Sunday, September 25, 2011

Figuring Out Fueling Issues

In the last two marathons I ran, I found using Gatorade's G1 Prime... stuff... very helpful during the race. G1 isn't quite a liquid like classic Gatorade, but it also isn't thick enough that I would call it a gel like GU. It's incredibly sweet-tasting and I Love it! It's actually intended to be used before a race, but I've found that I can delay hitting the wall by having a G1 pouch about every 6 miles during a marathon.

In the past two marathons, that worked out just fine because Liz is a Super Spectator and she does a great job as my support crew. She's awesome about finding ways to see me several times along a race course. That way I get the mental boost of seeing her and the added benefit of her handing me things I don't want to carry the whole race.

But in New York, the course is set up so that I probably won't be able to see her very often during the race. In fact, I might not see her until the last 4-6 miles. That makes fueling a problem.

Every race offers water and some kind of sports drink (Gatorade or Powerade) at regular intervals throughout the course. Then a lot of runner's find ways to carry whatever extra food and/or drinks they might want.

In the past, I haven't been very good about practicing for eating and drinking during the race. Now that I've figured out a fuel that I like, I've been practicing using it on my longer runs. So far, I've been able to stash pouches on my runs but now I have to practice how I'm going to carry them with me.

Years ago I bought a Fuel Belt because it was on sale for half-price. I took it home... tried it... and hated it. I just have too much bounce in my stride. That, combined with my lack of hips, causes any belts I wear while running to ride up. But I'm determined to figure this fueling issue out so I took all of the bottles out of my Fuel Belt and strapped in 4 G1 pouches for today's Long Run.

For the most part, the belt worked okay. It was most annoying for the first few miles and it still rides up, but I decided having it strapped around my belly wasn't horrible and left on in the hopes that I would get used to it. I drank a pouch every 6 miles, as planned, and the belt became more manageable with fewer and fewer pouches in it. But over the course of the run I was fidgeting with it a lot. It rode up, it rotated, it bounced. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was definitely distracting and it affected my run more than I want it to. I know some people Love Fuel Belts and pouches like my Amphipod, but I just don't think they're good for me.

So the fueling problem remains. I'm considering getting one of those water bottles that has a strap for your hand. I'll just dump all of my G1 pouches in it and have a little every 6 miles. For some reason, carrying something like that doesn't bother me as much. Plus, one drawback of the G1 pouches is that they can be difficult to tear open when your hands are sweaty. Pouring them into a water bottle would eliminate that problem. So that might be part of my 20-miler next week.

Other than the belt being a distraction, today's run went pretty well. 18+ miles at a relaxed pace and boredom was a bigger problem than fatigue.

Goal For The Day: Long Run.
Distance: 18.59 Miles.
Time: 2:18:49. 7:28 Avg. (7:35, 7:17, 7:08, 7:16, 7:06. 7:00, 8:01, 7:28, 7:16, 7:40, 7:25, 7:20, 7:55, 7:56, 7:30, 7:33, 7:28, 7:22, 4:25*).
Route: 3 x Allenton Loop.
Conditions: 47 degrees at the start but warmed quickly. 7:30AM.

Notes: Tough conditions to dress for. Good temperature but it warmed up quickly and then I was overdressed. After Friday's fast 10 miles, I wanted to make sure I wasn't overdoing it today. It felt slow, but that's how I'm supposed to pace the Long Runs. I wanted to run 18 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I hit the 18 mile mark in 2:14:23... right on schedule.

Daily Miles: 18.59 Miles.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 365.24 Miles.
  Bike - 144.45 Miles.
  Swim - 10,050+ meters.


  1. I hope by "getting one of those water bottles that has a strap for your hand" you mean "going into our water bottle drawer and "getting" the one we already own" because that makes much more sense :).

  2. That is, in fact, what I meant... as long as you don't mind me getting your water bottle all gross and sweaty!

  3. Wavelength=equal, or so it seems.

    My friend Chris that runs the races with me suggested the Gatoraide Prime to me for my long run, and i tried it out on my 10'er. I drank one a few minutes before the run, and then carried one of the Clif Bar energy gels (espresso flavor, of course). just slid the Clif gel onto the belt i already wear, it was a little annoying at first, but i got it settled down. Had no problem ripping it off or opening it up, either.

    When I ran my half back in Feb, I used some brand of energy gummy chews or another (probably Clif, but I don't remember).

    I can't say that I noticed any specific physical effect, but there was definately a psychological benefit. Although, when I was done with my 10, I definately still felt like I had energy. Could've been adrenaline, or endorphins, or excitement about nailing the course...or it could've been the energy gel...or all of the above.

  4. I'll try to remember to bring you some for christmas, but i also have the ultimate organic energy drink that I have before the race...
    Mate de coca (Coca Tea,

    I got it while I was in Peru, and everybody there drinks it. In fact, the travel doctor i consulted here in the US before I went suggest i drink as much as I wanted.

    It's more-or-less supercharged caffeine. Well, actually, it's basicly cocaine (before it's refined and super-concentrated). Not enough to cause any trouble, but enough to give you that kick.

  5. You need one of those bandoliers that John Popper from Blues Traveler uses to hold his harmonicas.

    Harmonica Carrier