Energy Bars

by Victor
(Mexico City)

Energy bars and the marathon :

"Hi Marius:

I see that you don´t mention any intake of gels (like Gu) in your 100days plan, during the Marathon.

Most of my friends do take them, I don´t feel it necessary, but being my first marathon I start having doubts about it.

My plan is to take Gatorade Lemon Lime from the stations in the quantities recommended in the chart, 9 to 10 in my case.
Should I add something more.

Thanks for a great training plan!!!


Answer: Hi Victor and thanks for a great question.

As for energy bars (and gels) it is a matter of personal preferance and TRAINING to see if it is for you. It also has to do with overall finishing time. I would say that if you're aiming for sub 3:15ish, you want to stick to drinking and then maybe test out different energy gels from about 30k and outwards - but no bars.

If you are above 3:15, you can test out how you feel it works during your longest sessions with both bars and gels. In my personal experience it is about 50/50 - 50 % can deal with it, 50 % not, so test it out and see which one of those you are ! Also test different types to find the one right for you - if your initial tests are promising.

Kind regards,

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Energy Gel Marathon

by Marco Wendt, Answer by Marius
(Oslo, Norway)

A energy gel marathon question : Is energy gels an alternative/supplement to drinking during a marathon ?

"Hi Marius, what is your opinion on "energy gels" during training/race? Is this an alternative to some cups of marathon drink by means of energy-provision? I think 15-20 cups is a lot..

Greets Marco"

Answer: Yes, you can certainly experiment with this. My personal experience is that energy gels are harder on the stomach, especially if you are already tired as with the end of a marathon race. Therefore, if you want to go for the gels then you absolutely have to practice this beforehand !

I suggest that you try and copy your aimed regime for the longer runs the last 3-5 weeks before a marathon. Maybe even "over-do-it" on some of these. I know that 15-20 cups type sounds like a lot but so is 42.195 km at full speed ;) Fact is, though, if you practice drinking systematically/energy gels the last weeks before the marathon this will be no problem at all. You'll be surprised how fine tuned your system will be and adjusted to this kind of amounth.

Good luck !

Kind regards,

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Marathon eating

by Katie

Marathon eating - what to eat while training for the marathon.

I was wondering what a typical day of eating would look like for a runner trying to run 3 hours and below. I really want to make sure I am eating enough and eating the proper foods at the proper times. Is there any help or guidance on this that you can offer?

Thank you!


Answer : Hi Katie, and thanks for your question.

There are a few articles you want to read about this - starting with this one : marathon diet - and look at the other articles connected to that one.

In addition to that, in the 100 day plan, there is a whole chapter on what to eat properly plus calculators to determine the race day intake.

Basically, for the marathon training period itself (not the days leading up to the marathon + marathon race day) you want to balance your meals so that you get enough energy BUT at the same time you want to aim for the lightest possible body you can have without losing energy.

A few tips :
* Add 600-800 grams of vegetables in addition to what you already eat during the day. This helps self regulate your diet.
* In the evening, snack on frozen berries
* cut out cereals, youghurt (except natural), sugary drinks (except during marathon practice on drinking) and candy. Those are the main sources of sugar for most of us, many are not aware of the cereals and yoghurt sugar content.
* Try and have many meals during the day and load up a bit the evening before your hardest runs (not the same day)
*Aim for about 40-55 % carbs, 20-25 proteins and the rest 20-25 % fat - very approximately.

And above all, never starve yourself. That is counter-productive ; you do not want to put yourself there. Enjoy your training and food intake, but do consider the above :)

I wish you all the best with your training,

kind regards,

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Carbohydrates marathon

by Ben Gray
(Houston TX)

What to eat before the race ;

"Before the race how many carbohydrates would you recommend? I read your article about the breakfast before the race with eating a light meal and I have your 100 day marathon plan. I noticed Gatorade had the G1 which contained 25 carbs per serving with some toast or would you recommend eating pasta the night before?

Second, from a medical/scientific standpoint have you heard of using your body's fat to convert it to energy. I saw a product called Hornet Juice that supposedly world class athletes have used in the Olympics and I was wondering if you are familiar with it. Is it just a scam or can you use the product along with proper nutrition?"

Answer: Hi Ben and thanks for your questions.

In terms of carbohydrates before the race, my absolute best answer is this : test it out before the very long hard efforts that are planned in the 100 day plan. How much you can handle largly depend on how "trained" you are for this. For one person, who has worked hard on carbo intake before sessions/drank alot during runs, it is possible to load a little bit more before the race than what I recommend. Having said that, you do not want to go overboard, it is much more important to drink well DURING the marathon than to load up too much right beforehand.

Some also like to carboload before the race, with depletion for a period before loading the last days. I've found that this works really well for about 30-50 % of the runners that have tested it, so it may be worth a try down the road.

As for the Hornet Juice, it was hyped up a few years ago - due to the Japanese female marathoners using it (which was correct) Having said that, it probably does not make much difference vs ordinary drinks. It has been in the market for a few years, and I know many other marathoners have tested it and if it was really that good, the use would explode, which it has not :)

I've tested running on fat stores quite extensively myself. To give you an example, it took me 4 days of training threshold work twice a day and eating only 20 grams of carbo a day (the rest fat and proteins - enough carbo to fuel the nervous system only) to go into ketosis ; burning fat stores mostly for fuel ; measured objectively in the lab. So it takes quite some time to fully go into that state. And in the marathon, though it happens to a certain degree, it is not something likely that a product can do much help with.

I wish you all the best,

kind regards,

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Marathon food and drink

by Marco
(Leiden, The Netherlands)

What is the best marathon food and drink ?

"Hi Marius,

I've got a couple of question.
I'm following the 4h plan and I really enjoy the training.

