SHOULD I BE FUELLING MID RACE?
Whether you choose to fuel mid-race or not, will be largely determined by how long you plan to be on course. If you are running the half marathon or expecting to be out for longer than 60 minutes, then consider a fuelling strategy.
This will should be one that you’ve trialled in training, so diarise your long runs now and consider the following as a place to start:
- How much you choose to refuel is dependent on your intensity and what you’ve trialled in training. Every athlete is different but start with a goal of 20 – 40g of carbohydrate per hour. There’s a fine line between keeping your muscle glycogen stores nicely topped up, without causing digestive upset.
- When working at high intensity the body doesn’t prioritise digestion. This being the case, choose gels and chews as your source of fuel as they’re well absorbed and demand little from the digestive system. Look for products that are low in fructose – they may contain caffeine but again, be sure to trial this in training. Try this natural, home made gel if unsure where to start.
- Your race fuelling plan also needs to consider electrolyte and hydration requirements. Sweat rates and loss of electrolytes are highly variable between individuals and day to day. At minimum, aim to drink water at every aid station and ensure a source of electrolytes either via your fuelling choice, tablets or a hydration solution. Requirements will be greater on hot, sunny days.
WHAT SHOULD I CONSUME POST-RACE?
Eating isn’t always the first thing you want to do after an intense run but do the best you can to consume a nutrient dense meal post-race. Have some carbohydrates alongside anti-inflammatory green vegetables, berries, fats and some protein.
By all means treat yourself to something yummy, but your body will likely be inflamed after a long and intense race so this is not the time to be consuming highly processed foods or beverages.
A brekky bowl with greens, eggs, nuts, seeds and sweet potato would be perfect or trial the smoothie mentioned earlier. Actually, smoothies and soups are much easier to consume and digest post-race!
Elly is a marathon runner, Nutritionist, wannabe yogi and yes, her favourite food is kale. Elly believes that food is fuel, but above all else, that it should be enjoyed. Elly has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science, majoring in Exercise Science and Nutrition, is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and a certified Integrative Health Coach.