Preventing the Dreaded "Wall" in Marathon Running
Hitting the wall is a runner's nightmare, where your body exhausts its glycogen reserves and you're left feeling drained. To sidestep this, it's crucial to start fueling early in the race. Don't wait until fatigue sets in to take energy on board. Begin with a GO Isotonic Energy Gel after the first 20 minutes and maintain a steady intake of 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This proactive approach ensures your body has the energy it needs when it needs it most.
Optimal Pre-Marathon Nutrition: Carbo-Loading and More
In the lead-up to your marathon, while you taper your training, ramp up your carbohydrate intake. Aim for 8-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight daily for two days before the event. Stick to familiar, carb-rich foods like cereals and bread, and avoid high-fat, high-protein, or spicy foods. On race day, have a carbohydrate-based breakfast 2-3 hours before the start, mirroring what you've eaten before training runs.
The Role of Gels in Marathon Training and Racing
Gels aren't just for race day. Implement a "train as you race" strategy, practicing your sports nutrition plan during training sessions. This approach helps your body adapt and allows you to fine-tune your plan. On lighter training days, reduce carb intake ("train low"), and on more intense days, fully simulate your marathon nutrition plan ("train high"). This balance helps you experience the benefits of both fasted training and fueled sessions.
Post-Marathon Recovery: Nutrition is Key
Recovery is multifaceted, involving carbohydrates for energy replenishment, proteins for muscle repair, hydration to restore fluid balance, and vitamins to support immune function. Post-exercise, your muscles are primed to absorb nutrients more effectively. Capitalise on this by consuming a REGO Rapid Recovery shake within 30-60 minutes after your run.
Managing Gel-Induced Stomach Upset
Gel consistency and composition can affect digestion and potentially cause stomach issues. Thicker, simple sugar-based gels require more fluid to digest, which is why they're often taken with water. Fructose, in particular, can increase gastrointestinal distress. To minimize this, choose isotonic gels like the GO Isotonic Energy Gel and limit high fructose intake during exercise.
Gel Intake Frequency During a Marathon
For optimal performance, consume 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This equates to about three GO Isotonic Energy Gels every hour. Start your gel intake 20 minutes into the marathon and consider complementing them with other energy sources, such as GO Electrolyte.
Strategic Use of Caffeine in Marathons
Caffeine can be a powerful ally in marathons, reducing fatigue perception. However, its effects vary among individuals. Generally, limit your intake to 200-300 mg on race day. This could be from 2-4 gels containing 75 mg of caffeine each or two gels with 150 mg. Time your caffeine intake for 30-60 minutes before you need that extra boost, usually in the last hour of the marathon.
Hydration Strategy: More Than Just Water
Hydration needs vary based on individual sweat rates. Aim to avoid losing more than 2-3% of your body mass. Monitor your hydration by weighing yourself before and after training runs. Typically, you should aim for 500-1000 ml of fluid per hour. Remember, it's not just about water; include electrolytes like GO Hydro to maintain blood sodium levels and enhance fluid absorption.
The Importance of Electrolytes in Marathon Hydration
While hydrating, it's crucial to include electrolytes in your regimen. Sodium, lost through sweat, is essential for retaining and absorbing fluids. Drinking only water can lead to hyponatremia (low blood sodium). Electrolyte supplements like GO Hydro can help maintain the right balance.
Your Marathon Questions Answered
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