Ask The Experts: Marathon Nutrition with Nick Morgan

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


Posted: 8 February 2010
by Nick Morgan

Nick Morgan is Lead Sport Scientist at Lucozade Sport.

Read the whole forum debate


Q. Is there any benefit in doing my long runs without taking on any products? Would they then have an 'extra-bonus' effect on race day? Maracuya

A. There is school of thought that by not using energy products in training you adapt better on the long runs but research hasn't yet proven any performance benefits on the day.

When you do your long, slow runs, you need energy to maintain your speed (albeit slower than race pace) so without taking on enough carbohydrate you could finish depleted and increase your susceptibility to risk of infection. For me, it's more important to complete a quality long run and maintain your health and energy stores for all the other training sessions you do.

Training with products also improves your tolerance and familiarity - you can train yourself to tolerate more carbohydrate by using it in practice.

Q. When I do a long, slow run on a seven-mile circular route, I hide a bottle at the start, drink half after the first lap and then finish it at the end of the second lap. Would it be better to take on smaller amounts more regularly?
Needforspeed

A. If you can practice running with a bottle (it doesn't have to be all the time) I would recommend it - then if you can run with it on the big day, you've more chance of getting in more carbohydrate. In terms of small sips versus one big gulp - there is no difference in performance, but how you feel might be a very different story.

Q. Do you have any tips for simple meals that can be eaten the night before and then after a long run? NorwichRunner

A. The most important aspect of the meal you eat the night before is that you have practised it in training. A key element is that the meals are 'small' (although your total carbohydrate intake for the day still needs to be high) so they are easier to tolerate and don't induce lethargy. Centre your meals around carbohydrate - for example, pasta, rice, potatoes or bread - but try to avoid spicy food.

Creativity is important - when working with athletes I always try and find three to five winning formulas. Think of the meal not just as pasta - break it down into a starter, main meal and pudding (bruschetta, pasta then yoghurt or fruit for instance). People sometimes think one bowl of pasta is the solution but in reality that can be boring and you may risk overeating.

Q. In my last two marathons, I have hit the wall around Mile 22 - what can I do to avoid this? Sandor

A. We conducted a study recently that shows your longest run in training is a good predictor of your marathon performance - running up to 20 miles before the race is really important. However, assuming you have done these long runs, you also need to look at your pacing and nutrition. You'll need around 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour - one 330ml bottle of Lucozade Sport and a gel (or four Jelly Babies) provides roughly 50g carbohydrate.

Q. Are dextrose sweets a good alternative to gels or Jelly Babies? Kate F

A. Gels are an uncompromising product but there are a variety of flavours and consistencies available. I'd recommend you try different options - because they are so concentrated, they're very functional at giving you what you need. Dextrose tablets contain about 4g carbohydrate per tablet - try taking five an hour as well as some sports drink.

Q. My body seems to only tolerate water and I'm worried that I become very electrolyte depleted over the marathon distance. Should I try to get used to energy products or just go with what my body is telling me? Liverbird

A. Your problem is not uncommon but look for small improvements first. Don't try and down your drink - practice running with a bottle and sipping it over time. Try the same approach with gels too - that way you won't distress your body by consuming too much at once. If that doesn't work, experiment with alternative carbohydrate options - Jelly Babies, Jaffa Cakes or energy bars.

Q. What time should I be aiming to eat breakfast and what should I eat to give me the most energy? Noodler

A. For breakfast, the classic guidelines are 1-4 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight - that's 70-280g for a 70kg person (a large bowl of cereal, two slices of toast and a banana). Add in orange juice or a sports drink along with water to maximise hydration.

Practice your plan before race day and try to eat three to four hours beforehand if you can. If that's not possible, try breaking down the meal into manageable chunks over a three-hour period instead.

Q. I'm an early morning runner so am finding it difficult to find an opportunity to practice my race-day breakfast. Would running several hours after an evening meal be a good alternative? Gul Darr

A. Yes. My suggestion would be to swap your dinner for breakfast foods though - that way, you are using your chosen race-day foods as fuel. Getting your timing right will be key - think about your race-day strategy then transfer this to an evening slot.

Q. I don't like porridge - is muesli a suitable slow-release alternative for breakfast?
Knight rider

A. Check the brand or type of muesli you're eating to find out whether it is slow- release: you need to watch out for added sugar. If we're only talking about a breakfast before you run, I would worry less about slow-release carbohydrate and more about just getting enough carbohydrate in.

