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Marathon nutrition

Hi everyone,

I'm running my first marathon this weekend (Berlin).
Any veterans here with have a good nutrition plan?

I usually use those Gel from PowerBar. How many do I need, how often?
I'm 92kg and should need about 4 hrs.



  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I have no idea about the nutirition aspect, but Good luck!
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    I don't have a good answer, but I have similar experience.

    I was similar to your weight and height running what became a hot marathon last spring in Prague. You'll need to start with the gels sooner rather than later. What I did, and ran out of gas at mile 23, was 1 gel at hour 2 and another every 40 minutes. If I were going to take a guess, I'd take one at 1 hour and then go every 30-40 minutes.

    Do you normally train eating PowerBar gels? The caffeinated ones took my stomach a while to get used to, not in a way that I'd want to find out during a big race.
  • I always have one gel 15 mins before I expect to cross the start line, and then one gel every 30 mins. On top of this I make sure I grab, and keep hold of, the provided energy drink, sipping and drinking the whole lot if I can, at every feed station (even if it takes 5mins). I then drink as much water as I feel confortable with at other stations.

    I carry gels in a race belt, but always take 2/3 extra in case I:

    1) Have a shocking race and need more gels to cover one every 30mins (Edinburgh 2006 - 45 mins longer than expected!)
    2) Lose/drop some on the way round
    3) People steal them from my race belt (caught someone this year at London!!)

    I'd definately stick with the Powerbar gels you've been using already, it's very important that you can stomach the gels on the day, and you wouldn't be using them if you couldn't - all gels are very different. I train using gels for all my runs over 2hrs and have found that the 30min intervals works great for me, and hopefully you've had a chance to get some idea of the intervals that work for you.

    I find that pre-race nutrition can be as important as the race nutrition for marathons. Carb loading, proper hydration in the preceeding days etc all play a huge part and can make the marathon experience a lot more enjoyable.
    Good luck!
  • willtriwilltri Posts: 436
    3) People steal them from my race belt (caught someone this year at London!!)
    are you serious!!??
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    okay, thanks guys! Eating a Snickers now - don't care what it's called, tastes great!

    In training (30km runs) I usually eat a powerbar or two as I don't mind slowing to chew it...
    In OD Tris I usually eat a Powerbar on the bike slowly, a bite every few minutes and then a gel while running.
    In a 34km race recently I had two powergels and one Powerbar.

    It seems like I can eat enything! (I'll be 93kg by the time the marathon comes around)

    Plan is:
    GOOD breakfast with plenty of water and coffee.
    Botte of sportsdrink straight before start.
    Powerbar after 1 hour with loads of water at the aid station.
    then a Gel each 30-45 minutes - being 4 Powerbars Gels

    That sound okay?
  • Can't really add anything other than good luck.

    I''m planning on doing Berlin next year. Is it easy to enter or do you have to go through a ballot like in London.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    On my first marathon on 1980 there was surprise, surprise a Marathon bar in the goody bag - never liked the name change to Snickers ... mmm chocolate

    On the subject of chocolate and derailing threads:


    1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

    2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

    3. Add 5

    4. Multiply it by 50

    5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1759 ..
    If you haven't, add 1758.

    6.. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
    You should have a three digit number

    The first digit of this was your original number
    (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

    The next two numbers are

    And Good Luck !!
  • 3) People steal them from my race belt (caught someone this year at London!!)

    are you serious!!??
    Very serious, a small fella with red shoes, couldn't believe it. Saying that they were Hi-5 with caffine, half the weight of SIS gels with the same calories - very desirable!! Maybe he had forgotton his own?

    I've never experienced anything similar in triathlon, much nicer people!

    As for the:
    Botte of sportsdrink straight before start.
    I never feel the need to pee during a tri, but often do during a marathon. I've got around this in the past by not drinking for 1 hour before the start, but having one gel at 15 mins to go instead, along with prior hydration. It's crazy the amount of people stopping for a pee within the first mile of a marathon ( mainly sue to lack to toliets, but not drinking for an hour before helps this) Maybe it's a personal thing, but it works for me!
  • GU Energy Gels are coming to the UK from The States early in 2010. Watch this space...

  • RockieRockie Posts: 40
    I'm doing my first marathon end January. My longest training run so far has been 13 miles, which I survived on water and a single SiS gel. Obviously I'm not getting the best out of my training.

