Ask The Experts: Carbo-Loading and Race-Day Nutrition with Nick Morgan

Catch the highlights from last week's debate, when Lucozade Sport's Lead Sport Scientist, Nick Morgan, answered your nutrition questions live in the forums


Posted: 6 April 2010

Nick Morgan is Lead Sport Scientist at Lucozade Sport.

Read the whole forum debate



Q. How early should I carbo-load? How much energy can the body actually store? hungryconsumer

A. You can eat and store enough carbohydrate to fuel your marathon during the 24 hours before your race. You could start earlier but it's not essential (assuming you aren't starving the body either). The importance of getting it right is crucial though. We studied 257 runners who took part in last year's London Marathon - those that got it right (i.e. met the recommendations of 7g carbohydrate per kg of body weight) ran at a faster pace during the marathon than those who didn't.

In addition, approximately 70% of people said they carbo-loaded before the race, but only 11% actually got it right.  Many people make the mistake of eating one massive meal, only to feel full, lethargic and uncomfortable after. Sensible carbo-loading is about breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks), not just the evening meal.

Try to add a little extra carbohydrate to your meals throughout the day and add in a few extra carbohydrate-based snacks. For example:

  • Breakfast (121 g) - a small bowl of porridge (31g), two slices of toast (32g), a banana (32g), and a small glass of orange juice (26 g)
  • Lunch (97g) - a jacket potato and baked beans (65g) and a banana (32g)
  • Dinner (110g) - a small pasta starter (27g), chicken curry and rice (60g), and yoghurt (23g).

When you feel most comfortable (normally between meals) also add in raisins (22g per handful), fruit (approximately 30g depending on the fruit) or cereal bars (32g).

Q. I tried to practice carbo-loading a couple of days before a recent half-marathon but my fat intake ended up being quite high and I ate far too many calories in total. How can I carbo-load sensibly? Veester

Here are some key tips:

   1. Don't just have one big meal in the evening (see above).
   2. Look for variety in your food choice (a typical dinner, for example, could include a starter, main and dessert instead of just one huge bowl of pasta).
   3. Try to prepare what you're going to eat in advance (that way you'll minimise taking on additional fat).
   4. Avoid creamy sauces.
   5. Remember that fruit and vegetable are also good carbohydrate sources.

Q. I'm aiming for a PB and don't want to be carrying unnecessary extra baggage - should I attempt to shed a few pounds over these last few weeks, or could this prove counter-productive this close to the big day? Golden_Eagle

A. The simple answer to yes, you can try to lose a few pounds at this stage but only if you manage to stay properly fuelled too. Don't be tempted to overdo it - you'll only become tired, lethargic and fatigued if you're not used to it. And remember: losing weight doesn't necessarily translate to running faster immediately.

Q. Does it matter where the carbohydrates we eat come from? FINgers

A. Healthy wholefood options are always your best bet - they have a high nutritional value and will give you a good blend of fast- and slow-release carbohydrates. Ideally, try to consume slow-release carbohydrates with your main meals and fast-release carbohydrates immediately before, during or after you exercise. If you find yourself struggling to eat enough, then high-carbohydrate sports drinks or meal replacement supplements are alternatives.

Q. A colleague said to avoid carbohydrate for the first two days of the week before the marathon so the body craves carbs when you start to carbo-load. Is this sensible? RichardB

A. This was the traditional 'supercompensation' approach - that is, removing carbohydrate from your body before loading it up again (on the basis the levels stored in your muscles would be higher). Current research suggests that carbo-loading 24 hours before your race will leave you with sufficient energy stores so given that this is a strategy you wouldn't be used to, I wouldn't recommend you try it at this stage.

Q. Is there any mileage in building up your sodium levels as well as your carbohydrate levels? knight rider

A. Given all the talk and logic about sodium requirements on the day, you're right to ask whether this is worthwhile. However, I'm not aware of any science to suggest this is something you need to do and a high, acute intake of sodium over a short timeframe may not be tolerated well by the body. The key is to have some sodium during the race (for example, in the sports drinks on course). If you have a history of cramp or sweat heavily, then electrolyte gels may also be a sensible addition.

Q. I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the nutrition advice out there. Would you be able to outline a very basic fuelling plan using carb gels, water and sports drinks? Angela Taylor 8

A. Think in one-hour blocks - every hour try to consume 30-60g of carbohydrate and 200-400ml of fluid. So, for example, every hour drink 330ml sports drink and either a gel or a packet of Jelly Beans. These will provide you with about 50g of carbohydrate. Drink water throughout too - little and often.

Q. I can't stomach sports drinks so I'm planning on just using gels with water. Will I be OK with this strategy? RichardB

A. Not being able to stomach sports drinks is not uncommon so don't worry, there are other strategies you can follow. Make sure you drink regularly (little and often) and use the water stations that are available. Relying on gels alone is fine, assuming you can stomach four to six of them over the course of the race. We recommend 30 - 60g of carbohydrate per hour - this equates to at least one (possibly two) gels for every hour you run. Given that you won't be taking on any electrolyte drink, you may also want to check your gels contain sodium - this will help replace the salt you'll lose through sweat.