Q. I have a toilet issue the morning before a race - what is the recommended cut-off point for eating the night before? Or could it just be pre-race nerves? Knight rider

A. Unless you've had spicy food, I'd suggest it is predominantly pre-race nerves. You could look at using Imodium or alternatively, work on getting up early enough to give you plenty of time to do what you need to do. Unfortunately, there are no time windows or cut-offs - it's just about managing solutions as best you can.

Q. How can I prevent the post-long-run munchies? The Evil Pixie

A. I'd recommend stretching things out - when you get home from your run, have a recovery drink, stretch and hit the shower. Then, 30 to 60 minutes later have a sensible-sized meal based on carbohydrate. Assuming you don't overeat, snack again two hours later - the optimal refuel time window is longer than most people think.

Another solution is to include a high-protein element to your meal. Protein has a high satiety value and keeps you feeling full for longer.

Q. I can't stomach food or drink after a long run - what would you recommend? ChrissieT

A. Many runners struggle to stomach food after a long, slow run. Assuming it's not longer than four to five hours, wait until you feel ready to eat and take care that your overall daily intake doesn't suffer as a result of this delay. Alternatively, try to snack on a recovery bar, fruit, milk or orange juice in the first hour after you exercise - they might not be specific recovery products but they will give you a lot of the nutrients you need.

Q. I have a sweet tooth and like chocolate - what else can I snack on? Knight rider

A. Chocolate is a great source of simple carbohydrate - other alternatives are fruit, energy bars, toast or yoghurt.

Q. I'm a lifelong vegetarian - how can I maximise my protein intake? Ehine

A. Recent studies show that vegetarian diets can, for the most part, provide athletes with adequate protein and a complete set of indispensable amino acids (the building blocks of protein).  However, vegetable or plant proteins may be limiting in one or more amino acids - try combining different foods (for example legumes and grains, or legumes with nuts and seeds) so low levels of amino acids in one food can be complemented by high levels in another.  

Aim to include around 86g of protein in your daily diet. This might seem like a lot, but recent studies suggest that protein absorption plateaus at around 16-22g in a two-hour period.  Practically, aim to spread your protein intake into around four 21.5g portions per day.

It is possible to increase your protein intake by eating 'real food sources'.  Dairy products (eggs/milk/cheese), soy products, textured vegetable protein, temeh, lentils and dried beans are all good sources.  In sport, use sports products which contain protein to aid recovery and promote strength gain. The Lucozade Sport range incorporates whey protein and casein which have been shown to have high absorption rates - these products can be incorporated as part of a healthy and well-balanced diet to help your muscles adapt to exercise.

Be mindful of your calcium and iron intake when making food choices too - many vegetarians often have low levels of these micro-nutrients. Soy products are often fortified with calcium, and broccoli, kale and bok choi are also high in calcium.  Many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron: nuts, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables are also good sources.
 
Q. Do you have any general advice for insulin-dependent diabetic runners? Peter Collins

A. Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders that results in defects in insulin secretion, insulin action (sensitivity) or both.  Diabetics can train at high levels of intensity and duration and their recommended diet is no different to that of a non-diabetic athlete.  Maintaining consistent food intake during the day - with regular intake of moderate to low GI carbohydrate-rich food sources between meals - can improve glycemic control.

Consuming some carbohydrate during continuous aerobic exercise is recommended (following the same guidelines for athletes without diabetes) however, diabetics are prone to dehydration via an increased urinary output.  Sports drinks contain fluid and electrolytes and can therefore provide an effective hydration solution before, during and after exercise. 

Sports drinks also contain high-GI carbohydrates which are quickly absorbed and boost blood sugar levels to fuel exercise. It is important to monitor blood glucose and insulin levels accordingly to avoid hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia during exercise.
 
For participants exercising one or more times a day, consuming high-GI recovery foods within 60 minutes of exercise is advisable for enhancing recovery of muscle glycogen stores.  Carbo-loading involving a depletion phase isn't recommended unless good diabetic control is  maintained. With regard to strength training, the hormonal response to training can, in some cases stimulate glycogenolysis and induce hypoglycemia.  
 
It is advised that diabetics should consult a specialist before amending dietary intake.

Sources: (Dieticians association of Australia 2005; American Diabetes association 2004)


Don't miss our next live forum debate - part of a series in our 2010 Virgin London Marathon build-up. On Friday March 5, we'll be welcoming Paul Evans, former Chicago Marathon winner - and another Lucozade Sport Super Six mentor - onto the forums between 1pm and 2pm to answer more of your marathon training questions. Pop the date in your diary now!


