Nutrition Q+A: Nick Morgan

Nick Morgan - Lead Sport Scientist at Lucozade Sport - answers your nutrition puzzlers

1 to 20 of 45 messages
01/04/2010 at 12:22

Hi all

It's time for the penultimate lunchtime Q+A in our Virgin London Marathon build-up, and once again, Lucozade Sport's Lead Sport Scientist Nick Morgan will be joining us between 1pm and 2pm to answer any queries you might have about sports nutrition.

Maybe you're wondering how much you should be eating while you taper, or maybe you've still got questions about your race-day fuel and hydration strategy - whatever your queries, make the most of this opportunity to chat directly to Nick.

We're starting this thread now so you have a chance to post your queries beforehand - that way, Nick will be able to get stuck in straight away at 1pm rather than having to deal with too many questions all at once.

Time to get posting!

Catherine

01/04/2010 at 12:29

Hi Nick,

I'm doing Brighton in just over 2 weeks as a London ballot reject and this will be my first full marathon.
I can't stomach the sports drink that is provided on the day so I’m planning on just using gels with water and have been practicing this in training. Will I be OK with this strategy or do I need to take anything else into account?

Thanks

Edited: 01/04/2010 at 12:40
01/04/2010 at 12:31
Seems to be differing opinions about how early to load carbs, and how much energy the body can actually store?
01/04/2010 at 12:36

Hi Nick

I'm running the VLM for the first time and have a race-day fuelling question.

My plan is to run with a Lucozade Sport at all times, sipping at every mile marker.  I estimate that I'll drink 330ml every 5 miles or so (50 to 55 mins) and plan to pick up another 330ml at each Lucozade station.

On top of this I'll take 1x SIS gel at each Lucozade station too.  This is the best way of me remembering when to take them !

I've done my long runs using this strategy and my stomach copes well.   But....

Q1.  Is that enough carbs intake

Q2. Would you recommend drinking water in addition to the above.  If so how much (assuming we're not having a heatwave by then) ?

Thanks

Edited: 01/04/2010 at 12:37
01/04/2010 at 12:38

I have a question on weight loss.  Is it OK to attempt to shed a few pounds over these last few weeks, particularly given a bit of extra weight is likely to go on during carb loading?  I have been surprised that my weight has been stable at around 12st (I'm 6ft) despite about 5 months of running 45mpw.  I basically eat as much as I please (volume wise - I do try to eat mostly the right stuff) in the knowlege that I'm burning it off.  Would it be OK to reduce calorie intake by say 500-700 per day with a view to losing, say 4-5 pounds over the next 3 weeks provided I ensure I am properly fuelled for my key runs (particularly the last couple of longer ones)?

Or could this prove counter productive this close to the big day?

Last year I was about 4lbs lighter than I am now when I did FLM and given I am aiming for a PB I don't really want to be carrying unecessary extra baggage!

Thanks, Nick

Edited: 01/04/2010 at 12:39
01/04/2010 at 12:39

Hi,

I'm also doing Brighton and wonder what you're advice is on carbo-loading in the days before? I tried to practice a couple of days in advance on a recent half with pasta, jacket potato at lunch, and some granola bars for snacks but fat intake ended up being quite high and I ate far too many calories in total. Any good tips for sensible high carb foods?

01/04/2010 at 12:42
What is the minimum carb loading you can get away with in the days leading up to the race? I'm finding the numbers thrown around (7gm of carbs per kilo of body weight seems to be average) pretty daunting when you sit down and work out what that actually involves. I don't want to feel bloated and sluggish on the day and would rather take on more gels than eat extra pasta. 
01/04/2010 at 12:59

Hi All - I am ready and raring to go...

I trust everyone is fit and healthy!

 As always, I'll try my best to get through all the questions in the shortest possible time. Please forgive any glaring spelling mistakes !

Nick 

01/04/2010 at 13:02

RichardB

I'm doing Brighton in just over 2 weeks as a London ballot reject and this will be my first full marathon.
I can't stomach the sports drink that is provided on the day so I’m planning on just using gels with water and have been practicing this in training. Will I be OK with this strategy or do I need to take anything else into account?

