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.
Get to the start line ready to roll with these taper tips
The Taper. If you’re unfamiliar, tapering refers to the reduction in volume and intensity of your workouts leading to race day. You’ve been running for months, increasing your mileage, getting better and better. Your body is in training mode and it can be difficult to turn that off. Follow these taper tips to effectively utilize the extra time you now have. Continue to follow your training plan, implement these taper tips, and get to the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon start line ready to run your best!
Take care of yourself
This is vital and something you should’ve been doing since you began training! However, it becomes even more important leading up to Feb. 16th. Your training has introduced more miles than normal, early wake-up calls, and a reduction in time for yourself. Tapering your miles means you’ll have more time for self-care. Spend an extra 30-60 minutes a day foam rolling and stretching. Schedule a massage. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.
Dial-in your nutrition/hydration
Keep an eye on your calorie intake! You burned more calories during training than you will when you taper. Adjust accordingly so the pounds you shed during training stay off! Focus on a balanced diet of moderate carbs, quality protein, and healthy fats. Start hydrating NOW. You should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Continue including electrolytes like you’ve done during training. Carry a tube of Nuun with you, pop a tablet into your reusable bottle, and make your water count! Make sure you try the on-course fuel, GU Energy Labs.
No new workouts
Just like nothing new on race day, no new workouts when tapering. This includes everything from a pick-up basketball game to lifting heavy weights at the gym. You don’t want to run the risk of spraining your ankle or pulling a muscle. Stick with what’s comfortable. If that’s running or cross-training (swimming, cycling, etc.), focus on less-intense and lower-volume workouts.
An increase in your mileage could mean you’re behind on your favorite show. Maybe you haven’t read those new books you got for Christmas. Now’s the time to distract yourself from the fact that you aren’t running as much as you have been. Spend a couple of hours binging your favorite show. Grab that new book and read at your favorite park. If you find yourself getting antsy because you’re not moving, try to foam roll or stretch while watching your favorite show. Or try reading your book while riding a stationary bike.
Follow these taper tips so the taper doesn’t frustrate you or stress you out. The sudden addition of extra time and the feeling that you should be running can be confusing. Follow these taper tips and focus on controlling what you can control. What do you do to get to the start line ready to roll when you taper? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.
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!