Marathon Race Day Tips and Nutrition Strategies

Marathon Race Day Tips and Nutrition Strategies

Marathon RunnersOnce you have put in your mileage and properly trained with e-Gel, you will be ready to turn in that PR on race day (or be a first time finisher). If you intend to use just e-Gel and water then this article is for you. If you want to use e-Fuel or another sports drink with your energy gel then you should also read when to use gels and drinks.

Pre-Race Prep

Hopefully your glycogen stores will be pumped up from a good carbo loading plan in the days leading up to the race. During that time don’t forget to drink lots of water to start your “pre-hydration” as well. On race morning we recommend that you “top off” your water supply by drinking 2-4 cups (16-32 oz) of water approximately 2 hours before the race, and then no more food or drink. This will give your body time to become properly hydrated and to tinkle away the excess. If you drink too much water too close to the start of the race it will increase the chances that you need to hit a porta-potty after the gun goes off and/or that you will be carrying excess weight (urine).

Race Nutrition

If you choose, you can do your first e-Gel 5-10 minutes before the race, but don’t forget to flush it down with a few ounces of water. During the race we recommend consuming one e-Gel pack every five miles (see table below). Always follow e-Gel with at least a few ounces of water. If you don’t carry your own water then find out ahead of time where the water stops are. Then you can plan where and when you will take each dose of e-Gel. It is important to go into the race with a well thought out race strategy – including your race pace, hydration and nutrition plans.

Remember that water intake is critical to proper gel assimilation and we recommend consuming 14 ounces of water for each gel pack consumed. This does NOT mean that you should drink 14 ounces all at once, but you should drink 14 ounces before you rip open your second gel pack (an so on). The logic behind this is that if you are properly hydrated then you will have 20-30 ounces of available water in your stomach and intestinal tract. This water can be used to assimilate the gel, but if you don’t replace it then you can become dehydrated. If you’re not good about drinking water during a race then we recommend that you cut back your gel intake accordingly – or better yet, learn to drink water during the race! Dehydration is a sure way to have a bad race, or worse yet, suffer potentially serious health consequences.

One e-Gel
One e-Gel
5 min 5 miles 25 min
6 min 5 miles 30 min
7 min 5 miles 35 min
8 min 5 miles 40 min
9 min 5 miles 45 min
10 min 5 miles 50 min
11 min 5 miles 55 min
12 min 5 miles 60 min
13 min 5 miles 65 min
14 min 5 miles 70 min
15 min 5 miles 75 min

Can You Use More?

Your body can only absorbed approximately 32 oz of water (fluid) per hour, so if you are drinking at that rate then you would have enough water to process a gel approximately every 25 minutes. You’ll notice in the chart above that for a 12 minute/mile pace for example we recommend one e-Gel per hour. You could conceivably take them much more frequently, but you really shouldn’t need to. In a marathon if you are properly carbo loaded then your glycogen stores (your ‘on-board’ fuel tank) will have enough energy to run about 18 – 20 miles. This is derived from the fact that everyone burns approximately 90 – 110 calories per mile (based on body size, efficiency, etc.) and your glycogen stores when fully load contain approximately 1,800 to 2,000 calories. Once your glycogen stores are exhausted (mile 18 to 20) is when you hit “the wall”. In order to avoid hitting the wall you need to take in an addition 600 to 900 calories (4 to 6 e-Gel packs). So while you can take in more, it really should not be required in most cases.

The Golden Rule

The “golden rule” is to not change anything on race day, particularly in an important race. With that in mind we recommend that you complete several training runs using e-Gel in a manner similar to your anticipated race day plan. This will allow you to ensure that your body is responding the way you expect it to, and make adjustments if necessary. I addition, when you use e-Gel in your training runs it will help you to perform at a higher level and recover faster, which will make you an even better runner on race day.

If you’re already used to using another energy gel, then switching to e-Gel shouldn’t be a problem at all – we have many customers that used e-Gel for the very first time during a race with great results. Read some of our customer testimonials.

