Yeah yeah. I know. This was supposed to be posted Saturday. But hey. The weather in Southern California is beautiful, so I took some time to enjoy the outdoors. Well – okay. I had to work. Boo hoo!
On Friday, I posted my starting line and pacing plans. Today I’m discussing my fueling plan. A good fueling plan needs to take three things into account: (1) what should I eat, (2) how much should I eat, and (3) how often should I eat it?
The best resources I’ve seen that discusses this issue are this one and this one from Hammer Nutrition. These are *excellent* technical articles. I would highly suggest that when you have time, follow the links and learn more than you’ll ever want to know.
Without getting overly technical (which means that I’m not going to defend these numbers here), here is what we burn and what we are able to replace during exercise:
|SUBSTANCE||RATE LOSS/hr||ASSIMILATION RATE|
|Fluids (ml)||30-90 oz||17-28 oz|
|Fuel (carb cell)||700-900||240-280|
The goal of a fueling strategy replace is to replace what we can assimilate. Less and you will visit the wall. More and suffer a whole host of issues – from swollen hands to gastric emptying (yucko!).
The last time I ran one of these abominations called a marathon, I fueled every three miles. This had a couple of positive side effects:
- Psychologically, I broke the race down into a series of 3 mile segments. My focus was short term (3,6,9,12,15,18,21 and 24 miles). I never got overwhelmed by the thought of 26.2.
- I downed one Hammer Gel and two Endurolyte capsules every three miles – about 260 calories and 80 mg of sodium an hour. I suffered no ill effects.
While my fuel situation was okay (I finished coherent and standing), my legs were fatigued by mile 14. Interestingly enough, on a couple of longish runs this training cycle (out beyond 12 miles) I also suffered leg fatigue. Reading through the articles, what appears to be happening is I’m just not ingesting enough sodium. So, on my last longish run, I up’ed the amount of electrolytes that I took by 50% with no stomach issues, and didn’t suffer the same fatigue that I had a couple weeks earlier. So with that in mind, here’s my fueling strategy:
- One Hammer Gel every three miles. That will equate to about 240 – 260 calories per hour. I’ll be using some caffeinated Hammer Gel (Espresso – 50 mg of caffeine) for the last three fuel points for that little added “boost”.
- Three Endurolyte capsules with every gel packet. That is about 6 Endurolytes an hour, which equates to about 250 mg of sodium. If I start feeling more fatigued, I will increase my sodium uptake using salt packets (assuming they are available on the course).
- Water. Often. About 30 ounces per hour. The small cups typically used are 3 ounces. I’ll supplement from my water belt as necessary. This should make for an interesting juggling exposition.
- I’ll stay away from the Powerade (course supplied drink) unless I just feel like I want something sweet. I usually get that craving toward the latter portions of the race. I’ll stay with small swigs.
So there you go. All that’s left is the Big Day. Oh. And the day before and the morning of. Remember how I said I like plans?