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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

Image of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon finish line with the Texas State Capitol in the background. Follow the GU Energy Labs advice in this blog about proper nutrition to help you get to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon finish line.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.

Hydration: 5 Things You Should Know and How They’ll Help

You know about hydration, now learn about how it helps your body

Nuun is the Official Hydration partner of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. They know a thing or two about hydrating athletes. The experts at Nuun are constantly gathering information about how athletes can better fuel their bodies. This blog post was written by the Nuun experts to educate athletes and provide them with the information needed to be successful during training and racing.

Hydration is energy (for your muscles)

Most people think that the purpose of hydration is to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolyte stores that may be lost via sweat. Although both of those are true (recent studies have shown that electrolytes may play greater roles in fluids absorption than sweat replenishment), the fundamental goal of hydration is to deliver oxygen to working muscles. Try to think about hydration or the fluid you are consuming as a way of helping your muscles breathe, which in turn gives them the energy they need to perform.

Editor’s note: proper hydration, along with these 6 tips from this Austin Marathon blog will help you run your best!

Water does not hydrate you

Yes, you read that correctly! While water does fundamentally provide your body with fluid, it does not truly hydrate you. Water needs to be in a specific concentration (composing of carbohydrates and electrolytes) to exit the stomach and move into circulation where it can be used by the body. Our water needs to contain sodium to ensure proper fluid absorption. To make matters even more complicated, your “water” should contain different amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes before/during/after your workout.

Mitigate gastric distress during exercise

To put it simply, when you are exercising, your body (stomach) is under stress. There are ways you can eat and drink to mitigate that stress or encourage it. When it comes to hydration, if the ratio of carbohydrates to fluid is too high or the electrolyte profile is too low, the delivery of fluid slows down. It sits in the stomach. That’s what causes sloshing and GI issues during racing. 

Help you fuel better

This builds on the previous point. With proper hydration, you can help eliminate the GI issues that can come with it. This allows for faster and more efficient fueling. This is achieved by not overloading your system and using multiple pathways to absorb fluids and carbohydrates.

Aids in recovery

One area that is critical to the recovery process is rehydrating. Rehydrating not only replenishes fluids lost during exercise, but it also aids in replenishing the electrolytes that were also lost. Keep in mind: drinking too much too fast can degrade the potential gains of the workout. Here’s why: over time your body has developed a strong immune system that helps repair itself when it is under the stresses of exercise. Therefore, naturally, your body begins repairing itself, slowly rehydrating, and continuing to hydrate throughout the day.

Editor’s note: recover faster when you follow this long training run recovery timeline from the Austin Marathon!

Nuun Hydration is our Official Hydration partner. Head over to www.nuunlife.com to stock up on your hydration supply and train with what will be on course. Save 25% with the code below!

Hydration 101: Prepare for Race Day

Hydration 101: class is now in session

nuun is our chosen hydration partner for the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour. nuun performance will be available on course on race day. We encourage all of our participants to train with what will be on course. You should also know why proper hydration is beneficial for you before, during, and after your long run. Hydration 101 will teach you about proper hydration’s benefits and how it affects your body. Use the 30% off code below and save. You will also find nuun and a rainbow of their flavors at our Health & Fitness Expo. Swing by their booth and meet nuun!

Hydration is energy (for your muscles)

Most people think that the purpose of hydration is to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolyte stores that may be lost via sweat. Although both of those are true (recent studies have shown that electrolytes may play greater roles in fluids absorption than sweat replenishment), the fundamental goal of hydration is to deliver oxygen to working muscles. Try to think about hydration or the fluid you are consuming as a way of helping your muscles breathe, which in turn gives them the energy they need to perform. Sometimes, it’s not so easy to just drink straight from a tap in order to help you hydrate yourself. You might find, that you are more likely to drink water if it is filtered. If this is something that interests you then you can check out Water Filter Way to help you find the best products to get pure water.

Water does not hydrate you

Yes, you read that correctly! While water does fundamentally provide your body with fluid, it does not truly hydrate you. Water needs to be in a specific concentration (composing of carbohydrates and electrolytes) to exit the stomach and move into circulation where it can be used by the body. Our water needs to contain sodium to ensure proper fluid absorption. To make matters even more complicated, your “water” should contain different amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes before/during/after your workout.

Proper hydration will help mitigate gastric distress during exercise

To put it simply, when you are exercising, your body (stomach) is under stress. There are ways you can eat and drink to mitigate that stress or encourage it. When it comes to hydration, if the ratio of carbohydrates to fluid is too high or the electrolyte profile is too low, the delivery of fluid slows down. It sits in the stomach. That’s what causes sloshing and GI issues during racing.

Hydration will help you fuel better

This builds on the previous point. With proper hydration, you can help eliminate the GI issues that can come with it. This allows for faster and more efficient fueling. This is achieved by not overloading your system and using multiple pathways to absorb fluids and carbohydrates.

Hydration aids in recovery

One area that is critical to the recovery process is rehydrating. Rehydrating not only replenishes fluids lost during exercise, but it also aids in replenishing the electrolytes that were also lost. Keep in mind: drinking too much too fast can degrade the potential gains of the workout. Here’s why: over time your body has developed a strong immune system that helps repair itself when it is under the stresses of exercise. Therefore, naturally, your body begins repairing itself, slowly rehydrating, and continuing to hydrate throughout the day.

The experts at nuun wrote this Hydration 101 article. To learn more about nuun hydration, visit their website at nuunlife.com.

Hydration 101 with nuun, the official hydration of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour.