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FUTBOLREF's Photo FUTBOLREF SparkPoints: (47,782)
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5/27/15 8:30 A

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Just goes to show that every runner is unique and we shouldn't be afraid to experiment By the way, Barney Klecker, when he set his US record for the 50 K on the road many years ago (1981, still stands but a weird story), drank only a half can of flat coke the entire way. He stated last year that he still has trouble adjusting to the "modern" ideas of hydration. But he does hand his kids water bottles on their runs...

Eric
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MALAMI518's Photo MALAMI518 SparkPoints: (121,869)
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5/26/15 10:30 A

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This is great information! I've never used any gels during a half because someone told me condescendingly when I was training for my first half that I shouldn't worry about fueling during a race as short as a half. Why I've let that influence me for the last year, I don't know. Most of the time I feel fine the whole race, but I do notice a slow down around mile 9 or 10. This past weekend, though, I hit the wall hard at mile 12. I really had to push myself to keep going. Maybe a gel would have helped. I also hadn't eaten as much for breakfast as usual. I am going to start experimenting a bit.

I also run a half without water during the race. I guess that's stupid, but that's the way I've always done it, and fortunately none have been too hot. If it were hot, I'm sure that I'd stop for water. But maybe my performance would be better if I hydrated while running.

Thanks for all the information!

Beth
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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 2,211
5/26/15 10:25 A

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Studies show caffeine can play a significant role but you have to understand how to use it. What's important:

- You don't need large quantities of caffeine. Even a single gel (or pill) will have significant impact.
- You don't normally consume caffeine. (I'm not a coffee-drinker so I don't recall precisely how long before the race you should stop consuming coffee, chocolate, etc., but it's on the order of a week.)
- You should not train on caffeine (since the caffeine only affects max performance).


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MOBYCARP's Photo MOBYCARP SparkPoints: (306,109)
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5/26/15 7:43 A

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PASTA, there's a good example of personal taste or individual body needs. I started out wanting to avoid caffeine, and moved to not really caring whether the gel had caffeine or not. The thing is, large quantities of caffeine can bother me; but I'm not going to be taking enough gels for that to be an issue.

Now you make me wonder, though. If I hadn't been using the no-caffeine strawberry-banana get they handed out, but instead dug through my pack for the espresso love flavor, would I have felt better in those last 3 miles? I'll never know. Too many other things will also be different next time.


- Kevin

"Discipline is remembering what you want. " - David Campbell

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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 2,211
5/25/15 3:42 P

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MOBY, A lot of good insights, thanks!

On the subject of taste, I have a different experience. After volunteering at a marathon, many years ago, I ended up with enough Clif Shots that I've never had to buy more. (It's probably been 15 years and I still use them!) The chocolate flavor is so yummy (and messy) that I spend the next half mile licking my fingers.

Alas, my fav race gives out Power Bar Gels which are not only stupidly named but the consistency is like someone spit in my mouth. In self-defense, I've learned to squirt and swallow so quickly that all taste buds are bypassed!

Nonetheless, your comment about bringing your own is not a settled matter for me because of what happened this year. I got to the table and all the volunteers were holding out water. The gels were "Help yourself."

However, I wanted a caffeinated gel. I had to come to a complete stop and began rooting through the boxes. "Which are the caffeinated?" The team captain goes "Oh, sorry, we didn't bother to organize the gels. Just look until you find one." Grrrr. Took me 20 seconds at a complete stop to find one - and then another 5 seconds for me to tell the team captain what I thought of his stop. :-p

Now, I'm going to go and enjoy reading your Buffalo Marathon race report! (Kudos in advance!)

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MOBYCARP's Photo MOBYCARP SparkPoints: (306,109)
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5/25/15 3:10 P

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I've been thinking about the gels a lot lately. When and how many to take will definitely vary from one person to the next and one race to the next, depending on individual physiology, weather, start time, and probably other factors as well.

With that disclaimer, here's my current thinking from the past year or so of running:

The marathon runners I run with tend to plan for a gel every 5 miles. That's a reasonable base for training, but may need to be adjusted for changing conditions. What I like about a mileage measurement rather than a time measurement is that I get the gel sooner when I'm running harder and later when I'm not.

Depending on start time, I may or may not take a gel 15 minutes before. For a half or full marathon, I probably will regardless of start time. For a 15K or shorter, I probably won't for a 7 or 7:30 AM start, but will for a 9 AM or later start. The difference is how long it's been since breakfast.

A disappointing result in a Thanksgiving 10K taught me not to be ashamed to take a gel in a relatively short race. At mile 5, I realized I needed a gel at mile 4 and decided there was no point because I only had a bit over a mile left. At mile 6, I realized the second best strategy would have been to take a gel at mile 5 when I was thinking about it.

My next 10K after that, I felt the need and took a get at about 4.5 miles. I PR'd that one.

My last half, I took a gel at 5 miles as planned. Felt the need for another at 8.5 miles, and a third at 11 miles. I PR'd that half.

