Race Preparation tips #7: Eat and run!

Tales are told of Dean Karnazes running all night, ordering pizza on the run, and having the pizza deliverer give him slices as he continued running.  Ultramarathoners have particular (quirky?) nutrition needs. The Aid stations at our last 50km/100km race had hot noodles, fruitcake and redbull – and there were beer and pizza trucks just off the end of the finishing line. (But when you have run 50-100km, you can do that stuff!)

(Un?)Fortunately, there is no such thing at Melbourne Marathon. But there are aid stations for those participating in the 5, 10, 21 and 42km events. (Click here to go to the Melbourne Marathon website; Select your event, and then click on drink stations and scroll down) Most of these will have water to drink, first aid, and toilets. 2/3 will also have electrolytes. NONE will have pizza, fruitcake, beer, redbull or hot noodles!

In a later tip we will go through how to drink on the run (Yes, it’s an art!). Meantime, the rule about Nothing New on Race Day applies. (Note: If you are doing the 5km, or expect to complete the 10km in under an hour, you should not need any food or drink on course!)  In training it is a good idea to prepare for what may happen on the day:

  • Take water with you in a handheld bottle, a backpack or a waist belt (I use a waist belt for my marathons). Practice taking a sip or two of water every 2-3km (where most of the aid stations will be).
  • If your training runs are longer, you may want to take some gels, chews or bars for energy. Gels are packs of athlete-specifically formulated electrolytes and carbohydrates. If you can, pick something more natural like Hammer or VFuel. Both of these have less sugar (which often causes gut issues). (Hammer bars can also be good – Active Feet have them on special sometimes) One an hour or so is often enough to get you through – again, practice in training.
  • If you want to use the on course electrolyte (USN), I would strongly advise that you get some very soon and start trying it in your long runs. If you are going to have gut issues, you want them in training, not on race day!
  • If you want to take your own electrolytes, try VFuel or Freedom Fuel. Or make your own – the juice of one lemon, sea salt and water in a 500-600ml bottle. Again, avoid the really sugary Powerade, Gatorade and other so called ‘sports drinks’.

Whatever you want to do on the day, plan for it now and use it in training!

Tip #7 – Use your training to practice your race-day nutrition strategies.

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