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Fuelling - Marathon Specific

The subject of nutrition was touched upon in the general nutrition section so hopefully you have read that one first. If not, go back and have a read as that’s a good starting point. For those increasing the distances with a view to running marathon and beyond, here is some specific signposting.

Runners Connect have published some very good articles on the subject.

Read the full articles:

The science of bonking and glycogen depletion – Click Here

Long runs on empty stomach or fully fuelled – Click Here

Marathon nutrition – Practice makes perfect – Click Here

Sugar (Carbohydrate)
Sugar has many names and the average gel, sports drink or product will contain exclusively sugar, sugars, artificial sweeteners and flavourings etc. This CAN lead to gastric issues for some people. Check the label of your sports product and don’t be misled by a gel that lists various ingredients that are really just sugar by a different name. This list found on “My fitness pal” is a bit americanised but will give you an idea. Have a look at the label on your sports gel or drink and see if the ingredients are listed there.

Try a different approach
Nutrition for endurance running is very much an individual thing. Hopefully you will have begun to think about the theory of maximising the efficiency of fat utilisation during training and prolonging your carbohydrate stores. The above articles should have given you a bit of an insight.

If you experience stomach problems with sports products, try experimenting with some other easily digested and absorbed food and maybe alternate that with your gel, drink or other sports product.  During training, experiment with your fuel so you can really practise and become comfortable with what works for you. Don't write off a particular product without experimenting with how you take it. It could just be that you're overloading your system with sugar which will make you sick. For example, play around with how often and what quantity at a time you are taking a gel. Have a small mouthful less often instead of a whole gel at a time. Below is a good article from Jeff Gaudette at Competitor.com
Read the full article - Click Here    

Remember that during training you are practising and refining your race day nutrition strategy, whatever that is. You have around 90mins to 2hrs of carbohydrate stored in your muscles & liver depending on the pace you're running. The higher the intensity, the higher % of carbohydrate you will be burning. Don't be afraid to try different things in training. Bear in mind that your body can only absorb aprox 60g of carbohydrate and 350cals an hour so don’t overdo it. Of course it's important not to under do it either if you want to avoid bonking so get used to your fuel of choice in the months of training before your event.  A typical energy gel has around 22-25g of carbohydrates and around 100-120 calories.  

Think about your next event, your pace and the time you're going to be out. What are you most likely to fancy taking? If anyone has done the Beachy Head Marathon, the typical aid station pretty much reflects the range of options worth a try. 

If you have any queries or questions about fuelling for marathon distance or over, please email us at Burgess Hill Runners - click here