🍌𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝘂𝗲𝗹 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴?🍌
Before going deeper in discussing fueling strategies, we need to understand that our body can burn upward of 750 or more calories/hour, while our body can digest only 200‒250 calories/hour. Interesting...
𝘽𝙪𝙩... 𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙣?
It means that runners are essentially a cup with a small hole in the bottom. The goal is not to end up as an empty cup (i.e., hitting the wall). As it is not possible to replace all the calories expended during a race, the goal is to replace enough calories so that the body can continue working without any, or with only a minimal decrease in performance.
✅In addition to that, nutritional needs are highly individual. What works for one person may not work for another and, finding the right strategy for your needs requires a bit of experimentation. It is essential to individualize nutritional strategies because each athlete requires different caloric needs and tolerates food and drink differently.
⚠️During a race, it is very easy to get caught up in all the excitement and get thrown off the fueling strategy. This is especially the case with beginners 🙂 If you carry your own fuel during a run or race, a tip to help stay on track is to set an alarm to go off at set intervals to remind you to fuel. This is assuming that you fuel at set intervals versus fueling when thirsty or hungry.⚠️
✅For events or training lasting longer than one hour, common fuels to maintain glucose levels include:
• Sports drinks
• Diluted juices (1/2 strength)
• Energy bar/gel + water
• Fruit and water
➡️10K or Less
For races or training of 10k or less, it is not necessary to fuel. Assuming you fueled properly prior to the run, you have approximately a 90- minute window in which to run without additional fuel. However, if fuel is used, drinks are typically the best source. The closer to the 90-minute point, the more fueling comes into play.
➡️Half Marathon and Marathon
For marathon and half marathon distance in which the estimated running time is greater than 1:30, you should aim to consume 0.32 to 0.45 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per hour. An athlete’s tolerance of carbohydrate intake will ultimately determine how many carbs are consumed per hour.
If you do not carry your own gels/drinks you should be aware of exactly where on the race course the rest stops are and what specific foods/drinks they have. Ideally, this information (e.g., flavor and brand of the gel) can be ascertained prior to the event so that you can train with these exact fueling products.
Based on your weight and food tolerance, you should try to take in between 120 and 250 calories/hour when running or racing distances longer than 1–1.5 hours in duration.
If you are susceptible to stomach cramps when drinking too much fluid before or during a run, it is advised to carry a small bottle (i.e., handheld or flask on belt) while running and sip sporadically throughout the run. Taking smaller sips and allowing the body to absorb the liquids will reduce the chance of stomach cramping.
➡️Fueling for Ultra-marathons
Like for marathon distance, fueling should be based on your weight and food tolerance. It would be best if you took in between 120 and 250 calories/hour. However, especially for longer ultras, where you will probably feel hungry as you skip meals, you should include solid food and consider alternating calories coming from liquid and solid sources.
⭕️Something to keep in mind is the fact that our digestive system is as trainable as our legs, and therefore, you should try out and train your nutrition strategy in training before a race.⭕️
☢️𝙄𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩. Do not try anything new on race day or something that hasn’t been tested in training with success.☢️