1) Due to some problems in the early winter I'm behind my schedule of about 1.5 month.
I've signed for a marathon on the May 16th, but I would be at the week 8 of the plan.
I was wondering which is the best strategy in this case; I was thinking to run a good half marathon at my pace and try to finish it without pushing too much or cry if I couldn't finish.
Do you think it is feasible or it is too early to run a full marathon at this stage of the traning?
What do you suggest me?

3) I want to prepare the NY2010 with the 3h plan having around a month of margin (work, sickness etc...). More or less I should start in June, being in holiday in July. Linked to the previuos, I won't finish the 4h plan.
Is it the same if I don't finish the 4h plan and I start the 3h one?
What do you suggest me? Should I start from the beginning of the 3h plan?

2) Most of the people are suggesting me to take some supplements like maltodestrin. What do you think about this kind of staff? do you have a good website to find good supplements?
I frankly don't have a clue about what I would need for the marathon.

3) During the marathon, what kind of food I should eat, do you have a website to suggest or a list of possible "food" to eat?



Hi Marco: I have to answer your question a bit general so that others can relate to it as well.

I do recommend going through the whole 100 day plan prior to a marathon but if that is not possible, then I suggest you work backwards if you only have a few weeks left. So at least try and get in there the last 4 weeks of the schedule.

In terms of eating, I recommend only drinking during the marathon. In extension to that, you want to test out 5-6 different drinks on your long hard runs (that you find in the marathons specific weeks of the 100 day plan) and find the one that works the best on your stomach.

I never recommend one type as I've seen how this varies a great deal from person to person. It is really a testing thing - test it in those runs by drinking every 15-20 minutes and calculate it according to the calculator in the 100 day plan (say your goal is 3hr marathon and the temp is predicted to 20 degrees C at the marathon at that time of the year, then you can use that to find out approximately how much to drink on your test runs every 15-20 min)

Once you are 100 day before NYC, then just start the schedule from the start - no problem at all cutting the other one short.

I wish you all the best with your training,

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Race Day Fluid Intake

by Simon

Race day fluid intake :

"Hi There,

I am trying to figure out how to keep hydrated during the marathon. My wife and I are doing our first marathon in 7 weeks time (Rome). She is aiming for 4:30, and I am aiming for 3:30. Using your calculator, I should have 15 cups of fluid, and she should have 7.

Now, the questions...
1) 15 cups sounds like a lot, and 7 doesn't sound like much (considering she is running an extra hour). Am I using the calculator incorrectly?

2) Do you recommend using the water stops or to carry your own camelbak?

Many Thanks,

Answer: Hi Simon and thanks for you answer.

Now, calculating this 100 % is difficult, but the main point is that the slower runners (with 4:30, one expects some walking in here) it is a much higher risk over overhydrating + going into hyponatremia. So the calculator takes this into account. It is not linear for that reason. It is quite common and it may be better to be slightly dehydrated than overdrinking within the 4:15-30 to 5:30 time-range.

For the faster runners ; for you and your 3:30 and downwards we are talking a different game - and it is much easier to calculate. So the calculations there are pretty accurate with the cups for you and your wife. She can maybe add in there 1-3 cups, and a banana or two on the way but other than that, the calculations are where you want them.

Now, the best is to have your own drinks with you (or at least some) OR at least check who is the sponsor for drinks on the way so that you can practice drinking this in workouts. The key is to give your body as much as possible training in this beforehand so that it is used to it.

I wish you all the best with the Rome marathon + Rome is the city I ran my Norwegian 5k record of 13 min 06 sec :)

All the best,

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Losing weight while running

by Kreso

Losing weight while running:

"Hello Marius, I am 10kg overweighted, so what is the best way to cut it down, is high intensity or long slow run? I must lose kilos and then back to your schedule over winter? My next in marathon is in March 2011, where i will try to run 3:15-3:30.
Best regards, Kreso"

Answer: The answer to this is simple : read the 100 day plan and the diet tips I have in there (almost a full chapter) and follow it 100 %, including the CLA tips and what I talk about concerning vegetables. This is what the focus should be - not changing training just to lose the pounds - training should always be a matter of performance focus, not a weight focus.

I wish you all the best,

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Race day nutrition marathon

by Tom

A few tips on race day nutrition and the marathon:

"Dear Marius,

Thank you for a great program. I follow the 3:15 plan and it is an excellent way to train for the marathon.

My marathon is coming up in less than two months so I have started thinking a lot more about the race day itself. I plan to follow your advice of only drinking sports drinks during the race, but would like some advice on what sports drink to pick. So far I have used Powerade and it works really well with my training. However, I am puzzled about Powerades calory content - only 200 kcalories per liter. So, if I want to compensate the calory shortage of 962 kcal that you reference in your text I would have to drink almost 5 litres of Powerade during the race - which is clearly too much for me.

So, my question to you is: Does the calory content of the sportsdrink actually matter? If it does, should marathon runners look for a more calory rich sports drink than Powerade (which one would you recommend)? Or is it better to supplement with solids such as bananas to ensure a total calory intake above the 962 that you reference?

Thank you,

Answer Hi Tom, the best answer I can give you to this is to use the calculator in the 100 day plan - where you can plug in your finishing time and weather + go by this. This calculator is based on a drink that has about the same as the Poweraid one. And it is pretty accurate.

Now, I based the article on some previously done review articles - but there seems to be some inaccurate information there ; they've calculated it slightly too high (I got an email from another runner on it as well) So it will be fixed down the road.

I think your plan it very good - stick to Poweraid and it is very smart that you're getting used to drinking routines already. It is a key element in all of this.

Wish you all the best leading up to your marathon,

Kind regards,

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