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e-Gel Customer Testimonials
Real Stories from Real Customers …

Keith Castleton

"Figuring out how to stay hydrated and prevent muscle cramps during long runs and races has been one of my biggest challenges. In the past my muscles would ache and twitch and cause me a lot of pain after long runs. I came across e-Gel energy gels this summer used them during the Top Of Utah Marathon, took 17 minutes off my previous marathon PR and easily qualified for Boston." ...
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Maricopa, Arizona
Sport: Running

Jeff Rommel

"I broke the golden rule and tried e-Gel for the first time on race day. I ran the Houston Marathon and it was a great experience - no stomach issues and no muscle cramping. Water in my bottle and an e-Gel every hour got me through the race. I'm not the fastest runner, but I set a PR!" ...
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Houston, Texas
Sport: Running

Adam Lecompte

"This is by far the best energy gel product on the market, and I have been through them all. I have had nothing but positive training and racing experiences with this product. I trained on and used e-Gel in a half half marathon and busted a 1:32.44! My personal best of 5 half marathons. The sustained energy is incredible! I absolutely love this product." ...
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Houma, Louisiana
Sport: Running and Triathlon

Sam Albrecht

"40 miles into a 56 mile ride in the desert with two big hills I started cramping, and had to stop several times. The next week I did the same ride with e-Gel and had no cramping despite it being over 100 degrees. My hydration was the same, so I have little doubt the e-Gel played a big part in keeping me going that day." ...
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Big Bear City, California
Sport: Triathlon

Bruce English

"I recently completed a half-iron distance triathlon with a brutal bike course. At the end of the ride my quads started to cramp. I nursed an e-Gel over the first mile of the run and the cramps abated. I thought it may have been coincidence, but when the cramps resurfaced at mile 7 only to resolve with another e-Gel I was sold. I only drank water on the run and took e-Gel, so I feel confident that this product made the difference. " ...
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Waynesboro, Virginia
Sport: Triathlon

Mary Rogers

"I used e-Gels exclusively and exactly as directed in training for the Lakefront Marathon. This was my fourth marathon and I did not expect to PR, but just to complete it well. With the help of e-Gels taken at miles 2, 7, 13, 18, and 23, I took 10 minutes off of my marathon time and never hit the 'wall' or cramped as I had done in previous events. Some guy laughed at me at the start asking why I had so many energy gels. I told him I had a plan and I was sticking to it. I'm pretty sure I passed him somewhere around mile 22." ...
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Springfield, Illinois
Sport: Running

David Ball

"I've been using e-Gel for 2 years exclusively and will not go with anything else....I qualified for Boston with a 3:18:16 and felt great. One e-Gel 15 minutes before the race and one at miles 6, 12, 18, and 23 mile marks and then the last three miles were my fasted splits" ...
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sport: Running, Triathlon

Malcolm Campbell

"I looked for a gel that had less sugar and more potassium/sodium than some of the other energy gels. I came across e-Gel and used them is the US 50K Championships in Caumsett Park, New York. I finished 2nd in 3:04.22, so I guess they worked pretty good!" ...
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Marietta, Georgia
Sport: Ultra Running

Jeff Domenico

"I was running my best marathon ever in Detroit, had five miles to go and I took my e-Gel 100 yards before a water station. I got to the station and it was a bunch of guys handing out beer! GU and other energy gels are so thick that I would have needed water right away, but the e-Gel was so thin and easy to digest, I got through it just fine when I hit a water station about a mile later. Not only did I finally hit my sub-three hour dream, I hit 2:57!" ...
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Battle Creek, Michigan
Sport: Running

Dave Kumler

"I am an on-ice official in the AHL and I want to share my story about e-Gel ... My job as linesman requires me to sprint repeatedly and physically separate anyone who fights throughout the game. We get no breaks, no downtime, no relaxing...I need my energy level to remain constant. I had yet to find any product that satisfied my requirement. I tried GU, Clif Shots and other energy gels, but found that I was still needing something to get me thru the last half of the game. With e-Gel, I found it." ...
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Cleveland, Ohio
Sport: Hockey

