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The body gets its energy by burning fats, carbohydrates and some proteins. Carbohydrate can be converted to energy the easiest; using the least amount of oxygen to do so. More so than fat. But usually our body uses a combination of the two to allow for the lower and higher intensity phases of training or racing. The only problem is, our carbohydrate stores are limited; so our marathon fuelling strategy needs to revolve around replenishing these stores and staying on top of hydration.
Before an event, we would suggest having a high carbohydrate meal around 2-3 hours before the start. This will allow your body to process the food and avoid any discomfort when you begin. Some ideas of good pre-marathon meals are:
We recommend sipping on OTE Hydro Tabs during the days prior to the event to ensure you start the event fully hydrated. Also if you struggle to eat early in the morning or prior to an event due to nerves, trying using OTE Energy Drink as an easy way of consuming extra carbohydrates.
Before most big marathons you have to spend time in a holding pen depending on the guide running time you have given when you entered. You may spend anything up to and beyond an hour in this pen which is usually outside on a road. During this time we would advise having a snack with you such as a Duo Bar and a bottle of Energy Drink, which will be particularly important if it is a hot day. It may be worth having some warm clothing with you too to wear during this time if the weather isn’t so good, but these may have to be sacrificed and left at the start unless you can get a helper to retrieve them.
There is often a bag drop option where you can have a bag sent to the finish. Think about your nutrition when packing this bag and place in there a shaker and a recovery drink sachet to make up as you finish. This will help kick start the recovery process. Also think about the logistics of getting back to your car or accommodation, things could be very busy so packing some extra snacks such as an Anytime Bar is always a good idea
We would always suggest trialing you fuelling strategy in training. And try to avoid using any sport nutrition you are not familiar with on the big day (even if it is free!)
The following is based on a 4 hour marathon time, looking at consuming 60g of carbohydrates per hour. Aiming for a total of 240g. This can be dependent on weight so check out our Energy System for more details.
These may seem like a lot of energy gels, but it is important to remember our Energy Gels are designed to be kind on the stomach and eliminate any discomfort that may usually be associated with the use of Sports Nutrition products. Check out why you would use an energy gel here.
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