><br>
I'd also say that it depends on your carb-load. Some eat a larger breakfast and top off more. Others who carb-load less might want a gel at 45 minutes. Who knows?<br><br>
A technique: Half-gels seem to digest more easily. Some races, like the Flying Pig, have water stations every mile. I'll take half a gel, hold on to the packet, and eat the rest 7-8 minutes later at the next water stop. I have no physiological basis, but I have heard that when taking gel that blood rushes to the stomach for the digestion process. This blood volume is allegedly taken away from the running muscles and hinders the ability to run. Eating a smaller portion causes less blood flow to the stomach. Physiologists: Am I off base?<br><br>
In my last race in GR, water stops were 1.5 miles apart. I did the half-gel technique once there at miles 20 and 21. It worked out very well for me.<br><br>
Aside: I drink Gatorade pre-race. In the race, I avoid Gatorade for two reasons. One, you never know the flavor or concentration of what they'll hand you on race day. I cannot control the amount of electrolyte or carbohydrate consumed. Two, there is no choice in beverage. I'm stuck with what's available and some races have funky energy drinks. Using capsules has eliminated the need for Gatorade, or the sort. I do agree with using Gatorade late in the last 30 minutes. Its available, and an easy way to keep the blood sugar high enough for the surge to the finish. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
"Fueling" is a good word for the topic. Lost in talk of all the energy/calorie/electrolyte consumption is the importance of fluids. Drinking early, and often, is the catalyst to deliver the electrolyte and carbohydrate to the muscles. Its no surprise that dehydration is a show-stopper. What is surprising is that even with this knowledge, some cannot execute the necessary fluid consumption. Inevitably, some fail to fuel and a slowdown occurs. I have been there.<br><br>
Thanks for staring the topic. Good threads, these two about marathon carb-load and race fueling.
 

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According to Noakes.....<br><br>
Your body gets glucose from two sources...stored muscle glucose and stored liver glucose. Muscle glucose is the largest quantity and will usually last for the entire marathon as long as you don't run over your proper pace. Liver glucose supplies the brain and to some degree the muscles, and will usually run out before muscle stores are used up. When this happens you become hypoglycemic, or low on blood sugar. You can supplement liver stores by ingesting low quantities of glucose at regular intervals during the race. If you take in too much your blood sugar will spike and insulin levels will rise to remove the excess blood glucose and store it temporarily in the liver. So it is important to ingest SOME glucose, but not more than your body can utilize properly. This is the reason gatorade has a specific concentration of glucose, and not more.<br><br><br>
Carbo loading immediately before a race is a bad idea because it raises blood sugar levels and triggers an insulin rise at a point where you least want it. Better to go into the race not having eaten. Or to eat a few hours before the race.
 

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I haven't run as far as a marathon, but in my tris I wear an amphipod belt on the run with 2 small bottles of water and 2 bottles of Infinit and sip on them as I go. I like to carry what I'm used to because I never know what they'll have in the races and a lot of stuff doesn't agree with my stomach. Also, I've never mastered drinking from those cups while running.
 

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During runs, I drink water only up to and including 13.1 miles, unless that is my long run. (Then I think practicing fueling over 10 mi is a good idea because I didn't for my first marathon and my stomach was mad at me marathon day)<br><br>
Past that, I add Powergels starting at 1 hour than every half hour. Clif shots are too thick and hurt my stomach, though I love the leash they have and wish Powergel would adopt it.<br><br>
During races, I might alternate sportsbeverageataidstation with water and no gels -- except for the marathon distance-- where the gels come in with at hour, half hour thing I mentioned above. I'll walk the aid stations or I'll end up with liquid all over me.
 

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sorry if you've already read my story (seems like i type it over and over):<br><br>
during the past 3 years i've focused on marathon training, and i had three bonks on attempts to break 3 hours. training was similar, peaking 70-85miles, 45 miles per week avg. for the year, speed work, etc. in my bonks i would drink the sports drink available at every aid station. in each bonk i would crash at exactly 2 hours; in training i had run 1:45 at race pace, and up to 5 20+ mile trainers... in one case i had run 2 26 mile pre-race trainers, each at about 3:35. never used gels, just sports drink.<br><br>
i would bonk with hypoglycemia-like symptoms. in hartford '06 i went from calm and hardly breathing to bonk (dizzy, can't focus), run-walk the last hour. the heart rate plots are pretty darn identical for all three bonks; near 2 hours my heart rate starts slipping as i can't seem to maintain the effort... and after 10-12 minutes of struggling i bonk and end up walking or sitting on the sidewalk and crying. it's consistent with depleting my liver supplies at 2 hours, and then burning through my blood volume glucose (assuming 5% glucose in solution) during that 12 minute slide into bonk-dom.<br><br>
i started using gels: most of us can ingest 200-300 cals per hour during a marathon, and i computed that i wasn't getting anywhere near that by drinking sports drink (assuming 5% solution). i practiced with gels in training, even in some speed work sessions, to get the technique down.<br><br>
in phoenix this year i took a gel every 4 miles. it's a little much to carry, but the results convinced me: 1:31 first half (waiting to bonk), 1:27 second half. i ran 6:35's from mile 18 on, after i joyfully discovered i wasn't bonking. in boston this year i used the same strategy... although my training sucked (injured in february) and only ran 3:05... no bonk though.<br><br>
from reading noakes it seems like my liver stores can't supply more than 2 hours at race pace, and i need to ingest serious carbs to keep my brain and central nervous system going. 2 gels/hour is like drinking a liter of gatorade per hour... i can't drink that much in a race. not many marathoners suffer like this apparently, but people who have used this gel strategy (or something similar) have seemed to be happy with it.<br><br>
gel early and gel often is my suggestion.
 