Joseph Swenson

"I am an Ultra-Runner and a proficient sweater and I need to take in large quantities of salt to keep from shutting down during training and races. I was relying on salt caps along with other Gel's like GU to try an maintain my metabolism but it was easy to get the mixture wrong and bonk....I plan on using e-Gel as my main electrolyte / energy gel at Western States 100 mile this June, bypassing the aid station's GU which made me so nauseous by mile 80, I almost did not finish the race." ...
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Livermore, California
Sport: Ultra Running

Nadine Echeverry

"I just finished my first marathon, and I am singing the praises of your product! I have been training with Team In Training/Greater Los Angeles Chapter/Long Beach since May. .... At first, I bought them just because I LOVED the taste compared to the Clif shots I had been using. Also, I LOVED the consistency of your e-Gel, in that I didn't feel like I had to chew it!" ...
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Lakewood, California
Sport: Running

Dan Cadriel

"I competed in my very first Ironman at Ironman Arizona after 17 years in triathlon. With horrid winds on the bike, I was nervous about my marathon. I packed my 6 Cherry Bomb e-Gels and I was off to a sub 4 hour marathon including a sub 7 minute mile at the finish line! The Ironman distance is all about nutrition and pace. I was so pleased with the experience and the endurance that the e-Gel formula gave me. I plan to continue to use Crank Sports products as I conitue to set PRs. Thank you Cherry Bomb!" ...
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Glendale, Arizona
Sport: Triathlon

Steve Bull

"My buddy and I were riding home after a 40 mile training ride-1/2 downwind, 1/2 upwind on the way home. My friend bonked 10 miles out against a 25 mph headwind. We stopped. I administered to him my coveted e-Gel. He complained-wondered if it would make any difference. 10 minutes later he was back on his bike, riding hard, and saying, 'This stuff is incredible.' He now buys from Crank Sports. I always thought our experience was a simple but elegant testimony." ...
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Burns, Oregon
Sport: Cycling, Mountain Biking

Kevin Williams

"I wasn't sure which energy gel to purchase, as there were a ton on the market. After some research I went with e-gel because it didn't have caffeine and it was the best bang for my buck. Man was I thrilled to have it with me on Tough Mudder! We took one every hour or so on our adventure and I didn't once feel fatigued. I can definitely attribute my success on Tough Mudder Tri-State 2011 to the use of e-gel. We killed it and none of my 7 person team were exhausted thanks to the electrolytes and sodium in e-gel." ...
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Burtonsville, Maryland
Sport: Adventure Racing

Ken Brown

"Three hours into an agressive 5 hour ride, my legs were cooked, and my body needed electrolytes in a bad way. I shot another brand of energy gel and come to find out the gel had gone bad. I had no other means on me, when a training partner handed me what turned out to be the best tasting, quickest reacting energy gel I had ever used. Not only did the Tropical Blast e-Gel get me through the remainder of our ride, it made an immediate impact on my new gel of choice. I don't leave the house without a supply of my new best friends: Tropical Blast and Cherry Bomb. Thanks for finally making a gel that works AND tastes great. " ...
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Dunwoody, Georgia
Sport: Triathlon

Barbara Riesser

"I ran my first marathon in 2003 using Clif Shots but they really bothered my stomach. My trainer recommended the e-Gel and I have had no problems on my long runs now. I have told all my friends who are runners or starting to run about your products and have passed out sample gel packs too! You're e-Gel is awesome! No blood sugar drops either like I had with other products.Products always arrive sooner than expected! You guys (and girls) are awesome!" ...
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Columbia City, Indiana
Sport: Running

Sandra Marbut

"I learned about the value of gel products through training for marathons. So when I returned to coaching basketball at a very academic school, I decided to see if I could combine the two worlds. With a small roster, our players are on the court for long periods of time and need to sustain high intensity for a solid 90 minutes. After learning what impact fuels have on your body for endurance sports, I decided to try it with our players. It has been brilliant! ..." ...
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Pasadena , California
Sport: Basketball

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