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Endurance Fuel Suggestions (Read 250 times)

    Josh, As you know, racing intensity is different than training intensity. What worked for a 3-hr long run in training may or may not work in a 3-hr race. (I'll save you the "been there, done that" stories)  If you're used to gels, I'd probably continue that way UNLESS you've done some higher intensity runs of maybe a couple hours or so.

     

    Until peanut butter magic gel appeared awhile ago, I could never tolerate gels at all, and rarely did races with aid stations (trails with no road intersections) - and one with aid stations had water so cold, it passed right through me. So I'm used to bringing my own whatever. I'll add aid station water to water bottle, but not drink it directly. For a 3-4 hr race, I've used shot-bloks or similar. Today, I might consider gels instead, but probably not. I am adding gels to my menu for longer duration stuff.

     

    Regarding Cytomax, I like it and it's what I've used on shorter runs and races until it got hard to find a couple years ago. It does gunk up water bottles so I've never used it in bladders. They used to have some really good flavors, like pink lemonade. It does come in single packet servings, but whether you can buy them online that way or just as package of servings, I'm not sure. I think REI had some individual packets last time I was in there. It's more available now, but fewer flavors. Other people hate it. I can't stand gatorade. YMMV.

     

    If you're used to water and gels, and have no reason to change, I'd probably keep it that way. If you don't think you need the gel, then don't use it - but by the time you realize you might need it, it might be too late. Knowing these things ahead of time would take all the fun and mystery out of running. Wink

     

    A 5-6 hr run like OP referred to is a much different situation.

     

    Re 5-6 hr runs, totally agree; I've only done a couple, and pb&j w/ potato chips are wonderful. Also never knew mountain dew could taste so good.

     

    The problem with gels for me is that I can't tell if they work because my experiences with them have been so different. It's not just the gels, but my training too. I've never put in 80-mile weeks like I have been lately; I kind of feel like I'm running so much so that 26.2 feels like a quick sprint. I'm hoping (beyond rationality, I know) that if I train enough, I won't need to worry about fuel at all. Farther than a marathon I can relax the pace and eat whatever. Shorter, I don't need anything.

     

    Re pissing contests, I can't pee very far. Probably because I'm not drinking enough water.

       

      ...

      The problem with gels for me is that I can't tell if they work because my experiences with them have been so different. It's not just the gels, but my training too. I've never put in 80-mile weeks like I have been lately; I kind of feel like I'm running so much so that 26.2 feels like a quick sprint. I'm hoping (beyond rationality, I know) that if I train enough, I won't need to worry about fuel at all. ..

      My thoughts are that if you can tell they helped, then you probably waited too long. If you can't tell, you either didn't need them or you timed their intake just right so you didn't hit a low point between doses. All this is for conditions that day - both in your condition (training, sick or not) and weather/course conditions.

       

      If you have the confidence in your training and racing, then go without. If you're hesitant, take some with you. As you've observed, race days can be variable for weather, your conditioning, how you're feeling, etc. Races aren't deterministic events. Wink

      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


      Bad Ass

        I'm looking for a good endurance fuel to use for my 5-6 hour runs. It would be really helpful if you can give answers to some or all of the questions below.

        1. What endurance fuel do you currently use?

        2. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

        3. Where can you buy the product?

        4. Where can I find out more about the product?

         

        One of my friends recommended Tailwind Endurance Fuel. If you used it before, what are your thoughts on it?

         

        I use Crank e-Gels to fuel and I even used them for my trail 50K that lasted 8 hours.  I tried eating actual food but my stomach was not in the mood.  I like it because it's 150 calories, slightly bigger than the Gu, and it fuels me well while letting my stomach not go crazy.  I buy it online www.cranksports.com , but I know some running stores have them.

         

        And during that 50K, I discovered the wonderful Mountain Dew.  As others have mentioned, when you're on the trails and/or running an ultra, it has never tasted better.

        Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

        Next:  RnR Country Music Half Marathon

        Blog

        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

           

          If you have the confidence in your training and racing, then go without. If you're hesitant, take some with you. As you've observed, race days can be variable for weather, your conditioning, how you're feeling, etc. Races aren't deterministic events. Wink

           

          Which brings us back to my original question, has anyone ever had success in a approx. 3/hr race goal without fuel (other than a little water)? My guess is no matter how good the training, a hard effort for that long requires at least a little something. If not fuel, then a heavy helping of badassery. Or fear.

