Week #5 – Fueling During Workouts
Many runners might not realize that an electrolyte beverage like Gatorade is not only great for fluid and sodium replacement, but also contains carbohydrates for energy. Thus, by consuming a drink like this, you are simultaneously taking care of three crucial aspects of running success.
It is easier for your body to process fluids than solid foods, especially when you are running. You therefore want to try to take in energy in fluid form first, semi-solid second (think energy gels) and solid form last.
You need to practice fueling during your long runs. This is critical. Everyone is different, and you want to know what works for you on race day. The goal, as always, is to prepare your body for what your strategy will be during your race. What many newer distance runners don't realize is that the conditions of the race, including increased adrenaline and a faster sustained pace, can drastically affect the way in which your body reacts to taking in fuel. Thus, the more you can train your body to adapt to the exact feeding schedule you use, the better.
Be sure to check out which sports drink will be served on your marathon course. Then, either train with that same beverage or prepare to bring your own sports drink of choice to drink during the race. Don’t make the mistake of trying something new on marathon day!
After extensive experimentation, I now drink roughly 8-12 ounces of Gatorade every fifteen minutes and take in a PowerGel (110 calories) every thirty minutes during my marathon races. My fluid intake will vary depending on the conditions, and my gel intake may increase in the later stages of the race if I experience any lightheadedness, but these intervals and amounts have become fairly routine. Experiment on your long runs and find out what works for you.