Friday, September 11, 2015

Half Marathon Training fluids and powders


Last night had dinner with a friend who is going to attempt their first half marathon. And we got talking about fluids and energy powders. If this is you then read on ....

NB:This is not a post for experienced runners because
a) They know all this already
b) You'll do things slightly differently e.g race and training clothes etcetera.

For common sense reasons please ensure:  all your training runs are done in running specific clothes and shoes, get use to training in the ones you will use on the half marathon day.

Don't train with an injury or life threatening medical condition!

The Dare
If you are (typically) a twenty or thirty something, usually male, reasonably fit individual, others might have dared you to run the Half Marathon even though you never really ran before or did any training.  This post is NOT for you.  You'll probably make it, and if you're in good shape after the race and on the next day, then think about taking up regular running  (because you have demonstrated talent). 

Overall race strategy

Every 5Km ish you need to drink something, and at race pace every consider taking an energy gel per 10Km ish

Some of the larger energy gels come with water so can be taken on their own  i.e not at a water stop.  

Obviously you are getting water from the race water stations.  At race stations you can normally actually choose water or some liquid with calories like Powerade.  Even if you choose the Powerade you can still have gels, but say at longer intervals, maybe every 10Km. (So maybe take 2 watery gels on the half marathon race, for 8Km and 16Km points) and say water stops at 5K points, say 5K, 10Km, 18Km, assuming they have them there!

Training liquids and gels

I​f you go out on a training run and have a water source e.g fountains or you run a circuit and put a bottle somewhere you can take gels in a pouch, take one in the middle of your 10-15Km training run. This get you used to carrying and ingesting gels on a run.

If you are 'just' running on a track, medium to fast, you can consider mixing some energy powder with water and ONLY using that, I mean no gels and just sip that every few Km. The powder contains a lot of carbohydrates / calories etc.

If you are 'just' doing a long slow run near a track you can mix some nutrient water containing 0 calories. And special hydrating chemicals to get the water into your system quickly.

These maybe pills so you can just carry them in a tube and mix them on the track with water from a tap / fountain and put the results into any water bottle etc.

Watering Methods

On the training run at whatever pace hydration is essential. Otherwise you'll just flake out. If you are lucky (like Marcus and Agata in Lausanne) your town or selected running route is littered with fountains from which you can drink. This somewhat mirrors the water supply at race stations on a race.

Else, you can wear a rucksack with Hyrdation. But that's heavy and means on race day (when you won't be wearing it), you will feel odd, since it is not what you trained with.

You can premix a bottle of Hydrating or Energy fluid and stash it behind a bush or secret place on your route, which you make 5Km long, so each time you pass it you take a drink and rehide your bottle.

A variation of this is, should you live near to a running track, stash the bottle there, and the 5Km loop can be on the roads and partly on the running track etc.

Example products

Example energy only gel
Example nutrient pill  to hydrate you   

We use Wiggle extensively, so I just make site links from products we actually use. They deliver internationally with good prices and fast delivery.   Note, we don't get any sponsor ship or money from them!  Use them as a starting point.

And now, we are off for a training swim and then a training run, and then a cooldown walk.