Previous article
Ask The Experts: Carbo-Loading and Race-Day Nutrition with Nick Morgan
Next article
Fuel Your Fire (Preview)

marathon nutrition
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle

Discuss this article

Hi everyone

Lucozade Sport's Lead Sport Scientist Nick Morgan will be online between 1pm and 2pm today to answer any queries you might have about sports nutrition.

So, whether you're wondering just how many calories you need to consume daily to sustain your current training levels (and what food groups they should come from) or grappling with your race-day fuelling strategy, now's the time to pick the brains of an expert.

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 RW


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:20

Hi Nick

I am running the London Mara for the first time this year.The last two years I have run The Edinburgh Mara and each time I have hit the wall around the 22 mile mark.Some of my friends(They are real runners!!) have told me I probably havent put in enough miles.I feel my miles were fine as I stuck to one of the runners World 16 week programs which include 3 X 20 mile runs.Is there anything I can do to avoid the dreaded wall this time round

Any advice would be great

Thanks

Sando


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:27

Do you have any general advice for insulin-dependent diabetic runners? Is it something you or Lucozade have considered?
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:28

Do you have any tips for simple meals that can be eaten the night before a big run and then after a big run to prepare the body and help recovery? And in particular, any creative ways to make these meals more exciting so they don't becomg boring over the weeks of training? Thank you!


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:42

Is there any benefit in doing my big LSRs (planning 2 x 18m and 3 x 20m), without taking on gels or lucozade?  Someone told me that they like to do these long training runs just with water, because it really makes the body learn how to convert fat into available energy. 

And also, when they get to the race and take on gels/lucozade it has an 'extra-bonus' effect.  ie, the body is used to long runs with no fuel, and then on race day it gets fuel and this makes the whole thing seem relatively easy compared to those tough (unfuelled) LSRs.

thanks!


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:47

I am doing the VLM for the first time this year and intend t have a big bowl of Pasta for dinner. What time should i be aiming to eat my breakfast on the day and what should i eat to give me the most energy?
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:54

I heard a rumour there will be energy gels on the VLM course this year is this true?

If so when would you recommend taking them and how many - i'm new to the nutrition side of things so at a bit of a loss for race fuel!

Thanks


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:55

Hi Nick

when I do a long slow run on a 7 mile circular route, I hide a botlle of Lucozade sport at the start then drink half the bottle after first lap, then finish it at the end of the second lap. Is that about right or would I be better to try and carry it, taking smaller amounts more regularly?


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:57

Afternoon everyone

 Thanks for the questions posted so far. As ever I will try and answer them all as quickly, succintly and promptly as I can. Feel free to ask anything and i'm sure we can get some strong nutrition plans in place for you all no matter what your running goal is.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 12:58

Hi Nick 

I get stiches really easily so only run in the mornings before I've eaten anything.

Preparing for my first marathon (London) so will need to start fuelling of longer runs soon. Is there anything I could eat the night before which will help supply enough energy?

I know there will come a point where I will need to start fuelling during runs. Any recommendations? I have got stiches just from water before so prefer something quite light. Jelly babies seems a popular choice too but being a vegetarian they aren't technically suitable!

Thanks!


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:02

Sando

The wall is a really interesting area. In fact we find that people continually slow down from the very beginning of the marathon and don't necessarily hit a wall per se, albeit the last few miles can feel particularly difficult. I can empathise with you from my 3 marathons last year!

We have done some research recently to show that the longest run in training is a predictor of marathon performance so getting up to 20 miles is important. however, you seem to be all over this. Thus, assuming your training is ok we must then factor the pacing on the day - does it reflect your training, careful though must be given to this - see our pacing event at dorney Lake this year planned for March.

Then after training and pacing comes nutrition. Without saying the same thing the amount of fuel (carbohydrate) from sports drinks, sweets, gel and bars is very important, so much so that you need 30-60 grams per hours, i.e. one 330 ml lucozade sport plus one gel (or 4 x jelly babies). This provides roughly 50g of carbohydrate.

How are your strategies...? If this is what you already do we may need to look even closer but first stabs these are most important areas


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:03

Hi Nick, there has been some debate on Matchstick Man's thread regarding porridge. As I don't find it very interesting to eat is Muesili a suitable alternative for a slow release food for breakfast?

