Race day fueling strategies are as varied as the runners themselves. What works for me might be terrible for you, but I thought I'd share so you have one more perspective.
To start with, the day of a marathon (or a long run), I make sure to have a decent breakfast. My favorites include pancakes with a large glass of milk or grits with chia. If you're a grits girl/guy, try hydrating some chia and mixing it in once your grits are ready. You won't even notice the texture of them!
|Buttery, salty grits with chia! YUM.|
Last Saturday, I woke at 4:30 and had pumpkin pancakes, some kombucha with chia (warning: the texture of it is terrible! I have to down it like a shot, and even then I gag. But chia really seems to help keep my blood sugar level), milk, and coffee.
*Pancakes travel really well- make them ahead of time and freeze them and they become a hearty, portable breakfast. And if you forget a plate to use to heat them in the microwave, paper ads from your race swag bag will work in a pinch. :)
Since I knew I'd have a decent wait between catching the 5:30 shuttle and the 7:30 race start, I brought along a Clif Kid Zbar.
I ate the Clif bar at 6:30, giving it plenty of time to move along.
|Mmm, salted caramel!!!!|
Personally, I prefer Gu gels over other brands because of their texture. I know people who prefer other brands' gels for the same reason, though, so try a few and figure it out.
During the Air Force Marathon, it took 8 gels. I brought 6 with me, and was able to snag 2 from aid stations. When you require as much fuel as I do, it helps to know how many you can get one course. I knew there were at least 2 aid stations with gels, and that it took 7 to get through my last marathon, so I only relied on getting 1 (but was grateful for the second!).
I've learned over the past year that I cannot eat bananas during a run. They make me hurl. Post run, they're awesome, but during? Not unless you want to see my guts!
Some of my other favorite fuels are Clif Shot Bloks, Sport Beans, and in a pinch, good old fashioned fruit snacks.
This is probably the most valuable thing you can learn from those long runs. Find the fuels that work before, during, and after.
What is your favorite fuel?
Bananas: love them or hate them?