Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fueling experiments to begin again....

My fueling experiments begin again, a couple years ago with regards to fueling I had hit bottom. I had tried gels, bars, electrolyte drinks and a handful of other things all with no success. The best I could do was a draw. I found that with all of the methods, I would experience stomach issues especially on hot days. Then I read something somewhere that said if you want to avoid issues that you should quit shocking your system. The article said if you are going to take in electrolyte, do it from the start to the finish. So I tried this in the fall of 2007. The first race I did it in was the Kansas City Marathon and it reached temps in the mid 80s. It worked, I didn't run a great race as I went out too quick on the hills but I had no major stomach issues. I then ran quite a few races in 2008 many in hot weather including Afton and the Grizzly marathon. It worked again, I still had some energy issues later in the races but did not get sick not even once.

All was going well until this year, I had issues in Kansas City during the Run Toto Run 50k and again at the Chippewa 50k. In thinking through both of those, I think the issue was simply dehydration related to using the Nathan. At KC, it froze up and it took me a while to get it unfrozen, I don't think I took in enough fluids early in the race and at Chippewa, I simply didn't drink enough. I agree with Steve L., I can't monitor my intake using my Nathan so to correct that, I will start all races with at least one bottle along with my Nathan.

So that should get me through marathons and 50ks but what about my 50 miler? What do I take in for extra energy and when do I take it?

So to begin the experiment, I am going to plan on using what Wayne sent me this weekend. My plan is to try his e-Gels along with my Clif Shot electrolyte. He sent me a gel flask which I have never used so my plan is to water down the gel so I don't have to worry about shocking my stomach. Wayne had told me he would have up to 3 e-Gels in a flask and top it off with water. I will try one packet today and maybe two tomorrow or Monday.

The only question I have which will require me to do a bit of research what is the nutritional difference between 20 oz of Clif Shot electrolyte and a Clif Shot gel packet and then what about e-Gel versus e-Fuel versus Clif Shot?

Here is my quick comparison, thanks to the gel and electrolyte comparison charts you can find on the CrankSports website.

What does this all mean? I can easily admit I don't know.

One thing that I did notice is that my Clif Shot electrolyte has a lot of sodium even though I dilute it a bit (approximately to 2/3 of what's in the table), I am still taking in around 300 mg of sodium per bottle, so should I cut back on my use of Succeed S Caps? I do have swelling issues but I did before I took in the electrolyte and before I took in S Caps, so you got me.

One thing I am curious about and will need to spend a bit more time researching unless Mr. Q wants to enlighten me. Is there any difference between any of these for providing energy during an event and what else if anything (like protein, etc...) do you have to get into your body for the longer distances?


Get Primal said...

Good questions. I don't have the answer, but do believe in taking protein and fat along with carbs. I'm a big believer in not "shocking the system" as you mentioned. However, I try to avoid this by not ingesting foods that I don't normally eat. I'm surprised anybody can function off of nutrition like gels, etc. when we don't normally eat them. I've yet to find the perfect food for paleo pumpkin loaf has worked well in training and will be my FANS nutrition until my body rebels. No back up plan yet;)

Kel said...

Feel free to download the Excel spreadsheet that I put up last summer when I was experimenting. It's linked to my "sports nutrition" post:

Steve G also had an ultra-calculator that estimated his caloric needs, where aid stations were for each specific race he was doing, etc.

Typically, you should start to eat/drink early and often instead of waiting until you feel like you're thirsty or about to bonk (by then it's too late). I agree with Adam that for longer distances you're going to need protein and fat along with carbs - calorie dense stuff like nuts, or some sports drinks that include protein and fat if you can't tolerate solid foods. Hammer Perpetuem or Succeed Clip2 come to mind. I've also found ginger root helps calm an upset stomach, so I carry some crystallized ginger in a small baggie.

It's all a grand experiment, and each of us is a laboratory of one. What works for one person may not for someone else. Good luck!

RunWesty said...

Adam - What you eat amazes me, I look forward to seeing how it works out. I may have to follow as I am not sure the gels will work for me either.

Kel - thanks for the info, what's funny is I had the ginger samples from Zombie at Chippewa, just forgot I had them, would have been the perfect time to try. Oh well, I will just have to try them next time.

SteveQ said...

I've gone over all of this in nauseating detail and what I've learned is: your body will adapt to whatever approach you take - just don't do anything too far removed from what seems normal to you. I've run 50 miles without a sip of water (not recommended), so anything's possible. The challenge in 50 miles, and even more in 100, is that you get "flavor sickness." You can't rely on just one food to get you through.


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