 Also, like many people I have sweet tooth and like chocolate! What other alternative snacks are good?


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:03

Peter

Diabetes - really important one. i'll answer by the end of the session because I am getting someone to draft a better response than a quick one for me. i'll also ensure we get you all the right info here as it really is a real life situation many people have to deal with, but crucially are very sucessful at managing.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:05

I am training for my first marathon, and I have tried gels - vile - jelly babies - too sugary and make me cough. Are dextrose sweets a good enough alternative?
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:07

can I ask about maltodextrin..? This seems to be the base ingredient of many sports drinks, so I have bought a stock of it. It is a fine white powder, and looks just like any other powdered sports drink. What are your thoughts on using this in this format..? I've been mixing it into drinks and adding some to my porridge and it seems to be working just fine. Any thoughts..?

Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:07

Norwich runner

The most important aspect to the meals the night before an event are that they are practiced. However, that said it does get boring so creativity is important - therefore when working with athletes I always try and find 3-5 winning formula's through practice. The key elements for me are that meals are 'small' - that may surprise people, but let me assure you the total carbohydrate intake for the day is still high - and needs to be - but we find smaller meals is easier to tolerate and doesn't create feeling of lethargy. The meals should of course be centred around carbohydrate so variations on pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. Do avoid though spicy food, whether we want to be crude or not, the fact is it isn't a plan worth trying for the end result the following day.

Creativity wise, think of the meal not just as pasta, but if you have time a starter, main meal and pudding, i.e. bruschetta, pasta then yoghurt or fruit. people sometime think one bowl of pasta is the solution, in reality that's is boring and risks overeating, so maybe break the evening meal down and get variety that way


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:09

Maracuya

This is why I love the forums... you get real good questions. There is school of thought that by not using LS or gels you adapt better on the long runs. Without boring you there is a strategy called train low, compete high, i.e. train with low carbohydrate with then load for competition.

In reality though, we don't see the performance benefits on the day, or certainly research hasn't shown this yet, albeit some adaptations in the muscles do take place. Furthermore a couple of aspects to think about... when you do LSR, you still energy to maintan the speed (albeit slow) for the duration so it is important, also without the carabohydrate you could end up quite depleted thus comromising your immune response, i.e. increase susceptibility to risk of infection.

For me, i'm not sure the evidence is mature enough as yet and the most important aspect is to get the quality of the LSR and maintain your health and energy stores for all the other training sessions you do. Training with LS and gels also imporves your tolerance and familiarity with the products. The tolerance aspect shouldn't be overlooked just thinking as I type as you can train yourself to tolerate more carbohydrate by using it, and the closer you can get to 60g per hour the better


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:14

Nick - on the day of a marathon I find I'm fine when I take the first energy drink on board and can stomach maybe one gel but after that my body seems to have a strong preference for water only and I'm worried that I become very electrolyte depleted over the full distance.

So my question is this - should I try to learn to get used to them more or should I just go with what my body is telling me?

I had extremely dark urine after the last one (sorry its lunch folks) so I was clearly dehydrated but a few hours later I was fine.

How important are these drinks and gels REALLY?

Thanks

LB


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:17

Noodler

Firstly with ref to the evening meal see above

For breakfast the clasic guideines are 1-4 g of carbohydrate per Kg of body weight, i.e. 70-280 g for a 70 kg person. What does this look like... Large bowl of cereal, two slices of toast and a banana. Add in OJ or sports drinks for fluid, alog with water to maximise hydration.

Most people get breakfast right in my experience, key aspects are practice the plan before doing it for the first time on race day. Also consume 3-4 hours before if you can - I am acutely aware though that this isn't always possible so breaking breakfast down into manageable chuncks over 3 hours before race day works well. Check out our online nutrition plans which compliment the training plans for more ideas of what breakfast looks like.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:17

jimmy F

gels... they are on course at miles 14 and 21!

i can't say you SHOULD take them, but i would advise that you find a way to take carbohydrate in during the event. see above for guidelines, but certainly in addition to the lucozade Sport on course, you should try and find another source.

Key tip, find what works for you and work in your head on taking carbohydrate on an hourly basis.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:19

needfor speed

there are many ways this could work... your plan looks awesome and also practical. Unfortunately on race day we can't them for you other than at the stations (5,10,15,19 & 23 miles), unless you have many friends. Therefore if you can practice running with a bottle I would say that is also a great plan - it doesn't have to be all the time though - but if you can on the big day run with it the chances of you getting more carbohydrate in are better!

i terms of small sips vs one big gulp - no difference in performance, but ow you feel is a very different story. I prefer sips and running with a bottle - the 330 ml bottle we introduced on last years marathon course is great for that.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:23

hi nick,
I know i won't be alone on this. Is there any advice on how to prevent the post long run munches and also gaining weight! I'd rather lose weight please!
Thanks
Pixie
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:24

Pixie, great question, as you know Nick, I'm a bit lardy for a marthon runner. This year I am determined to look like a runner.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:27

k8greene

in the situation you describe then the most important aspect to get right is the night before, i.e. the food that you consume. If youo see the previous posts then that sould give you a good idea, but without sounding boring carbohydrate will be your friend.

Stitches themselves aren't necessarily due to nutrition either although if you find you don't get them when you eat then it sounds like on this occasion it may be. It may be that breathing is important and something to work on, but certainly when it comes to your longer runs you will need to find plan... do you get stitches if you use anything during? i.e. one way to look at it is to not do anything before but look at using a plan during and load that way - i've done that with athletes before.

Not really answering your question, but in summary you may need to find some solution, but you can imporve tolerance through practice and i've seen the best researchers present good findings on this working in reality


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:27

Nick - no questions from me, just a great big <WAVE>
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:31

kinght rider

porridge is a great meal... bu there are alternatives. Museli is one, but check out the brand or type for whether it is slow release, biggest watch out is for added sugar. Ultimately, if you pushed me i'd say if we are talking about breakfast before before you run then I would worry less about slow release carbohydrate and just get carbohydrate in that you like and will consume enough of. This is principally because in real terms this is the most important thing

we are all choc -o - holics too! Great source of simple crabohydarte, but other alternatives do include fruit, energy bars, toast, yoghurts etc for simple small snacks. I find fruit is te best - banana - or a bar of some kind


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:31

KateF

good luck with the marathon and training - i hope you are loving it!

gels are an uncompromising product... here different ones out there though by flavour or consistency to so try them all - you never know! The reason they are great is that they are very concentrated so are functional at giving you what you need! I do agree though, it takes some getting used too...

jelly babies - great alternative... but you can you dextrose tablets - we have some so try them. i think they are about 4g carbohydrate per tablet so about 5 an hour is a good start on top of your lucozade sport.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:35

dark vader

i thoughts: it is fine... it is a form of carbohydrate that you will utilise to provide energy for the muscles. Whether you buy a stock of it like you have or take in commercial products is down to how much you like the detail! Most important element for me is getting enough carbhydrate in the diet and maximising this in the periods before, during and after trainnig. If you adhere to the guidleines... see our website for those, using this form of carbohydrate then I'm all for it.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:37

Hi Nick

 I trained for a marathon last year and found that I couldn't stomach food or drink after a long run, it would take a few hours before I would want or even face anything. I tried the recovery stuff that you do but found it very sweet and made feel sickly. Is there anything you can recommend as I will be training a friend for London so will need to keep in tip top condition?


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:38

Hi Nick,

I'm an early morning runner (up and out of the door type), so I rely on fuel from the night before plus any drinks I take with me for long runs. So I would like to rehearse race day in terms of breakfast first and running 2-3 hours later, but I'm finding it really difficult to find an opportunity to do so. How important do you think it is to do this? And would late night running several hours after an evening meal be a good substitute?


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:38

Hello You!!!

Hope you are ok, which marathon are you doing this year?

My question is simply 'will I suffer terrible consequences from continuing to use the 2 out of date boxes of gels I still have from last year or will I survive?'

They taste fine btw and I love 'em but I did just wonder!


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:41

LIVERBIRD

you problem is not uncommon... Firstly, i would look at trying to become more tolerant... if I gave you classic guidelines you'd be like "no way"... so lets look for small imporvements in getting a little bit more in. With the drink don't down in, try to run with the bottle and let it be consumed over time, the same with gel - that way you don't have to overcome a big consumption and distress your body. Then learn to tolerate a little more every other hour.

If this doesn't work - although if we worked 1:1 then i would suggest it can work - then try alternative carbohydarte options like jelly babies, jaffa cakes, energy bars... flavour/product fatigue is common and this is when science becomes an art! I reckon you'll get there.. remember every long run is a practic session


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:41

Hi Nick-

I'm also a 1st timer so not sure what pace I'll be doing so can you say if the gels will be there for the slower runners too? Also are you saying there will be energy drinks at the water stations?? If so that will take a big pressure off the need to carry my own 'fuel'.

