Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bottoms Up: Part II

What do you drink during your runs?

I'm totally rethinking this one after talking to my running coach...

Before, it was straight up sports drink. I trained for my last marathon using:

Cytomax Tropical Fruit

Once I learned that the Derby Festival Marathon would be using Powerade, I switched over. I heard it's a good idea to train with the drink that your race is going to offer.

In discussing hydration during my runs, however, my coach had some interesting thoughts. He trains using only water. Crazy, right? He actually told me that he uses water during training and then drinks sports drinks during every stop during his marathon. He doesn't use GUs or anything like that.

As per his e-mail to me this am:

Part of the training effect of long runs is fat stores to glycogen conversion, hence eating and sport drink ingestion dilutes or eliminates this effect.
Best situation is if a person is so trained that their body converts the entire race, providing a constant drip of energy, sort of like a continuous IV.
I train on water alone, then in marathons drink one mouthful of the sports drink at every aid station and no water, feeling this gives me the advantage on both being trained to convert, plus getting extra energy from the sugar drink. I don't do the gels; too hard to open and messy to use.
People use all this stuff, then have stomach troubles and energy imbalance from their sugar levels rising and falling. The idea is drip, drip, drip with the fuel to maintain homeostasis.

I haven't gotten permission to mention my coach's name on my blog (and want to ask before I do...) but I will tell you that I trust him. His marathon PR is a 2:27:08. Wait, it doesn't stop there... He is 72 years old and just ran a 3:29:25 at Boston in April. Holy crap!!! The man clearly knows what he's doing. 

(I'll brag on him more in another post, after I ask him if it's ok.)

So, I'm totally rethinking my hydration and fueling needs during my long runs.

On my 10-miler this am, I used Nuun fruit punch tablets. Since it's getting hot here, I want to be careful and keep my electrolytes balanced. The Nuun tablets gave me the electrolytes without the massive amounts of sugar in the sports drink. It was a tasty option, and I downed almost 30 oz. in the hot AZ early am sun on my run.

I definitely felt the difference though in drinking (essentially) water vs. sports drink. It's going to take a while to re-train my body.

So what do you do during your runs?


  1. you have a COACH!? and an amazing one! I'm jealous.

    I don't eat while running. I chew gum, and that is it. I had 4 pieces of Gu Chomps during my last marathon, just to give it a try. I had gatorade at 2 or 3 of the water stops. On a normal run, I drink water at fountains, and on hot days will buy a Vitamin Water zero (lemonade flavor) at 7-11.

    Also, I never, ever get hungry when I run. I eat huge dinners, run in the morning, and that seems to work out perfectly

  2. What your coach says makes a lot of sense! I only used ONE Gu packet the entire time in my last two marathons. And then water. This was fine really but at the end I bonked a bit. I might not use as many as 5 like people say. Thanks for your comments.

  3. On my longer training runs, I drink a diluted G2 mix with water. I use a camelbak and take a swig every half mile or so. On anything longer than 10 miles, I will do a GU. On anything longer than 17 miles, I'll take 2 GUs. I did have some stomach problems during my last marathon, which I attribute to HammerGels, heat (well, relative nothing compared to what you get in AZ), and not being able to have a bm before the race (tmi I know).