Running-Wizard

1

Carb replacements - not recommended, but required during marathon? (Read 35 times)

frank777


Phew!

    The information for long aerobic runs lists one of the biggest mistakes is "Taking replacement carbohydrates on the way thus not allowing your body to learn to metabolize fats efficiently".

     

    I understand the rationale for this. But in the marathon itself, I will have to replenish my energy somehow during the race (no doubt at several points) - whether by gels or energy drinks - so how do I train my body to get used to using carb replacements if their use is discouraged during training?  Remember the old adage "nothing new on race day".

     

    I've used gels in previous training plans and during half marathons without any problems. But I just don't want to have any surprises this time during the race if my body is used to not having them for the preceding few months.

    JML


      I asked Nobby this question late last year  when I was training for a half using RW.    His answer:

       

      I have no problem people taking energy gel during a long race, making sure your stomach can handle it by trying out in at least one of your long run or long tempo run (O&B).  

       

      Except for a psychological benefit, I don't think it helps you that much if you're running less than 2-hours.  I would take one before the start and then maybe one more during the race; say, at 6 or 7 miles.  

       

      I would make sure also that you'd take GU or honey or whatever with high carb content that's easy to digest 3-4 days leading up to the race day.  Carbo-loading, and hydration, means more BEFORE the actual race day than during the race.  

       


      I followed his guidance and ran one long run with a gu prior to race day with no issues.  My only advice here is to try it out on one of the long out and backs or pcr runs as what your stomach tolerates at a slow pace may not be the same as what it tolerates at a harder pace.  I had some stomach pain on race day when I took my gu that I didn't have during the slower paced long training run where I took gu.

       

      good luck

       2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

        I like the information on Hammer nutrition web site. http://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge.  There is an  "essential" and "advanced" tab, depending on how much info you want to read.  Although it is slanted toward their products, I've found the info to be spot on.

         

        The amount of calories needed during a marathon is over estimated by most.  The biggest take away I've incorporated is not taking carbs within 3 hours of a long run or marathon.

        2012 Goals:

        Stay healthy, stay running

        Lose those extra pounds 

          The information for long aerobic runs lists one of the biggest mistakes is "Taking replacement carbohydrates on the way thus not allowing your body to learn to metabolize fats efficiently".

           

          I understand the rationale for this. But in the marathon itself, I will have to replenish my energy somehow during the race (no doubt at several points) - whether by gels or energy drinks - so how do I train my body to get used to using carb replacements if their use is discouraged during training?  Remember the old adage "nothing new on race day".

           

          I've used gels in previous training plans and during half marathons without any problems. But I just don't want to have any surprises this time during the race if my body is used to not having them for the preceding few months.

          Perhaps what we're trying to do is defy many of commonly accepted "myths"--3 X 20-miler being one of them.  Maybe???

           

          This is something Greg McMillan started posting, if I remember it correctly, back in 2004 or 05.  Unless someone else said it before that, it was Greg and me came up with this idea while discussing some training tips for Keith Livingston's HIT.  I can still remember that conversation--I was down in the basement, trying to fix the window down there...  We were talking about the purpose of long runs...and topic came up on fueling.  Now, think about it; one of the primary purposes of long run is to teach your body to go through glycogen depletion and teach your body to use fat as a fuel more efficiently.  When we talk about "the Wall", that's when body's glycogen depleted and shift to use fat and, while fat is more energy-packed, it requires more oxygen to produce energy, the body struggles.  That's the wall.  So in order to overcome that, you teach your body to experience depletion state and teach it to burn fat more efficiently.  Now, some may argue that fat is always being used or, at slower pace, you'll never going to deplete glycogen...blah blah blah...  But at the end of the day, you ARE teaching your body to go through the Wall by doing those long runs.  Now, it ain't easy.  First couple of times, you may struggle.  And not everybody likes that.  So some smart marketers come up with the idea of selling energy gel for every possible opportunity--naturally, the more people use it, the more sale they'll generate.  It's the same thing with hydration.  They will tell you that, if you don't hydrate every 2 minutes, you're going to drop dead...  When you think about why you need to hydrate, do you really think it's legit to carry 4 bottles of water around your waste when running a 5k race at 40 degree temperature?  That's what I thought; but people do that.  Why do you think?  It is a lot more commercially driven than necessity.

           

          At any rate, that was about the time Greg started to write for Running Times.  He's very good at writing one of those one-page articles and has done a great job capturing the essence of those points; I'm sure if you search his comment about "fueling" during long runs, you'll find several good ones.  So during the long run, you want to experience this depletion state.  If you keep fueling yourself, you'll never even get there.  It's as if you're trying to get used to the heat of Sahara desert by sitting in a sauna as long as you can but bringing a fan in there to cool you off...  What't the point?

           

          So why do it during the marathon?  Because you want to help your body go through it.  You've got to remember; you train your body in a tough condition, your body will respond it easily in the race.  Lorraine Moller trained, wearing several layers of track suits during the summer to get ready for LA Olympics marathon.  She won't, and didn't, wear layers of track suits during the race; but it prepared her for a hot-weather marathon.  Now, you may turn around and ask, if that's the case, why not do a super long run of 28-miles to get ready for a marathon.  Again, the risk of getting hurt is way too much if you go beyond 3-hours too often.

           

          Hope this helps.

            Here's an article by McMillan on two types of long runs for marathon training - including one without fuel. Read the article since it has some interesting caveats that I think help deal with issues that are sometimes presented as black and white. It helps explain some of Nobby's comments.

             

            "Two words of wisdom here. First, I don't recommend withholding carbohydrates for runs lasting longer than three and a half hours. And second, withholding carbohydrates is the "icing on the cake" for the long, steady run. The "cake" is the fact that you are running for over two hours. If you're sent into hypoglycemia by the thought of having no carbohydrates on a long run then by all means, ingest them. You'll still be stressing the body to adapt to these longer runs."  (in another part, he suggests doing those longer runs on trails - just cuz they're more enjoyable)

             

            "I also recommend carrying an energy gel with you just in case you run into trouble (like taking a wrong turn, having to run longer than expected and getting a little woozy)."

             

            He does hydrate and use electrolytes on his long runs.

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

              I would add that most of us running on the slower side (4 to 5 hour marathons) never "hit the wall".  The reason we slow after 20 miles is that we out run our fitness level.  Since we are running well below our anaerobic threshold, and most of us are above 15% body fat, we have plenty of fuel to finnish.

               

              Hydration and electrolytes in proper amounts are necessary.  Any comments on "The Runners Body" by Tucker and Dugas.  They have an interesting chapter on electrolytes and fluid and the relationship to cramping.  Most runners that cramp are actually over hydrated.  The most common problem is again out running your fitness level.

               

              Thoughts?

              2012 Goals:

              Stay healthy, stay running

              Lose those extra pounds 

              frank777


              Phew!

                Thanks to everyone for your replies - certainly food for thought Wink