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Fueling for a big race: A guide to running nutrition

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Runderwear’s Tips for Nutrition

1. Have a strategy

When talking about a nutrition plan for training and racing the first to do is have a strategy. You should be using the same products in training that you intend to race with. Don’t try anything new on race day. Nutrition is a highly personal thing and what might work well for one athlete may not work for another. So find out what works for you and stick with it and avoid the temptation especially in race week to try the next new thing.

For marathons and half marathons you will need a plan. In training when your body is working aerobically and using your fat resources as a source of energy there is very little need to take on a lot of fuel in the form of carbohydrates. A good electrolyte drink that replaces the salts you have sweated out should be enough. However, for hard interval training, and working in your anaerobic threshold your body starts to use carbohydrate as a source of energy. Your body has a limited store of carbohydrates and these need to be replaced as you exercise.

2. Train with what you intend to race with

Simply done. Find the drink mixes and gels that sit comfortably with your body and do not produce adverse reactions. Practice with them. It is harder to take in food while than cycling for example so it is best to practice in training than try and do it for the first time on race day.

3. Know the on-course nutrition

Many big races advertise the nutrition sponsor well in advance and in race day communications. So you have two choices: either use the on course nutrition, and train with it beforehand,  or be largely self-sufficient and use what you have used in training.

It is also useful to know how many aid stations there will be and what nutrition is on those aid stations. Many races will provide bananas or other fruit, water and often electrolyte or flat coke

4. Gels/bars

Typically for sustained muscular activity in race mode you will need to consume approx. 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour which equates to one isotonic gel every 20 -30 minutes. These can be carried on a race belt.

5. Electrolyte Drinks

A great idea especially if it is hot and humid. Either carry your own in a camelback or use the on- course nutrition if you are comfortable with it

6. Caffeine

When the going gets tough, there is normally flat coke to fall back on. A source of pure sugar. Most marathons will provide flat coke in the second half of the race and this can often be a life saver!

We're pleased to have partnered with Secret Training to develop a nutrition pack designed specifically with runners in mind. Designed to give you everything you need to fuel your marathon the pack is available for 100AED at https://secret-traininguae.com/products/marathon-race-day 

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