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I need some help or suggestions from long distance runners - anybody who runs half marathons or marathons. I don't run with water bottles while training or in races, so except for water stations, I go without. I try to start being well fueled and hydrated, and I've never felt horrible or 'bonked' at the end of a race so far, so maybe I don't have anythng to worry about, yet I see so many people talk about how important it is to fuel and hydrate during a long race. How do you do this in an efficient manner though? I find it hard to drink while running, so I never drink very much at a water station, a few sips if that. I carried some GU with me during my last race but I never had an opportunity to use it, I would have had to stop AND have water. Is it absolutely essential to eat and drink during a half marathon or is just taking advantage of a few water stations along the way enough? Does it depend on the weather? I want to reiterate again that I'm not one to even drink much during my training runs, sometimes I will if I'm on the treadmill because the water bottle is right there, but when I'm 3 miles away from my house, I have to run 3 more miles to get back there and stopping somewhere for water isn't exactly in the front of my mind.
Looking for any suggestions for how to efficiently eat and drink during a race - or whether it's honestly okay to just not do it. I hate stopping in a race, and I will do anything I can to avoid having to stop.
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Rockin the Desert Mud run - August 25th 2012 - TBA!
Red Rock Relay - Sept 7-8th 2012 - Brian's Head to Zion UT - TBA!
St George Marathon - Oct 6th 2012
Las Vegas Ragnar - Nov 9-10th 2012
I live in SE NC and weather is a hugh factor in hydration and fueling. I would tell you here in late fall and spring you can run a 1/2 without fuel or water, I take one gel and cups of water on the run during them I think it help with over all performance. Some thoughts:
The single largest contributor to fatigue when training or racing is dehydration. Your ability to pound the pavement is driven by contracting muscles that generate heat. This heat must be dissipated quickly to avoid overheating. Sweating is crucial mechanism for thermoregulations, or ridding your body of heat, but it also causes you to lose fluid and the electrolyte sodium that you need in order to remain hydrated. Dehydration impacts your running performance when you lose 2% of your body weight due to fluid loss. For a 150 lbs runner that is about 3 lbs. In the summer here we lose that easily in a hour! When you are dehydrated your hearth has to work harder and your internal bidy temps is elevated.
Your primary muscle fuels during training, as well as when you'recompeting are a combination of fat and carbohydrates. Even the leanest distance runners have plenty of fat reserves tucked away. Carbs fuel stores are a different matter entirely. At best, you probably have only have about 2,000 calories of carbs fuel on reserve (burn these you hit the wall). These carbs are present in your body in two forms. Glucose circulates in your bloodstream, and bundles of glucose called glycogen are stored in your liver and muscles. When these fuel stores run dry during exercise, you turn to liver glycogen reserves to maintain your blood glucose level. But once liver glycogen stores are tapped, your blood sugar drops, fatigue sets in and you hit the wall. Imagine running miles 1-18 of a marathon at your pace say 8:00 with a steady hearth rate- you're feeling good. But unfortunately, you just about to burn through your muscle glycogen reserves. And as those fuel reserves hit empty, your pace steadily slows to the point where you end up finishing your last miles in a pedestrian 11 minutes pace! Such are the effects of running out of glycogen.When your high performance carbs run out, you are left to burn fat as your muscle fuel, and fat simply can't keep up with the energy demands os a race! So you end up dramatically slowing down. In fact it's all you can do to even finish.
I have never had it happen in a half, but have have the full Monty in a full and it is ugly. Most of this was quoted from Sports Nutrition for Distance Running. Good luck
Hi there. I was actually browsing the sites to see if anyone had advice on what they think about taking the gel packs while running. I ran a half marathon last year and did well. I stopped at the water/gatorade stops a few times to hydrate really quick and was feeling pretty good at the end of the race. I ran the race in the pocono mountains in pennsylvania (which was pretty shaded and not too humid). However, I am going to be running the full marathon here in Savannah on November 5th and I know it will still be pretty hot at that time. So, I was wondering if you had any other suggestions on brands of bars or gel packs to take while running. Also, do you run with those small water bottles around your waist? (They seem like a nuisance to me but are probably a good idea) I know that I will need something. I completely agree with your statements about hydration and refueling your body and know a little about it since I majored in it college. I like to hear what other people use and their experiences, I think that is the best testiment to something.
Good luck with training everyone, for whatever event you may be taking on next.
The best advice as to what you use is: Make sure what you use you have used during training!!!!!!!! You do not want to introduce anything new during your marathon. You want to make those mistakes during your training runs. A good example I did it to my daughter, we were running a race and she had not taken gels ever before, we were running hard and about 3/4 through a half marathon and I took a gel, she saw me and wanted one I give her one and she got sick about 10 mins later, we went from running 7:15 to about 9:00 after that. I can not say I like any after 2-3 of them and during a marathon I try and take 1 about every 35-40 mins, they start to suck after a few but you need the quick acting carbs in a long race or you wil hit the wall eariler. I tend to get a upset stomach after about mile 15 I would guess when my glycogen stores run out that is if I am running the race hard, I have run a marathon easy and been able to eat anything. I like hammer gels, gu's, power bar energy gels. I tend to think flavor is more important: I hate things with coffee or chocolate in them. Honey packages work for a lot of people also. Bottom line try it during a training run, and yes you will need them if you are running a marathon. Good luck