    I plan to increase my gel usage but gradually, my stomach doesn't like sloshing around stuff (can't drink for an hour before any race). Should I be including any solids in my nutrition plan? Aiming for 5 hours.
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    My nutrition no matter what event/training im doing that is more than 90 mins in duration is as follows:

    gel every 25mins (my watch beeps every 25mins to let me know I need to take a gel)
    Water to wash the gels down.

    I have lost count of how many people have posted on here despite being told to take on fuel as early as possible, then decide to 'take a gel at the 2 hour point and then one every 30-45mins'
    You will always be playing catch up by doing that.....

    If you take on energy early then the energy debt will be less pronounced later in the race....

    Take this example....

    Athlete 'A' burns 500 calories an hour and has a total energy supply of
    He/She is running a marathon with a predicted time of 4hours....
    so thats 2000 calories for the whole race.
    They use gels which give 50 calories each and take one every 20 mins from the start (12gels).
    1hr into the race they have expended 500cal and taken on board 150cal making a total loss of 350cal.
    2hrs - expended 1000 cal......taken on board 300cal.....total loss of 700cal.
    3hrs - expended 1500 cal......taken on board 450cal.....total loss of 1050cal.
    4hrs - expended 2000cal.......taken on board 600cal.....total loss of 1400cal

    Athlete 'B' burns at the same rate of 500 cal/hr and takes 4hours to run the marathon also.
    They use a gel at 2hours (using the same gels-50cal per gel) and one every 45 mins after that (3gels).
    1hr - Expended 500cal......taken on board 0cal......total loss of 500cal
    2hr - expended 1000cal......taken on board 50cal......total loss of 950cal
    3hr - Expended 1500cal......taken on board 100cal......total loss of 1400cal
    4hr - Expended 2000cal......taken on board 150cal......total loss of 1850cal

    Athlete 'A' would have plenty of energy on board to finish the race strong with no signs of hitting the wall.
    Athlete 'B' would be hitting the wall and the body would be starting to burn anything to provide energy.
  • ...I could have done with this thread last week.
    Did a Half Marathon: bonked about 12K in, dragged myself round to an aid station to get a gel, recovered but it was too late to make the time back. Lesson learned.

    hussler - great post.
  • Hussler, good post. I can see that as time goes on the defecit increases, and I can see how it all goes tits up in a 12 hour+ Ironman. I think I need to get a few boxes of Gels in for training with
  • okennyokenny Posts: 231
    ina 12.5 hr IM a gel every 25 minutes would be 30 gels in total - not cheap and a lot to carry!
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    You can use a gel box that sits on your top tube which should be good for 8 gels......then tape the rest on the remaining area of the top tube and anywhere else that will be easy to get too.....

    If you have a trisuit that has a pocket in you can fit another 6 or so in there.... and carry some in your hand and also you can use the gel belts where you can attach gels.

    I used a total of 23 gels in the 2007 World Long Course Champs over the 7 hours I was racing.....This year at the European Long course I used 18 gels...but carried 23... Mainly due to the fact the feed stations ran out of water with 5 miles to go on the 18 mile run..... I ran this 5 miles using a slice of water melon to keep my mouth wet.... therefore couldnt take gels.....
  • Regarding gels on and Ironman:

    Hi5 gels weigh around half that of SiS gels for the same calorific value, therefore less weight.

    You can fit approx 15-20 of these gels into a 750ml sports bottle. I fit this behind my seat, mark the bottle with black marker, effectively splitting it into 12 sections (or however many you choose) and then 'drink' the gels every 30 mins. Doing this prevents the stickyness too.

    The only worry for me is losing the bottle, but I make sure the bottle holder I use is secure as a secure thing!

    It really works for me...
  • Good tip. Do the gels flow easily, or do they need a bit of 'watering' down to make them slightly more liquid?
  • The gels flow really well, no need to water them down at all. I find they're easy to swallow like this too. I tested this quite a lot before the Ironman: I got Fruitshot Bottles (kids fruit juice drinks with sports caps) and put 3-4 gels in them to use over a long training ride. It saves buying loads of gels to fill o 750mm bottle to test it.

    I have also watered them down in the past, and that works, but a bottle full of gels works for me on an Ironman - and only one gel bottle leaves room for an energy drink and a water/Nuun aero bottle on the front
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