Supplements are an important part of preparing for, and running a marathon. There are three types of supplements and nutrition: sports beverages, gels and bars. Each play an important role during a long run.
- Replaces fluids lost through sweat, respiration and urine.
- Typically is high in salt; as the body heats up, the body releasing water (to cool down the body), along with salt.
- By the time you are thirsty, it’s already too late – you need to hydrate continuously.
- At 30’c (85’ F), at 50% humidity, the body looses 2-4 lbs in sweat per hour of exercise (and a marathon can go from 3.5-4.5 hours!)
- Contain carbohydrates – for the first hour of a race the muscles are fueled by glycogen; after an hour the glycogen is depleted and the carbohydrates in the sports drink are needed to increase blood glucose.
- It’s not recommended to drink pure water on long runs or high heat over an hour – the body cannot absorb quick enough.
- Dissolve within minutes in the small intestine, giving the body instant energy.
- Drink water immediately afterwards to get full effect.
- During long-runs, take one gel every 45 minutes to maintain constant energy levels.
- Contain sugar, salt, amino acids, caffeine and anti-oxidants.
- Slow release into the body providing long lasting energy; harder to digest as it breaks down in the gut.
- Contains fat, protein and fibre, which will provide energy over long periods of time.
- Better choice for longer events and recovery – not during races.
- Requires significant amounts of water to process.
For best results on race day, experiment with different types of hydration and nutrition during long training runs. Each person reacts differently to the various products. Find out what brands and flavours work best for your body prior to race day. Stick with the successful formula towards the end of training and most importantly on race day.