Not being able to stomach sports drinks is not uncommon, so do not worry - there are plenty of strategies in which you can follow. They key elements are to drink regularly, little and often - so use the water stations available and also run with the bottles (assuming they are bottles at Brighton). With the gels, then only using gels is fine assuming you are ok with stomaching 4-6 of them!? Normally we recommend 30-60 gram of carbohydrate per hour so this will equate to at least 1 (possible 2) gels for every hour you run. Given that you won't be using an electroltye drink, to help replace the slat in your sweat you may want to check the gels you use contain sodium

01/04/2010 at 13:03
Hi Nick, I've discovered (rather late with VLM just over 3 weeks away!) that the gels I'm taking (which I really like) are upsetting my stomach. Is it too late to change my nutrition strategy? What do you recommend? I'm not keen on the drinks (too sweet) or most of the gels I've tried and other things have upset my stomach too!
01/04/2010 at 13:03

Hi Nick,

I have a question for you. Mrs Fin and I have been having a discussion  about calorie intake generally. Now since neither of us are remotly qualified in this area I thought that I'd ask you. I use a website at the moment to record all that I am eating and it, in theory, calculates how much I need to eat to lose a few excess pounds before race day and yet keep me fully fueled. Presently it is telling me that I need to eat 2115 Cals plus about a1000 for the track session that I did today. I'm currently 76kg and 5'11 and the website says that I should eat to the following target:

Target                 Grams      Cals
Carbohydrate     498.5     1869.5
Protein                 179.2     716.6
Fat                          58.9     529.7

Our question comes down to does it matter where the carbohydrates come from? I know that you get a slower more sustained release from "brown" carbs like brown bread/rice etc but is there that much of a difference. Would say say a huge chug of Lucozade Energy (fizzy orange one) count as meaningful carb? I also eat a lot of white bread and bagels - which are calorific but perhaps the wrong type...  And  finally, does it really have a huge effect on when you have the calories - working as I do at the end of a commute means that I sometimes don't get back from training till late and so end up having dinner quite late in the evening.

Sorry if this is a bit longwinded... 

01/04/2010 at 13:08

hungryconsumer

Seems to be differing opinions about how early to load carbs, and how much energy the body can actually store?There are... and there have been for quite some years now. The clear message for carbohydrate loading at the moment is that you can eat and store enough within the 24 hours before the race, i.e. on the Sat is when you need to really think about it. You could start earlier but i'm not convinced you really need to worry about that, assuming you aren't starving the body either!?The importance of getting it right is very clear though. When we studies 257 runners from last years marathon, those that get it right, i.e. met the recommendations of 7 grams per kilogram of body weight, they statistically ran at a faster pace during the marathon than those who didn't get it right. It really is a predictor of performance.The key additional stat we found is that approcimately 70% of people stated they carbohydrate loaded, but only 11% actually got it right - so what you think your eating isn't always bang on. The key thing for me is that it is about breakfast, lunch and dinner (& snacks) and not just the evening meal. Many people make the mistake of going for one massive meal and feeling ful, lethargic and uncomfortable. Its about grazing all day. For example:Ø  Practically a meal plan could looks like this….Breakfast (121 g) – a small bowl of porridge (31 g), 2 slices of toast (32 g), a banana (32 g), and a small glass of orange juice (26 g). Lunch (97 g) – a jacket potato and baked beans (65 g) and a banana (32 g). Dinner (110 g) – a small pasta starter (27 g), Chicken curry and rice (60 g), and yoghurt (23 g). When you feel most comfortable (normally between meals) also add in raisins (22 g in a handful), fruit (approximately 30 g depending on the fruit), cereal bars (32 g) to give you a ‘classic’ carbohydrate loaded day.

Ø  A common mistake with carbo loading is that runners try to eat too much in one go, classically in the evening before – and often think that it’s a struggle. In reality try to add a little extra carbohydrate to your meals throughout the day and adding a few extra carbohydrate based snacks (as above).

01/04/2010 at 13:11

SnapDragon

I'm running the VLM for the first time and have a race-day fuelling question.

GOOD LUCK - SEE YOU THERE!

My plan is to run with a Lucozade Sport at all times, sipping at every mile marker.  I estimate that I'll drink 330ml every 5 miles or so (50 to 55 mins) and plan to pick up another 330ml at each Lucozade station.

On top of this I'll take 1x SIS gel at each Lucozade station too.  This is the best way of me remembering when to take them !

I've done my long runs using this strategy and my stomach copes well.   But....

Q1.  Is that enough carbs intake

AGAINST THE GUIDELINES OF 30-60G OF CARBOHYDRATE THEN EACH 330ML BOTTLE PROVIDES 21G OF CARBOHYDATE. AN SIS GEL IS ROUGHLY 25G (I DON'T HAVE ONE IN FRONT OF ME!), SO IF YOU MANAGE THIS EVERY HOUR YOU WILL BE IN AN EXCELLENT PLACE.

Q2. Would you recommend drinking water in addition to the above.  If so how much (assuming we're not having a heatwave by then) ?

I WOULD BUT ONLY ON THE EXPERIENCE THAT IT HELPS TO PREVENT THE MONOTONY OF THE SMAE DRINKS AND GELS. YOU WILL ALSO FIND GELS ARE BETTER WASHED DOWN WITH WATER ALSO. DRINK THE WATER ACCORDING TO HOW YOU FEEL.

01/04/2010 at 13:13

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the response before.