Yesterday I ran the Buffalo marathon. The plan was a gel 15 minutes before and every 4 or 5 miles. Brought 7 gels, for the worst case of before and every 4. Forgot mile 5, took the first gel at 6.2. Then I kept up 5 mile intervals through 11.2, and 16.2; an extra at 18, when I hit a small wall; regular at 21.2, and an extra around 23. Seven total gels got me through that marathon, but I never would have predicted the timing. (Brought 5 home, because they handed out gels on the course; if I had only had the ones I brought with me, I might have been too miserly with them.)

For me, the important thing is recognizing when my body needs that gel. I found that needy feeling on a long training run, where I forgot the get at the then-planned 45 minutes, and ended up taking it at an hour and 10. That was only 2 miles before the end of the run, but I perked up and finished the run strong.

Based on what I've read in the thread, I think Pastafarian can probably tell when he needs a gel. Developing a personalized planning system shouldn't be too hard.

Oh, and one other thing. All the gels taste a heck of a lot better when my body needs them. Some taste good regardless, but those not so good flavors can give a clue on body neediness. 15 minutes before the race, a Chocolate Outrage GU tastes like sickeningly sweet chocolate frosting that maybe a 5 year old would like. At mile 10, it tastes like fine chocolate fudge. The difference is, I really need it at mile 10.

Edited by: MOBYCARP at: 5/25/2015 (15:14)

- Kevin

"Discipline is remembering what you want. " - David Campbell

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MBTEPP's Photo MBTEPP SparkPoints: (105,535)
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5/15/15 11:25 A

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Eric, emoticon read! Thanks for sharing your experience.

emoticon on Running with the Cows!

MB
Central Time (Chicago)

I am running from dementia. I exercise to save my brain.

My motto in life: I am not lost, I am exploring. ~Jana Stanfield

PRs
Hero HM, 10/19/2014 2:34:27
Hero 10K, 10/13/2013 1:07:51
Space Race 5K, 09/21/2014 30:56
Fall Frolic 4M, 11/02/2014 41:07

Asheville, NC 1st HM, March 16th, 2014.




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FUTBOLREF's Photo FUTBOLREF SparkPoints: (47,782)
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5/15/15 9:39 A

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Pasta: I've been dehydrated numerous times in the past and recognize the signs coming on. I've spent a lot of time on the soccer pitch reffing game after game in the heat of Kansas (I don't do that anymore - three games max in a day). Way back when I was a young Marine, I passed out from heat exhaustion on a forced march. One of the first signs of dehydration for me (after a drop in speed and power) is "crackling" in the ears. Once I get that I know I need to suck in a lot of water to get caught back up. It generally means I am at least a quart low.

Most runs of under 11 miles I don't drink anything unless temp/humidity is high. Any thing longer I'll carry water and I never drink more than 16 ounces (what my belt carries). So it is what I am used to.

Saturday I took a sip of water about 6 times over the course at the aid stations. May have been ten ounces may have been six. Spilled more on me than I got down. I've run other HMs where I was definitely dehydrated (including one in January in 20 degree weather). I've also run a HM in January where I carried my water belt to ignore the aid stations and ended up drinking only 10 ounces.

I regularly drink three quarts (plus) of water a day plus at least a pot of coffee plus maybe a whiskey or beer. Morning before the race I was up at 4AM (normal time to get up). Had a glass (12 ounces) of water, a half pot of coffee, ate and had another glass (12 ounces) of water. Went to the bathroom a lot. Left for the race and drank 20 ounces on the way, got to the site about an hour and a half before the race. Drank another ten ounces or so before warming up. Nothing else until the race. Went to the porta potties a lot.

Chugged a 20 ounce bottle after the run and another on the drive home. I was up in weight but that was mainly due to the post race feed: pizza, Chic-Fil-A sandwich, sweet roll and a sub sandwich. And I skipped most of the food (Running with the Cows has the best post race food I've ever seen).

As to the "relaxed taper", in the past I have obsessed over the taper running a two mile track workout the Tuesday before the race at goal race pace. I usually show up tired and not feeling my best. For this one, I ran a seven miler on Sunday, slow 3.42 on Monday, fast 3.42 on Tuesday, fast and hard on Wednesday (Whatever Run - whatever I feel like and I felt strong), skipped Thursday's run (Meh Run - didn't care or worry about whether or not I got it in). I took a vacation day from work on Friday. I hauled trash in the morning (free dump days) and took the afternoon off playing video games (Assassin's Creed Black Flag) to get off my feet.

Last year I PR'd at this race (since lowered by 3.5 minutes in November) and the year before was my worst HM ever. This year, a month before the race I was way over trained and considered not running. So I didn't obsess over the taper and still ran well. I finished two minutes off my best time in this race and felt the best I ever have afterwards. Not even sore.

Like Pastafarian, I am not 100% sure of what really worked since I changed a bunch of stuff.

And here is the disclaimer: No one has ever accused me of being sane nor have I ever claimed to be so. So what works for me may not work for everyone.

