Asics nutrition webchat with Ruth McKean

Get your questions in for everything on marathon fuelling and recovery.

1 to 20 of 54 messages
05/02/2014 at 15:35

Wondering how best to fuel during the marathon? If and when to start carb-loading? How to keep properly hydrated in the marathon? 

ASICS Pro Team Nutritionist Ruth McKean will be here on Friday 14 February (Valentine’s Day!) from 1pm – 2pm to talk about all things nutrition.

To join in, post your marathon nutrition questions below, or join us on the day for the webchat.

seren nos    pirate
05/02/2014 at 17:16

have the questions got to be re marathon or can they be regardiung any training or race......

06/02/2014 at 11:03

Hi Seren, the web chat is aimed at marathon runners as the timing fits Paris and London, but I am sure Ruth will be happy to answer a general running nutrition questions, so post away. 

06/02/2014 at 12:11

i run with a number of people who suffer from sensitive/irritable bowel issues.  Gels appear to cause them particular problems.  However doing the full 26.2 without anything (at race speed) is difficult.  Can you advise on anything that is easier on the bowel?




06/02/2014 at 12:36

Hi Ruth, what are your thoughts on chia seeds? They seem to be very popular since "Born To Run" but see there are potential side-effects. It would be great to hear your view on them!

Related stories:


Warning on side-effects: 

Many thanks, Gurjit


06/02/2014 at 12:37

I am running London this year, having broken my marathon cherry in Edinburgh in 2012.

I struggled during the race, and with a subsequent marathon later the same year, around the 20mile mark and I am pretty sure it was due to insufficient fueling ...

I am most interested in when I should start to 'fuel up' in the days running up to the run and the best options food wise.

For the day itself, I have been experimenting and have found a breakfast routine that suits (porridge & banana) and my race fueling is looking like clif shot blocks as I find them easy to take on the run, easy to digest and they seem to provide the right energy at the time.

My issue just seems to be eating in the run up to the big race  

thank you


06/02/2014 at 13:17

Dear Ruth,

I have the same question as Karen (above). I know we're all different and there's no perfect fit but what can I do to best prepare, food wise, in the days before a marathon? I tried to carbo load for a marathon last year (my first one) and just felt uncomfortably full and heavy before the race.

It's a huge topic and the answer probably varies from person to person but any snippets of advice would be gratefully received. I'm preparing for Paris right now!

Many thanks


06/02/2014 at 13:23

Hi Ruth, I'm running London in April and this will be my first marathon. Any advice on what to take in the final 3rd of the race to give me that extra energy I'll need to get me to that finish line. Thanks. Darren

06/02/2014 at 14:30

Hello Ruth

I too am doing the London Marathon this year.  Last year during the Edinburgh marathon I suffered cramping in my quads, it was an unusually warm day after all the horrible usual British weather so was a bit of a shock to the system.  All was going to plan but at mile 16 the pain in my quads was quite unnerving, I had High 5 Gels (in 2 bottles on my waist belt) with me and the High 5 Zero tablets, all of which had no effect, the cramps didn't stop me running but made for a very uncomfortable last 10 miles. 

I am currently trying Dextrose Glucose tablets which I place in my cheek and let dissolve whilst on my long runs.  I'm also trying a pre-run smoothie of bananas, honey, almond milk, almond butter and oats. I also carry High 5 Zero tablets to hydrate me.  Can you give me any advice to prevent the cramps returning at London please.


06/02/2014 at 17:33

Hi Ruth - is it a good idea to take a gel or equivalent just before the start of the marathon, or does that mess with body's ability to burn fat needed for the duration of the race?

06/02/2014 at 18:12

Hi Ruth

Long or hard runs give me the shits. I can usually prevent this by avoiding fibre for a day or two before a race or hard workout.  This means my fruit, veg, and wholegrain intake is not as high as I'd like during marathon training.  I have 3 questions (greedy so-and-so, I am)

1. Should I take a multi-vitamin to make up for not getting my 5 a day? If so can you recommend one? (I have history of IDA so take iron supplements and vit C)

2. What fruit/veg etc should give me best nutritional bang for my fibre/pooping-farting-making buck?

3. Is there such a thing as low GI, low fibre, high carb food?


07/02/2014 at 08:50

I'm keen to understand how glycogen requirements vary by runner and by training.

Is it the case that if you train yourself to burn fat efficiently (e.g. by doing long runs in a glycogen depleted state), then your glycogen stores won't deplete as fast?

Whenever i read about how much energy you're required to take on in a marathon it takes a one size fits all approach (e.g. x grams of carb /y kg of body weight).  But surely the requirements should vary depending on fast/slow you burn through your glycogen? 

07/02/2014 at 09:15

My query is similar to Marrows' - He phased it so well.

I would be interested in any tips on reducing the need for 'comfort breaks' during training, but particularly during the race.  This has always been an occasional problem for me in the past, but usually manageable.  However, following advice on these fora, I've started having breakfast (porridge & dried fruit) before long runs and this has been causing me regular problems.

07/02/2014 at 13:49

What 15West asked. Many people take a gel 5 mins before the start, and I've seen others drink a bottle of Luco Sport in the first mile. But other folk say this is a big no-no for the fat-burning reasons mentioned. Interested in your thoughts re that. Thanks!!

07/02/2014 at 19:00

Oh dear - I think a lot of us have issues with hedge-bottom (or in my case dyke-bottom) stops on our long runs; I'm ok until I couple distance with speed!  I would like some advice on fuelling without causing these problems.  Again, like so many others, I fade during the last 10k of the marathon and I'd love some help with that; my training has been going so well this year.


07/02/2014 at 20:56

Hi Ruth - I will be running Paris in April and this will be my 5th marathon.  Regardless of how I have fared in each of my previous races I seize up with cramp every time at the end in both legs and it is pure agony. My father used to run marathons and suffered in a similar way. Is there anything I should be adding to my diet that will help here? I am fine after long training runs (18-22m) and always ensure I am well hydrated and take gels during races. Thanks

11/02/2014 at 12:44

I am reading a book called "Mastering the Marathon: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for the 40-Plus Athlete", and the author seems to be taking quite a few gels and energy drinks the morning before his marathons. I kind of thought that the gels were for use during the race to help you at the end. he also has what sounds like a standard pre race breakfast. So isn't this kind of over loading on carbs? 


11/02/2014 at 22:39

Hi Ruth, I have two related questions that I hope you might be able to answer. There's a lot of talk during marathon season about getting lean and reaching your ideal racing weight but I wondered whether there was any guidance on minimum BMI or how to know whether you've gone below an 'ideal'?

I'm 5ft and currently weigh 6 and half stone. Last year, I started to feel unwell when I dipped below this weight in marathon training although I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia at the same time. I've since been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency and still take supplements for both deficiencies as I eat very little meat (particularly red meat as it triggers IBS symptoms).

I'm starting to feel drained again but find it hard to tell whether it's due to weight or dietary deficiencies. I'd be interested in any tips for topping up on iron and B12 without eating red meat.

Many thanks!

12/02/2014 at 08:27

Hi Ruth. Could you give any tips for a first marathoner, aged 49, and diabetic please? I have been educating myself. I am an experienced runner and have so far ran up to 18 miles...

12/02/2014 at 08:48
I find Morton neuromas in my foot limit my training. Do you have any nutrition tips to help?
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