Many thanks


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:42

Evil pixie (& astride!!)

post run muchies... the best thing i could suggest is to try and stretch things out, i.e. get in and have a recovery drink, stretch and then hit the shower. 30-60 mins after coming in look to have your meal - not massive, but good sensible sized meal based on carbohydrate, albeit well balanaced. Assuming this meal isn't massive you can then snack again 2 hours later - all the time maximising the time window, it is longer than people think.

Another solution is to have a high protein element to your meal or snacks between meals. Protein has a high satiety value and keeps you feeling full for longer. this works very well with athletes and mass particpants.

The beauty though is you can lose weight but still maximise times before, during and after.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:46

Wotsit - nice to see out and about. I hope all is well and you are training hard!
Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:46

Hi Nick

Thinking about your post run refueling window what is the optimum time to consume carbs.

 Have read within 15 min 30mins and 2hrs.

Many thanks 


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:48

ChrissieT

The one thing to stress here is that whilst there is some time window after exerise, the importance of which is higher after long runs, it is much longer than what many people quote.

Stomaching after LSR is not easy and many people do struggle. I would have no problems if you waited until you could eat, assuming its not longer than 4/5 hours and that the rest of the day intake doesn't suffer. Alternatively, you could try other recovery drinks or try to snack on a recovery bar or fruit in the first hour until you can eat. Also try milk, orange juive as whilst not quite your recovery drink per se they will give you a lot of what you need.

In reality, what comes from all of my answers is that when we gives guidelines there are flexibilities that go with all of them and solutions! for those who have more questions or indivdiuals things they don't want to share on a forum utilise the ask an expert on our website, the super6 forums, or our facebook and website page


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:51

Great answer thanks Nick.  The suggestion about keeping up the fuelling to reduce risk of lowered immune system far outweighs any (unproven) benefit from training "low".

This might help answer some of the Qs from first-timers, although I'm no an expert...

I did FLM for first time last year.  And took Lucozade Sport on all my LSRs, partly to get used to it, mostly because I didn't think I could run for 3-4 hours without fuelling.  On raceday I took one 330ml bottle in each hand (for balance!!!), and drank at every mile, alternately.  It was a hot day last year, so I drank 4 bottles of 330ml per hour.  And that's all I drank for the 4.29 from start to finish (although I was pretty sick of the taste and was grateful for some good old fashioned water at the end).  Never hit the wall.  Never felt dehydrated.  I weight just under 12 stone by the way, 5ft11.  36yrs old. 

Hope that helps some people who can't stomach gels.  Prrof that its possible to let Lucozade Sport fuel an average size runner without ever hitting the wall.  Of course, pre-race fuelling is crucial too...

Breakfast for me is large bowl of porridge with brown sugar, eaten at least 3 hrs before LSR (or race).  And two bananas.  One an hour before start, one 20 mins before race.  And plenty of water (3 visits to the plastic urinals in the 45 mins before the gun went off!!!).

The day before the race I just kept eating small meals with pasta and bread, probably 4 in total.  And a large glass of Malbec from Mendoza, or two!  And on the Friday night I treated myself to fish and extra large portion of chips and bread butties. 

I expected pain and the dreaded wall, but some of what I did clearly worked because apart from knee pains I got round quite easily.  The only race I'd ever done before was a 10k, so the only training my body had was the classic 16 week "beginner" marathon plan.


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:51

Hi Nick,

I'm a lifelong vegetarian (don't eat meat or fish but eat dairy and eggs) and I normally just about manage to get the recommended amount of protein with beans, lentils, eggs, tofu etc. The VLM is my first ever marathon and I was just wondering how much extra protein I'm likely to need and whether you have recommendations about how I maximise my protein intake from a veggie diet? When should I be eating protein in relation to my training runs and any tips re: meals? I'm not a big fan of meat substitutes, never having developed a taste for meat.

I'm aiming for a sub 4.30 and roughly following the RW schedule. 


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:53

Gul Darr

Simple answer is YES... it would be a good practical solution to use late night running 3 hours after your dinner.... my suggestion would be to change dinner for a common breakfast though so that you are running of the back of the chosen foods you'd have race day. key thing here is to get the timings right in terms of when you are planning to get up on race day and move this into the evening slot.

I've never given that advive before, but its similar to how i'd prefer athletes for training/competing in another timezone!


Posted: 08/01/2010 at 13:54

See more comments...
We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.