Q. I've discovered rather late that the gels I'm taking are upsetting my stomach. Is it too late to change my nutrition strategy? Ehlne

A. It's not too late, although you probably don't have many long runs left to try anything new. To start, I would look at other types of gels or suggest reducing your gel intake. You could also carry another source of energy with you, such as Jelly Beans or an energy bar. Also, the sports drink on course might seem too sweet but don't feel like you have to drink it all in one go. Practise running with a bottle so your consumption is slow and controlled.

Q. What's the last point in the marathon at which you should take a) a gel; b) sport's drink and c) water? Seen Better Days

A. There are no real simple answers to this, but in a nutshell:

(a) Gels - if you really want to use the carbohydrate it contains, I would suggest taking your last gel with 25 minutes to go.
(b) Sports drink - up until the end if you are thirsty or, for performance benefits, then 20 minutes before you finish.
(c) Water - again, up until the end if you are thirsty or, for performance, 20 to 30 minutes before the end.

Q. What is the best nutritional advice after the race? RichardB

A. The race is no dfferent to any other hard run. Drink some fluid to replace what you've lost as sweat, but do it slowly over the first few hours. Eat something quickly to fill the gap until you can have a full meal, ideally a simple carbohydrate source and some protein (eg a chicken sandwich or a ready-made recovery bar/drink).

Q. What advice can you give us on post-race refuelling?  I've heard that you should aim for  a 4:1 carb-protein ratio and that there is an optimal window for ensuring maximum glycogen replenishment. FerrousFerret

A. Here are some top tips:

   1. Carbohydrate - about 1.2g per kg of body weight  (i.e. roughly 70g)
   2. Protein - about 10-20g is enough (so that ratio is not far off)

Good options include a simple recovery bar or drink, a milkshake or a tuna/chicken sandwich. So far as timing is concerned, there isn't a shut-door scenario but sooner is more advantageous. Realistically you have a few hours as opposed to minutes.


Don't miss our next live forum debate - part of a series in our 2010 Virgin London Marathon build-up. On Friday April 16, we'll be welcoming Liz Yelling, double Olympian - and one of our Lucozade Sport Super Six mentors - onto the forums between 1pm and 2pm to answer more of your marathon training questions. Pop the date in your diary now!


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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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:22

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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:29

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

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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:36

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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:38

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?


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:39

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. 
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:42

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 


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 12:59

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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:02

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!
Posted: 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... 


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:03

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).


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:08

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.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:11

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


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:13

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.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:15

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

Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:18

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?
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:19

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
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:22

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?
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:26

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.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:31

FINgers

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.

I'm not sure it really matters where the carbohydrate comes from, although healthy whole food options are your best bet as there nutritional value is high whilst you will also get a good blend of fast and slow release carbohydrates. Idealy, maintain the slow release carbohydrates for your major meals and the fast release for the immediate periods before, during and after. Using Lucozade Energy (the fizzy one!) is fine and some people do use it in recovery although it isn't perfect depsite having a higher carbohydrate level. If your question relates to the fact you are struggling to get enough, then drinks, snacks, meal replacements are good options without causing bloating.

What I would say about the recovery scenario is that when you are training hard and the session itself was long and/or hard faster recovery may provide an advanatge so I would be looking at planning a snack or recovery drink for your communte.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:32

Hi Nick,
any pointers you can give on post-race refuelling?  I've heard that about a 4:1 Carbrotein ratio being good to aim for and that there is an optimal window for ensuring maximum glycogen replenishment in the muscles.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:32

RichardB

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?

This was the traditional 'supercompensation' approach, i.e. remove carbohydrate then load it up on the basis the levels stored in the muscle will be higher. Current research suggests that a good 24 hours before leads to high stores in the muscles so given it is a strategy you wouldn't be used to, I'm not you need to or that it is any better

What is the best nutritional advice after the race?

Its not dfferent to any other hard run. Drink some fluid to replace the fluid lost as sweat, but do it slowly over the first few hours. Ideally eat something quickly to block the gap until you can get to a full meal. This would be a simple carbohydrate source and protein. It could be a chicken sandwich for example or a ready-made recovery bar/drink. What you choose will realisitically depend on logistics of what is available so perhaps a friend of family can be there ready and primed!?


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:36

knightrider

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?

Given all the talk and logic in sodium requirements on the day you may think this is soemthing worthwhile. However, i'm not aware of any science to suggest this is something that you would do and a higher short acute intake of sodium may not be tolerated well by the body.

The key is to have some sodium during the race in Lucozade Sport. If you have a history of cramping or are a real heavy sweater then you may need something additional in which case an electroltye gel may be a good addition.


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:40

Frosty9

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

Lots of questions on carbohydrate loading!

I honestly believe that you only need a really good 24 hours before to make a difference. I'm not sure you need days and days of high intakes, although again this is assuming you are not depleting yourself in this time. Also don't worry about feeling sick, it doesn't have to be like that if you plan out you meals properly and use snacks at good times. See above for more information


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:42

Hi Nick,

 I'm running the London Marathon in three weeks (argh) time and am feeling severely overwhelmed with all of the conflicting fuelling advice/strategies out there.

