HIGH5 marathon nutrition guide

Preparing for a marathon? Good nutrition is as vital as training. HIGH5 have a carefully planned strategy to keep you on track


WR H5 marathon

The Women’s Running Big Marathon Challenge is on – and our team of ladies couldn’t do it without the help of nutritional experts, HIGH5.

As well as providing plenty of goodies, HIGH5’s Raphael Deinhart has been busy helping our BMC runners to get race-day ready – providing expert advice on pre, mid and post-excercise nutrition.

We don’t want anyone to miss out though. Here’s some top tips from HIGH5 to help you get your marathon nutrition right…

During a marathon, more than two thirds of your energy can come from carbohydrate. Unfortunately, your body is only able to store a limited amount of carbohydrate and as the miles tick by you will deplete that store.

As your carb levels fall, so does your energy, and you will find it harder to maintain your early pace. You could even hit the dreaded ‘wall’ – where your carb stores are so depleted that your muscles are forced to rely almost exclusively on fat as fuel.

The body finds it hard to convert fat to energy, which makes it tough to keep running at any pace. To ensure you have optimum carbohydrate levels on race day, you should carb-load in the days leading up to your event and consume carbohydrate during the marathon.

high5 breakfast

Think of your body’s store of carbohydrate as a relatively small fuel tank that starts emptying as you start running. Your muscles use carbohydrate quickly and can easily deplete that store during a marathon. If you provide your muscles with carbohydrate by consuming gel as you run, they will take less fuel from your carbohydrate store and it will last longer. The purpose of taking gel during your marathon is to delay the point at which you run out of fuel – until you cross the finish line.

It might seem logical that the more gel you can consume, the better – but take care. You can consume (read swallow) a lot of gel, BUT your body can only absorb a maximum of 60g per hour (up to 75g if the gel contains caffeine). Taking too much gel too quickly can and will cause stomach problems. By contrast, taking just a couple of gels at the 17-mile mark, as some people do, will only provide a short lived energy boost. Taking two or three gels every hour from the very start of your event is optimum and will mean that by mile 17 you should have a large stock of carbohydrate available for a strong finish.

If you weigh more than 55kg: 15 minutes before the start take two EnergyGel Plus sachets (with caffeine) and drink 200 to 300ml of water or HIGH5 ZERO.

If you weigh less than 55kg: 15 minutes before the start take two EnergyGel sachets (no caffeine) and drink 200 to 300ml of water or HIGH5 ZERO.

During your run: Take one EnergyGel Plus sachet every 30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. If you are on- course for a long time, only use EnergyGel Plus (with caffeine) for the first four and a half hours of running, then switch to standard EnergyGel (without caffeine) for the remainder of your run. Use a Gel Belt to carry your gels.

15 minutes before the start: Take two EnergyGel Plus sachets (with caffeine) and drink 200 to 300ml of water or HIGH5 ZERO.

During your run: Take one gel sachet every 20 minutes during your run (three per hour). Wait until 20 minutes into your race before taking your first sachet. Depending on bodyweight, there is a maximum number of EnergyGel Plus sachets you can take. Any additional gels you consume should be standard EnergyGel (without caffeine).

Your bodyweight: Max No. EnergyGel Plus sachets 50kg: 5 during + 2 before
60kg: 7 during + 2 before
70kg: 8 during + 2 before
80kg: 9 during + 2 before
90kg: 10 during + 2 before

If you find that three gels an hour is too much, try and consume as many gels as you comfortably can. Practising using gels during longer training runs makes it easier to use on race day. You can use HIGH5 IsoGel instead of EnergyGel depending on personal preference – they perform the same function.

Your fluid needs will depend on how warm the weather is on race day and how much you sweat. Try to drink water or the on-course drink regularly. If you use the on-course drink, take care not to consume too much additional carbohydrate from
that drink or you will need to adjust your gel intake. In very hot conditions you may need additional electrolytes. Individual ZERO tabs can be wrapped in cling film and carried on your run. Simply put the tab into the on-course water to make a refreshing electrolyte drink. ZERO does not contain carbohydrate.

Drink 400ml of Protein Recovery as soon as you finish. Drink another 400ml one hour later and eat a balanced meal as soon as possible.

If you have any medical condition including high blood pressure, if you are pregnant, breast feeding or under 18 years of age, do not use caffeine.

If you are sensitive to caffeine and suffer any side effects, such as a higher than expected heart rate, discontinue use immediately. If you do not wish to use caffeine for any reason, simply follow the guidelines using gel without caffeine.

For more information, visit www.highfive.co.uk

Written by Angelina Manzano | 220 articles | View profile

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