            Whatever the intentions of the original poster, hope no one minds if I hijack the thread a bit.

             

            During runs longer than two hours, I've been consuming nothing but a little water. Like, sips. On a recent run just under three hours, I had about 8oz of water total, and felt tired but otherwise ok (easy effort, though).

             

            I've tried sports drinks and gels, and while they've never bothered me, I've never noticed much of a boost either. It's hard to tell when you're having a good run because of what you ingest vs just having a good run. Same thing with marathons. Some have been good, some (most) have been bonkerific, no rhyme or reason.

             

            My next marathon is serving cytomax at the aid stations, something I've never had before. If I want to try it, I have to buy a jug. That's fine I guess, but given how I feel generally ok with just a little water, I'm wondering if I should just go the super simple route. Will I be throwing away months of really good training? Has anyone else ever said no thanks to all the magic potions for long races?

             

            PS I know they're not all "magic," experiment of one, do what works for you, etc etc etc.

             

            Hey Josh my experience is that there is no "boost" that I can feel from using gels or sports drinks so I understand what you mean when you say it's hard to tell if its working since. IMO there is only one reason to take fuel during  a run or race up to marathon distance and that's to avoid a bonk and it can take quite a bit of trial and error to figure out under exactly what conditions you will and won't bonk. If you are running a distance/intensity at which there's no chance of a bonk, taking them will do no good whatsoever.

             

            For training runs up to 3 hours, I have pretty much the same experience as you--I'm generally fine with nothing more than a little water.  Occasionally if I feel like I'm going into a run already a bit depleted and I want to make sure I avoid a bonk so I will be able to finish the run strong, I might take a single gu for a 2+ hour run like I did last weekend on a hilly 16+ miler, but usually I take nothing.

             

            Racing a marathon is a different animal altogether though. At an easy pace, I'm pretty sure I could just about run a marathon on water alone. At marathon pace, I need about 400 additional calories somewhere along the line to avoid a bonk--that's the number I've figured out over trial and some painful error. I take 1 in the coral about 15 minutes before the start, then 3 on course at roughly 7, 14 and 20 miles and just take water at the aid stations.

             

            Gels are just the easiest way to know how many calories you're actually consuming.

             

            At the speed you'll be running, I would not risk trying to race a marathon on water alone--you have too much invested! You're lighter than me an you may be more efficient, so maybe you could get by on 3 gels versus my 4? But I really doubt you'll be able to run 2:50 without taking in some fuel. That's my semi-educated guess as a guy who races marathons at roughly the same speed you are going for.

            Runners run.

               Hey Josh my experience is that there is no "boost" that I can feel from using gels or sports drinks so I understand what you mean when you say it's hard to tell if its working 

               

              My experience is different.  I feel like I get a sugar rush after eating a gel, and find my effort drops a little and pace picks up if I dont check it.  Then there is a small wall as that pickup/rush falls off, maybe 10-15 min after.

               

              As a result I use them sparingly, and rarely in training except for the longest runs (20+).  For these I've started using the blocks, spreading them out every few minutes with the thought that it could help smooth sugar levels and reduce any rush/crash.

               

              Anyone else get a gel turbo boost?

                 

                Which brings us back to my original question, has anyone ever had success in a approx. 3/hr race goal without fuel (other than a little water)? My guess is no matter how good the training, a hard effort for that long requires at least a little something. If not fuel, then a heavy helping of badassery. Or fear.

                 

                I've run several sub-3's on water only and taking whatever gel they hand out during the race.  So, maybe water and one gel for many races (and I believe there was at least one race where I took zero gels).  But I agree with mikeymike that you (and myself) probably would run better by taking a few during the race.  Why chance the bonk?  I have a marathon coming up in Dec and God-willing I am shooting for 2:50 (long shot as I don't have any races to predict it).  I plan on a gel immediately before the start and then a few during the race.

