Marathon Race Day Tips and Nutrition Strategies

Marathon Race Day Tips and Nutrition Strategies

Once 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.

Marathon
Pace
min/mi
Distance
One e-Gel
Every:
Time
One e-Gel
Every:
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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