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3516 Views 30 Replies Latest reply: Sep 15, 2009 6:15 PM by dwm082 RSS 1 2 3 Previous Next
kudzurunner Rookie 525 posts since
Dec 6, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 20, 2007 9:54 PM

notes from the Old School:  gel-less marathoning

I've decided to make my forthcoming marathontwo weeks away, my first in 23 yearsa trip down memory lane, which is to say:  coffee and water only, with perhaps a few pieces of dried fruit a couple of hours before the 5 AM start.  No gels, no sport drinks.

This is, if memory serves, pretty much the way most people did it in the early 80s, when the average marathon was quite a bit faster. Certainly it was the way the three-hour marathoners I knew did it. But I gather from other threads that such a decision makes me the marathoning equivalent of a Luddite: a strange bird at odds with all of modernity's wonderful discoveries, such as GU and Gatorade. (I love Gatorade, BTW, but only after my runs. I've never tried a GU.)

I'll certainly have food for thought after the marathon itself, and may be tempted to joint the modern worldor not, if things go well.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear testimony from marathoners who run the Old School way, and/or those converts who, having gone the no-GU route, swear that GU is the only way to go.  <br /><br />Edited to add:  I suspect that a four-hour race makes certain fuel demands that three-hour races don'twhich is to say, the preponderance of slower marathoners these days may have helped make GU the reference standard.  But here, too, I may have it all wrong, and the 2:53 guys (as I once was) may tell me so.  Do you think there's a break-point, slower than which GU is almost a necessity but faster than which it becomes somewhat less so? 

[http://This message has been edited by KudzuRunner (edited Aug-22-2006).|http://This message has been edited by KudzuRunner (edited Aug-22-2006).]

  • bigapplepie Legend 2,455 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 22, 2006 4:00 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    I was going to say, 6 hour marathoners probably need a damn good meal to avoid struggling over the last few miles.

    After trying the whole GU thing, I now stick to real food, if possible and the odd Gatorade.

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    Me[/URL" target="_blank">

  • WI MTP Rookie 461 posts since
    Jan 7, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Aug 22, 2006 4:51 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    I run with a 50 year old guy from time to time - definately can run sub 3:00s yet - I think its funny because he carries a gel when over distancing or marathoning, but doen't take it.

    I do believe that in the 70s-80s some of the elites did do defizzed coke or other concoctions -

  • bruncle Legend 725 posts since
    Sep 26, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 22, 2006 4:55 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    Well Rob De Castella (world record holder in 70's-80's) would have a special glucose syrupy mixture, which sounded a lot like gu to me.

  • formationflier Rookie 974 posts since
    Oct 13, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Aug 22, 2006 5:57 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    I've run a few marathons this year, as long as 3:34, with
    no gels and only ultima (electrolytes, but almost no calories),
    no problems, no bonks. One was a 3:29 in 80 deg temps back in
    March when I hadn't gotten in any warm weather runs.
    I would have taken sports drink with
    calories if available, but ultima was what they had. Given that
    you've put in some good aerobic mileage, I'm sure you'll have
    enough fat burning capacity and you'll be fine. I assume that
    you've been running your long runs without carbs as well - if
    not, the story may be different.

    ----



    MyRunningLog[/URL" target="_blank">
    MyStuff[/URL" target="_blank">
    Low Heart Rate Training FAQ[/URL" target="_blank">
    My marathons and ultras[/URL" target="_blank">
    My races and reports[/URL" target="_blank">

  • 92heelgrad Rookie 180 posts since
    Oct 9, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 22, 2006 6:29 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    It's like climbing Everest without oxygen.  I don't doubt it can be done but it can't be optimal.  I'm not too proud, I'll take any advantage I can to get to Boston.  Of course I am not running it in 2:30 either, but I get really hungry about 18-20 miles into the race.

  • portlander Rookie 43 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Aug 22, 2006 6:34 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    correlation &lt;&gt; causation.  Not eating gel was certainly not the reason marathons were faster in the 80s.  I trust you will be wearing your old-school garmin and hrm?

  • leon2 Rookie 315 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Aug 22, 2006 6:47 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    quote:


    Originally posted by KudzuRunner:


    This is, if memory serves, pretty much the way most people did it in the early 80s, when the average marathon was quite a bit faster.


     


    It's a noble thought, but believe me -- marathoners of the 80s did indeed use sport drinks. Ever heard of Gookinaid?

    Don't deprive yourself.  In training, perhaps. But run your best marathon, taking advantage of all the fluids and fuels that are available on race day.

  • mainers Rookie 341 posts since
    Apr 4, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Aug 22, 2006 11:09 PM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    "Do you think there's a break-point, slower than which GU is almost a necessity but faster than which it becomes somewhat less so?"

    Thanks for asking this question Kudzu Runner, it's one I need more info on

    Being new to marathon training/racing I have never eaten on he run before and only ever grabbed the odd cup of water so was wondering how much 'food' I may need during the marathon itself. I'm aiming sub 2:40. How much 'goo' would I need and can anyone recommend a particular product to try out on my longer runs?

  • joplus Expert 282 posts since
    Oct 11, 2007

    Forgive me, but I just don't get it - last week you were worried about caffeine-crash and wondering about possible methods and timing for you to get your fix mid-race.  This week you're thinking about going old-school (unaided).  Why not compromise and carry a couple of caffeinated gels with you?  Better yet, why not accept that you might have a touch of taper madness and stop thinking so much :-)

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    there is no such thing as varchar(1)

  • maryt091 Pro 781 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I can't speak for all the old 2:53 runners, but I 've known some from that period who were 2:30 runners in the 80s, and I certainly read all the reports of training at the time, and while they may have been gel-less, they certainly took more than plain waater, both training and racing. 

    Defizzed coke was popular (I think both Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter used that) , one runner used cold tea with honey, but ERG (Gookinaid) was the preferred drink in our area. We ran the 10mile aid station once at Boston in the 80s and the majority of the fast runners wanted ERG (Gookinaid) not water.

    So old school fast runners did what  the best runners do today - take advantage of all the  tools they can to help them race faster.

  • DanMoriarity Rookie 805 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    Vanderlei Lima took some sort of gel at around the 20k mark in the Athens Olympic marathon. I always train without carbs, and in a marathon drink only water, but take 2-3 gels in the second half of the race. I do find that they help.

  • TheSwissStallion Rookie 13 posts since
    Sep 12, 2003
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Aug 23, 2006 10:23 AM (in response to kudzurunner)
    Re: notes from the Old School: gel-less marathoning

    quote:


    Originally posted by 92heelgrad:

    It's like climbing Everest without oxygen. I don't doubt it can be done but it can't be optimal. I'm not too proud, I'll take any advantage I can to get to Boston. Of course I am not running it in 2:30 either, but I get really hungry about 18-20 miles into the race.


     



    No....excuse-me but's it two complete different things.....
    Running long distance without gels is like climbing the Everest without nutrition....only the consequence can be a little bit different....

    Climbing the everest without oxygen is about ethic! Very different!

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