Would you be able to outline a very basic fuelling plan using carb gels, water and lucozade for the big day- which i can practice tomorrow when i do my last long run of 22ish miles.

My predicted time is somewhere in the region of 4 hours.

 Many thanks,
Angela


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:43

NIck

What's the last point in the marathon at which you should take a) a gel; b) sport's drink and c) water?


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:44

ferrousferret

any pointers you can give on post-race refuelling?  I've heard that about a 4:1 Carbrotein ratio being good to aim for and that there is an optimal window for ensuring maximum glycogen replenishment in the muscles.

Top Tips

  1. Carbohydrate - about 1.2 g per kilo of body weight, i.e. roughly 70 g
  2. protein - about 10-20g is enough (you can see the ratio is not far away!)
  3. Timing - there is not shut door scenario but the sooner is more advantageous, although realistically you have a few hours as opposed to minutes!
  4. Options: A simple recovery bar/drink like Lucozade Sport. Milkshake, chicken sandwich, tuna

Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:45

AngelaTaylor

I'm running the London Marathon in three weeks (argh) time and am feeling severely overwhelmed with all of the conflicting fuelling advice/strategies out there.

Would you be able to outline a very basic fuelling plan using carb gels, water and lucozade for the big day- which i can practice tomorrow when i do my last long run of 22ish miles.

My predicted time is somewhere in the region of 4 hours.

OK: great question...

Think in one hour blocks - every hour try to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydarte and drink 200-400ml of fluid, SO

Every hour drink one 330 ml Lucozade Sport and one of the following a) carbo-gel b) jelly beans

This gives you about 50 grams of carbohydrate. Im between drink water throughout, little and often although don't feel you need to drink from every station. REmember water is available every mile fomr 3 miles and Lucozade Sport at 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23 miles. Lucozade Sport gels are available atmiles 14 and 21.

If this startegy doesn't feel great, then you can reduce it slightly, go with one gel every 75 minutes, whilst still consuming one Lucozade Sport from each station. The 4 hours time works well for this strategy.

Good luck


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:48

Seen Better days

What's the last point in the marathon at which you should take a) a gel; b) sport's drink and c) water?

There are no real simple answers to this, but in a nutshell: 

Gels - last point I would say is with 25 mins to go, if you really want to use the carbohydarte that is

Sports drink - up until the end of you are thirsty. For performance benefits then 20 mins

Water - up until the end if you are thirsty. For performance 20-30 mins


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:52

8 mins to go... any more for any more?
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:53

Hi Nick.. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.. My one is simple.... does your strategy work for those of us of a senior age.. ( 0ver 60 ) or do we have to think of a different one....i.e more protien and  less carbs...????
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:54

Hi Nick - I'm sure you'll point me Lucozadewards, however I try to avoid processed food/refined sugar/additives etc wherever I can, but all sports drinks and gels etc seem full of them - the lurid colours are scary in themselves. Is there an alternative, or is it just a case of when it comes to running you have to suck it up?


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:54

Nick

What's the trick to successful carbo-loading whilst avoiding the need for toilet stops on the day?


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:56

Gatton

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.. My one is simple.... does your strategy work for those of us of a senior age.. ( 0ver 60 ) or do we have to think of a different one....i.e more protien and  less carbs...????

Age is almost something you think we need to addres but in terms of fuelling for a marathon then no there is nothing I would differently. The energy and fluid needs are still the biggest and they don't change. Its the same for males vs females


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:56

Thanks Nick....
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:57

KateF

I'm sure you'll point me Lucozadewards, however I try to avoid processed food/refined sugar/additives etc wherever I can, but all sports drinks and gels etc seem full of them - the lurid colours are scary in themselves. Is there an alternative, or is it just a case of when it comes to running you have to suck it up?

If you can  make your own up and carry enough of them, then you could make a natural sports drink. As a sport scientist then it wouldn't be any better vs the artificial sports drink barring everything you mention above. Unfortunately the logistics of sport determine that some forms are easier than others and for the very simple reason. I wouldn't want you to think i'll point you anywhere specifically, but the answer is you can make it up and carry it, but if you asked me whether I think it is possible - it would be hard and would be an added complication


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 13:59

Seen Better Days

What's the trick to successful carbo-loading whilst avoiding the need for toilet stops on the day?

Avoid high fibre foods, and things like curry's, beans, chilli etc. The other thing is practice to make sure the food works for you.

Unfortunately toilet breaks may in fact be inevitable due to nerves to bear that in mind. You may want to get up one hour earlier - I do! - or try immodium. But again that is strategies you should practice well in advnace and certainly the latter one I don't necessarily advise!


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 14:01

That's all for me... thanks everyone for your great questions.

Good luck for all your races and for those at the marathon look out for my presentations on the pasta party stage - please come and say hello! - and also you will find my team of sport scientists at the expo for all last min advice.

Run hard this Easter weekend

Nick


Posted: 01/04/2010 at 14:03

Thanks Nick, sorry for being a cynic!
Posted: 01/04/2010 at 14:03

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