Another question regards carb loading.A colleague said to avoid carbs for the first 2 days of the week before the marathon and just eat protein so that the body then craves carbs when you start to carb load. Is this a sensible approach?

What is the best nutritional advice after the race?

Thanks

Edited: 01/04/2010 at 13:25
01/04/2010 at 13:15

GoldenEagle

have a question on weight loss.  Is it OK to attempt to shed a few pounds over these last few weeks, particularly given a bit of extra weight is likely to go on during carb loading?  I have been surprised that my weight has been stable at around 12st (I'm 6ft) despite about 5 months of running 45mpw.  I basically eat as much as I please (volume wise - I do try to eat mostly the right stuff) in the knowlege that I'm burning it off.  Would it be OK to reduce calorie intake by say 500-700 per day with a view to losing, say 4-5 pounds over the next 3 weeks provided I ensure I am properly fuelled for my key runs (particularly the last couple of longer ones)?

Or could this prove counter productive this close to the big day?

Last year I was about 4lbs lighter than I am now when I did FLM and given I am aiming for a PB I don't really want to be carrying unecessary extra baggage!

The simple answer to this is yes... but only on the assumption that you manage to stay properly fuelled in the lead up to the race. Don't be tempted to overdo it and become tired, lethragic and fatigued - this is something you run the risk of so close the marathon if you are not used to it. So simple yes you can, whether it is advisable - i'm probably on the fence. Also remember, losing weight doesn't necessarily translate to running faster immediately - that is to do with the engine so whilst lighter runners tend to be faster, its not something that is written in stone.

01/04/2010 at 13:18

veester

I'm also doing Brighton and wonder what you're advice is on carbo-loading in the days before? I tried to practice a couple of days in advance on a recent half with pasta, jacket potato at lunch, and some granola bars for snacks but fat intake ended up being quite high and I ate far too many calories in total. Any good tips for sensible high carb foods?

The key elements to carbohydrate loading are above. IN terms of key tips:

  1. don't just have one big meal in the evening
  2. Look for variety in your food choice - for dinner have a starterm main and dessert  instead of one huge bowl of pasta
  3. try to prepare yourself as this way you minimise additional fat
  4. avoid creamy sauces
  5. fruit ad vegetable are also good carbohydrate sources
01/04/2010 at 13:19
Hi Nick

There is a lot of talk about carbo loading for obvious reasons. Is there any milage in building up sodium levels as well? If so is there any foods/drinks that can aid that so that we know we have the right level of sodium in our bodies for the race?
01/04/2010 at 13:22

wobbled

What is the minimum carb loading you can get away with in the days leading up to the race? I'm finding the numbers thrown around (7gm of carbs per kilo of body weight seems to be average) pretty daunting when you sit down and work out what that actually involves. I don't want to feel bloated and sluggish on the day and would rather take on more gels than eat extra pasta. Hi wobbled... the 7 gram point is the classic recommendation and it can be quite daunting when you work it out. The menu above should give some indication of exactly what this looks like. If the bulk of food becomes too much, then high carbohydrate drinks are an options for you, or a meal replacement supplement too. What I would say is that similar to the post above, whilst 7 isn't a magic number, it is a recomendation that we find that if people people compared to those who don't - they tend to run faster and also don't slow down in speed as much throughout the race. So my advice is don't push anything you haven't tried before or are not comfortable with, but try now before the bg day if you can. Gels on the day may substantiate, but I wouln't compromise the day before if you can avoid it
01/04/2010 at 13:26

Ehlne

Hi Nick, I've discovered (rather late with VLM just over 3 weeks away!) that the gels I'm taking (which I really like) are upsetting my stomach. Is it too late to change my nutrition strategy? What do you recommend? I'm not keen on the drinks (too sweet) or most of the gels I've tried and other things have upset my stomach too!Hello again!Its not too late, although you probably don't have many long runs left (maybe 1?) to try anything new or drastic. Is it the number of gels you consume, or just having one?I would look at other gel options as a start, or maybe trying to reduce the gel intake from what you were working on. You could carry another source of energy like jelly beans or an energy bar. Use the water on course and whilst the drinks may be too sweet don't feel like you have to drink it all in one go, practice running with it so the consumption is slow and controlled. unfortunately there comes a point where you should try and do something, so i'm not sure how severe your symptoms are, but i'd be looking at minimising them by total volume of what you're currently doing - if that makes sense?
01/04/2010 at 13:31

Nick

I'm running the London Marathon for the first time and have heard lots about carb and water loading before the race, to ensure I'm suitably fuelled and hydrated on the day. How many days out before the big day do I have to start carb and water loading and switch from my normal diet, as Im concerned if I start too soon I'll be sick and tired of carbs by the time I get to Friday and Staurday.

 Many thanks for the advice.

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