Why Marathoners Need Proper Nutrition When Running 26.2 Miles
Proper nutrition can effectively power marathoners to the finish line
You train for months. Your goal is the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon finish line. All of your hard work leads up to Sunday, February 16th. GU Energy Labs, the Official Energy Gel and Chew of the Austin Marathon, is here to help you perform your best! Their products are scientifically proven to give you the energy you need. They’ll have two on-course Energy Zones near Mile 9 and Mile 20. GU will provide the following ROCTANE Energy Gels, Vanilla Orange (35 mg of caffeine), Chocolate Coconut (35 mg of caffeine), Blueberry Pomegranate (35 mg of caffeine) and Pineapple (no caffeine) on course. GU Blueberry Pomegranate Energy Chews (no caffeine) will also be available. Check out their advice on proper nutrition, listen to the “Eating is Training” episode of the Pinnacle Podcast, and prepare to perform your best!
Proper nutrition advice from the experts at GU Energy Labs
Through training, we grow stronger, get faster, and learn how to endure more. By eating the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right times, we build our muscles, mend our bodies, and optimize our training efforts. While athletes train hard to prepare for races like the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon, they also need proper fuel to make sure they feel good and their performance doesn’t suffer on race day.
When you’re out running for miles on end, your muscles consume their glycogen stores after only an hour and a half. Your body needs fuel in the form of calories to keep going to avoid the dreaded bonk. When you run, blood is diverted away from your digestive tract to power your muscles, so you need something that is easily digestible and can be converted to energy quickly. Sports nutrition products like energy gels, chews, and drink mixes provide fast-acting energy so you can fuel quickly without stomach issues, allowing you to keep pushing hard. Along with sufficient hydration and electrolytes, the type of food you eat is crucial. In long races like the Austin Marathon, proper race fuel can be the difference maker between getting to the finish line feeling good or struggling through the last five miles.
The fuel your body needs
Fueling is not just for race day. The fuel you eat during training sessions is equally important. At GU we like to say “Eating is Training”. It’s a mantra for optimizing athlete’s everyday diet. It means tailoring your nutrition intake to meet the demands of your training cycle with planned and purposeful fueling. Eating is training, is a holistic approach to nutrition with a focus on performance and recovery.
Check out GU’s Pinnacle Podcast episode for more on the “Eating is Training” philosophy.
GU Essentials – The Foundation of a Good Plan
- Energy Gels – 100 calories, delicious → Great for training.
- ROCTANE Energy Gels – 100 calories, MORE amino acids, MORE sodium → Reach for these when it’s time to get serious.
- What’s the difference? Learn when to reach for a ROCTANE Energy Gel.
- Energy Chews — 90 calories per serving, portable & delicious → Mix it up with the GU you can chew.
Race Day Nutrition 101 — The Basics
You’ve invested energy, money, and a whole lot of time to get to the start line. Set yourself up for success with a fueling and hydration plan. There are three basic aspects to creating a proper nutrition plan, energy, hydration, and recovery. Yes, everyone is different and responds differently to what they eat and drink. Here are a few rules of thumb we recommend following to keep you performing and feeling good on race day.
Rule of Thumb #1
Consume 100-200 calories per hour while running. That’s the magic range that will work for most people. While it’s possible to train your body to absorb more than 300 calories per hour, if you haven’t practiced before race day, we recommend staying within this range. Start consuming in your first hour of running since you are bound to go into a calorie deficit in a race like the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon.
Rule of Thumb #2
Hydrate along the way by drinking between 16-30 oz of fluids every hour. Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to make sure your body is performing at its potential. When you’re dehydrated, your power output goes down. Don’t waste your run and keep the fluids flowing!
Rule of Thumb #3
You need electrolytes to absorb fluids — 300-700 mg of sodium per hour. Plain water does not absorb as efficiently as water with electrolytes, so make sure you’re getting enough salt to help you hold that hydration. We supplement sodium in all GU energy products to make hydrating easier for you. Just sip some water after a gel, chew, or Stroopwafel to nail your hydration plan.
Rule of Thumb #4
Recover faster by consuming a complete protein within 30 minutes of uploading your race to Strava. By including recovery in your training routine, you can bounce back faster and get stronger making you ready for your next run.
Rule of Thumb #5
Protect your muscles and stay sharp with 3,000 mg of amino acids per hour. Branched Chain Amino acids (or BCAAs) are the building blocks of proteins, and can start repairing your muscles while running. GU helps protect your muscles from damage by including BCAA’s in all GU energy products. BCAA’s are a GU HQ favorite because they help fight muscle soreness, and we believe any time is a good time for BCAA’s; pre-run, mid-run and post-run!
Big thanks to the experts at GU Energy Labs for providing so much helpful information. You’ve done the training. Planning is complete. All the information you need is now yours. The last part is to reach your goal at the finish line! Don’t forget, GU will have two on-course Energy Zones near Mile 9 and Mile 20 to give you the boost you need.