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<br><br><span style="color:#000000;">Hi Tigger,</span><br><br><span style="color:#000000;">I was wondering if that whole paragraph was a quote from Noakes or just the first sentence. The reason I ask is that I believe I remember reading that once you start running, the insulin effect doesn't happen. That is why is it OK to take some carbs w/in fifteen minutes of a race start, but other than that, stay away from carbs within 2-hours of a race start.</span><br><br><span style="color:#000000;">Thanks,</span><br><span style="color:#000000;">Victor</span>
 

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My post was a paraphrase of Noakes. Since I wrote that, I've read other material supporting what you say. Energy immediately before a race is not bad. I have also learned that ingested energy will be absorbed into the blood at about 1.5 grams per minute, or around 100 grams per hr. If carbs, then this amounts to about 400 calories per hr. That is the equivalent of about 4 clif shots per hr I think.
 

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I also do that -- I finish breakfast > 2 hrs before a marathon, then eat or drink nothing until just before the marathon. Then I will eat half a banana and chug some Gatorade just before the start, on the assumption that insulin production will shut down once I start running. I haven't noticed a problem with this.<br><br>
During the race I drink Gatorade at every aid station, with an occasional water if I feel overloaded on Gatorade. Generally one gel, never more, around mile 16-17. My feeling has always been that you can get as many calories from Gatorade as you can from gels, and you don't have to worry about matching water consumption. But mcsolar suggests this is not the case. I guess I'll have to run some numbers.<br><br>
In 11 marathons, I've never bonked, I think... I have had a few rough finishes. But mostly those are caused by calf cramps. I'm not sure exactly what a bonk is supposed to feel like.<br><br>
In training, I never drink anything unless I'm running over 10 miles. For my first few marathons I trained with water only for long runs, the idea being to train my body to store as much glycogen as possible. But lately I've been using Gatorade for long runs, and I think that works out better. They take much less out of me, and I get in more quality training.
 

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You would have to drink two bottles of gatorade per hour to approach 400 cal per hour. That is not impossible, but may be difficult if you run 4 plus hrs.<br><br>
Turns out we do not all burn fat/carbs in the same ratio. Some people are natural fat burners, even at high percent of VO2 max, and conversely some people are natural carb burners, even at rest. Noakes reports research done on this in The Lore of Running. The implication to me is that some people will be capable of running a marathon without bonking and without energy supplements, while others will have to rely heavily on outside sources to avoid the zombie death march as they approach the finish.<br><br>
I think you are a much faster runner than I am. If you are close to 3 hrs for your marathons then you have the additional advantage of running within your liver glycogen supplies, which normally last about 3 hrs at 70 to 75% of VO2 max. So 4+ hr runners like me will have to either run at a lower percent of intensity or use energy management techniques.
 

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ok being a re-active hypoglycemic this topic is near and dear to me. I'm going to be discussing skate marathons which are ran so much differently.<br><br>
we don't set up tables, it's too hard to grab some little Dixie cup when you run by at 8MPH imagine 20MPH. so we tend to bring ours along the way with us for any race up to a marathon. i myself have two bottles that i put into pockets sewn into my skin suit. right hand is glucose/electrolytes/water. my left hand it Protien/glucose/electrolytes/water. i might grab a water bottle at a water/feed station and top off the bottles if i seem to be drinking more than anticipated. ETA for a 26.2 is ~90 minutes<br><br>
for ultrmarathons we have tents and pull off. my skating ultra has 6 tents in 87 miles and a roving water station (read out the back of a car) between the longest unmanned area. we have bins in which we can place our prepackaged goods in.<br><br>
i'll eat a small carb/protein meal about 3 hours before the race. i also have a small bottle of water and a bottle protein/carb/water up to the start of the race.For the race i try to have six bottles. two to start with, i know that i'll cross over two water/feed stations before the 1/2 distance race ends. the other four are saved for stations 4 and 6. i also load heavy the first two bottles since i plan to dilute them enroute.<br><br>
during the race i'll take a mouthful about every 10 minutes. with a pattern of two from the non-protien and then one from the protien. this tends to keep my glucose levels very balanced.<br><br>
ETA for 87 miles ~6:15:00
 
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