With the Brighton Marathon now only 6 weeks away and the London Marathon 8 weeks, I’m now starting to settle into doing longer runs. Last weekend was no exception as I ran in the Old Deer Park Richmond Half Marathon (race report soon, watch this space). As runs start to get longer, it becomes really important to think about nutrition, hydration and boosting energy levels. I had a scary wake up call a few weeks back when I ran in the Ashford and District 10k, nearly fainting after I’d finished. Luckily, I got it right at the weekend.
There is a lot of useful advice out there with regards to nutrition and energy levels but it is important to remember that everybody is different. Although I ran in a half marathon race on Sunday, first and foremost, it was being treated as a training run so I decided to test out my marathon race day nutrition. Following a dinner of pasta and turkey meatballs the night before, I had two slices of marmite on home made wholemeal toast for breakfast and made sure I sipped plenty of water. 45 minutes before start time, I also ate a banana. Bananas really are a superfood to runners everywhere, thanks to the slow releasing energy. In my waist pack, I carried some Haribo tangfastics, a packet of Clif Shot Bloks and an easy to use SIS Go energy gel. I find both SIS and Gu to be easy on the stomach. My plan was similar to the Brighton Marathon in 2011 – a shot blok every 20 minutes, a Haribo on the mile markers and the gel was there to be taken at 10 miles. This is what I did during the marathon, except I didn’t take the gel until 20 miles.
For me, I find this works well. The Haribo helps to prevent my blood sugar from dropping which is something I suffer from and the shot bloks help to replenish lost carbs and keep the energy levels up. Although I’m not a fan of energy gels, many contain caffeine and as you reach the end of a marathon or a long run, I find that a gel really helps to give my energy levels that last boost they need to reach the finishing line. Just remember it’s important to chase them down with water – timing it at a water station is ideal if you can, if not, make sure you have water with you.
Finally, please don’t leave it until marathon day to try out your strategy for the first time! 15 miles into a marathon is not when you want to discover that you can’t tolerate the energy drink on offer at the water stations.
What’s your long run energy boosting strategy?