                 

                In my earlier marathoning days I used to eat several gels during the race and obsess over pre-race 'fueling' (I hate that word) because I was always falling off a cliff in terms of pace at 20miles, so marathons freaked me out for that reason.  Reason for the big slowdown near 20 was not because I was out of fuel but because I didn't train enough.  Once I fixed that training thing I don't usually have much of a fall-off at the end of a marathon, even though I don't take lots of gels.  It's also been my experience that once I bonked it didn't matter how many gels or how much sports drink I took - it was all over but the crying.

                  Reason for the big slowdown near 20 was not because I was out of fuel but because I didn't train enough.  Once I fixed that training thing I don't usually have much of a fall-off at the end of a marathon, even though I don't take lots of gels.  It's also been my experience that once I bonked it didn't matter how many gels or how much sports drink I took - it was all over but the crying.

                   

                  Yup, I took only one gel during my most recent, and best marathon.  Would 2 - 4 have been better?  Who knows, too many variables and not enough experiments.

                  Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                    Whatever the intentions of the original poster, hope no one minds if I hijack the thread a bit.

                     

                    During runs longer than two hours, I've been consuming nothing but a little water. Like, sips. On a recent run just under three hours, I had about 8oz of water total, and felt tired but otherwise ok (easy effort, though).

                     

                    I've tried sports drinks and gels, and while they've never bothered me, I've never noticed much of a boost either. It's hard to tell when you're having a good run because of what you ingest vs just having a good run. Same thing with marathons. Some have been good, some (most) have been bonkerific, no rhyme or reason.

                     

                    My next marathon is serving cytomax at the aid stations, something I've never had before. If I want to try it, I have to buy a jug. That's fine I guess, but given how I feel generally ok with just a little water, I'm wondering if I should just go the super simple route. Will I be throwing away months of really good training? Has anyone else ever said no thanks to all the magic potions for long races?

                     

                    PS I know they're not all "magic," experiment of one, do what works for you, etc etc etc.

                    Irrespective of whether cytomax will help with your performance, and if you just want to test out the taste without buying a large amount—take some urine and add some lemon juice. That should get you pretty close to the taste.

                      Irrespective of whether cytomax will help with your performance, and if you just want to test out the taste without buying a large amount—take some urine and add some lemon juice. That should get you pretty close to the taste.

                       

                      Yay recycling!

                         

                        Which brings us back to my original question, has anyone ever had success in a approx. 3/hr race goal without fuel (other than a little water)? My guess is no matter how good the training, a hard effort for that long requires at least a little something. If not fuel, then a heavy helping of badassery. Or fear.

                         

                        Not me. Closest I came to that experiment was a trail 50k in which I (absentmindedly and then foggyheadedly) took only one Gu. Felt great for the first 20 miles (a little under 3 hours, pretty rugged trails), then I got my doors blown off by an ugly and malicious bonk.

                          I wonder what distance runners of the past did; the Navajo, Greek messengers, etc. Did they bring food? How did they carry it? Did they eat plants that grew along the paths? Did they suck it up and suffer?

                           

                          Anyway, the aid stations also offer powergels, which I can tolerate just fine. I'll probably use those and water. You know, just like the Apache.

                            I wonder what distance runners of the past did; the Navajo, Greek messengers, etc. Did they bring food? How did they carry it? Did they eat plants that grew along the paths? Did they suck it up and suffer?

                            ...

                            That's what I've wondered for years. Did Pheidippides get grapes from vinyards - or something similar - along the Spartathlon route, esp. since he did it both directions?

                             

                            Read John Annerino's Running Wild. Not about Greek messengers, but about native Americans using Grand Canyon as a trade route.

                            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                              Taking 2 days to run 150 miles is a slightly different activity than running 26.2 in 170 minutes. They could have stopped for meals and taken naps. Not a lot you can take from that and use in your race plan.

                              Runners run.

                                That's what I've wondered for years. Did Pheidippides get grapes from vinyards - or something similar - along the Spartathlon route, esp. since he did it both directions?

                                 

                                Read John Annerino's Running Wild. Not about Greek messengers, but about native Americans using Grand Canyon as a trade route.

                                 

                                Thanks for the recommendation! I'll add it to my list.

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