I thought about writing this post after recently being asked, “You need this many GUs for a 16 mile run?!” by the local sneaker store employee. It made me feel kind of embarrassed for some reason. But yes, I need that many! I am not about to bonk in my next marathon again (hopefully).
For that 16 miler, I took a GU every 3 miles. An intake of about 200 calories per hour. This is more than I see most people taking, as most take 1 every 45-60 minutes. And that’s what the instructions say too.
But I’m confused. Why do the instructions say take one every 45ish minutes, but other sources say if you’re doing a long run, or running a marathon, you should be taking in about 200 calories per hour (and 3-60g of carbs per hour)? Obviously this depends on your stomach and stuff, but why is there that discrepancy?
GU nutrition facts
This excerpt is from an article in Runner’s World, “How To Eat During Long Runs,”
In general, runners need to add in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate each hour that they are running longer than 75 minutes. But you’ll need to start fueling earlier than 75 minutes into a run; by that time, your tank will be empty, and once you hit empty it is very hard to recover. Start taking in fuel within 30 minutes of hitting the pavement.
This is from Active, “How To Fuel On A Run,”
To perform your best, you need between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrate for each hour of exercise. Sports drinks like Hammer HEED, Powerade and Gatorade supply a blend of carbs, such as maltodextrin and glucose, plus water and sodium to prevent dehydration, says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
And from Mizuno,
Finally, during the marathon, you should fuel with about 200-350 calories per hour (after the first hour), as tolerated.
According to this fueling calculator, I should have a gel within the first hour, then every 4 miles after that. I somewhat adhere to this, as I have a gel every 3ish miles.
And then there’s hydration…which I have only recently mastered…somewhat.
According to the BAA, “During training and racing, drink at regular 15 to 20 minute intervals to minimize loss of body weight to approximately 2% of your starting body weight by the end of the race.”
Now, I drink every 2-3 miles, but also when I get thirsty. On long runs, I have practices sipping on water as I run. I made a huge mistake in the last marathon, because I was only fueling and hydrating every 6 miles. Talk about a newb!
I’m hoping that my new way of fueling and hydrating will lead to a way better marathon…and not finishing dehydrated and puking…
For some people, fueling too much affects their stomach so they have to take less, but I think I have definitely benefited from learning how to fuel more often…especially because I sweat a TON.
What do you think about all of this fuel information? Do you try to get 30-60g of carbs, or 200 calories per hour in your races?
What’s your favorite way to fuel?
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