In 2009 I ran my first full marathon. My friend Heather convinced me that I was capable of running a full and I blindly believed her. She was correct that I was capable, many people are, but I had no idea how vastly different 26.2 was from 13.1. I went into the race under trained and naive.
I had no concept of what running 26.2 entailed. My longest training run was 18 miles. I had no nutrition or hydration plan, all I had on that day was will. Lucky for me, I have some natural ability and ran the first 18 miles pretty well, but when I got to mile 19, I crashed hard. I could barely lift my legs, my calves were cramping up, I had clearly run out of glycogen and was dehydrated… it was ugly.
I tried in vain to gulp down some energy gels and sports drink, only to find myself on the side of the road vomiting. Sounds fun, right? Well, if you are a seasoned runner, you may have had this or something similar happen to you, too– it’s not that uncommon. Taking energy gels at the end of race can be pointless. Your body needs time to process fuel, and your body uses precious energy to digest it, and, in my case, my body rejected it all together.
Fueling before and at the beginning of the race is crucial to a successful outcome.
There is an exact science behind optimal fueling for each individual. We are all different and have different needs, based on our weight and pace, however a very general guide is that most of us can tolerate or need about 25 to 50 grams of carbs per hour (100- 200 calories). The problem is that some people can’t tolerate gels. They are sticky, thick, make some people gag, and they must be consumed with fluids.
Then there are blocks and chews, but these can be pricey. I like to use a combo of energy bars and Swedish Fish and have found that I can tolerate only about 150 calories an hour, more than that and my stomach revolts. ( You can find your own personal sweet spot by practicing fueling on your long training runs).
Practicing fueling can get expensive, so when I was perusing the isles of WalMart the other day, I came up with this very simple idea using Glad Press’n Seal that can save you some money, and since gels make many runners’ tummies unhappy, this might be the answer to your GI issues as well.
I don’t make a habit of eating candy, but when running a marathon it’s essential to deliver glycogen to the system quickly and sugar is an effective way of doing that. So, first I grabbed a few boxes of my favorite candies and energy bars. Then I got to work.
How To Make It
Lay down a piece of Glad Press’n Seal sticky side up and measure out candy in 100-200 calorie piles.
Lay down another sheet of Glad Press’n Seal sticky side down.
Smooth it down and cut into vertical strips.
Cut the strips horizontally to make individual packets.
Squish them together and load up your fuel belt or bag for use on your long training runs and race day.
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Your turn! What do you consume during a race or long training run? Do gels make you gag? What hack would you use Glad Press’n Seal for?