Eric
"Old Age and Treachery..."
PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 2,211
5/14/15 9:37 P

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FUTBOLREF, You drank 8oz in a HM at 60F and didn't feel dehydrated? I wonder if you're at the extreme of the spectrum. (I'm not sure what spectrum I'm talking about - if not inability to dehydrate, maybe inability to *feel* dehydrated!)

I've measured my weight before/after several HMs and in the mid-60s, I lose about 7 lbs which is the equivalent of 112 fl oz or slightly less than a gallon (128 fl oz).

Or maybe you do much better at hydrating before a race than I do?


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CHANGINGHORSES's Photo CHANGINGHORSES SparkPoints: (71,122)
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5/14/15 6:54 P

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FUTBOLREF-What do you mean by "relaxed taper"?

Live your life as though you are obligated to make the world a better place. Make a difference today, be the one!


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FUTBOLREF's Photo FUTBOLREF SparkPoints: (47,782)
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5/14/15 8:38 A

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Pasta: Good job on the HM! I am finding it is really personal as to what works when running. I ran Running with the Cows HM on Saturday. Humid and about 60. I drank maybe 8 ounces during the race and didn't feel dehydrated at all.
A lot of people don't take any supplements at all during a HM.
I have been using honey packets instead of gel and this was the first race I used them in. I took one two minutes before the start (along with two ibuprofen), one at 8 miles and one at 11 miles. Felt great the whole race.
Like you I ate about 800 calories for breakfast. Had fried eggs and toast about two and a half hours before start time. Also had a Chocolate Stinger Waffle about half an hour before the race before a mile warm up.
This is the first HM where I didn't fade the last couple of miles.
It is fun to be the one doing the passing and not the one being passed.
Of course I think my relaxed tapering also helped...

Eric
"Old Age and Treachery..."
CHANGINGHORSES's Photo CHANGINGHORSES SparkPoints: (71,122)
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5/11/15 8:17 P

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Nice job Pasta! I usually eat a gel or two around mile 10 also. I try to spread it all out as much as I can, some times the distraction of the chew is enough to get me through a low spot. I have read about the amount of carbs that you should have while running distance and I still do not get as much as they recommend. I think your time on the run also makes a big difference. I am lot slower and therefore I am out there longer. My average time for a half is 2:30. I try to use gels every 30 min.

Live your life as though you are obligated to make the world a better place. Make a difference today, be the one!


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MBTEPP's Photo MBTEPP SparkPoints: (105,535)
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5/11/15 5:00 P

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emoticon PF. Way to finish strong

MB
Central Time (Chicago)

I am running from dementia. I exercise to save my brain.

My motto in life: I am not lost, I am exploring. ~Jana Stanfield

PRs
Hero HM, 10/19/2014 2:34:27
Hero 10K, 10/13/2013 1:07:51
Space Race 5K, 09/21/2014 30:56
Fall Frolic 4M, 11/02/2014 41:07

Asheville, NC 1st HM, March 16th, 2014.




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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 2,211
5/11/15 3:44 P

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I had a really good HM this past Saturday but I changed 3 things so I'm not really sure which is responsible. Probably all three.

I woke before my alarm. Too excited to go back to sleep. With 4 hours before the gun, I wondered if it was too early to eat but instead I felt it safe to violate rule #1 and experiment a bit and so I had more than I usually would, eating 800 calories at 4am including a fair amount of protein.

High humidity and mid-60s at the start, so during the race I concentrated on consuming a lot more water than I used to. Probably had about 40 oz during the race. (I know that still doesn't sound like a lot to some. I'll work on this!)

I had one caffeinated gel at mile 10 and wow, felt great in the last two miles. Everyone around me was walking while I motored up the final hills that used to crush me in the past.

Even though my time was 2:05 and far off my PR of 1:53 (set on a relatively flat HM), I considered this a success because this course was so hilly with 1000 feet uphill. Can't wait to try this again!


Edited by: PASTAFARIAN at: 5/11/2015 (15:45)
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MBTEPP's Photo MBTEPP SparkPoints: (105,535)
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5/11/15 2:40 P

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I carry a banana to the starting line, since I cannot run on empty, even after eating a good breakfast two hours earlier. I expect it's nerves. I go overboard with gel, but I listen to what my body is telling me. My last race a week ago, I hit a slump at mile 5, gel #1. My next slump was mile 10, then 12. So I downed 2 more. I was shaking after my finish. I had three waters, a banana and a cutie, and the recovery went well. My carbo load was 1.5 days without protein, which meant I did not eat more than normal, only went without protein.

I could not rely on just 1 gel.

MB
Central Time (Chicago)

I am running from dementia. I exercise to save my brain.

My motto in life: I am not lost, I am exploring. ~Jana Stanfield

PRs
Hero HM, 10/19/2014 2:34:27
Hero 10K, 10/13/2013 1:07:51
Space Race 5K, 09/21/2014 30:56
Fall Frolic 4M, 11/02/2014 41:07

Asheville, NC 1st HM, March 16th, 2014.




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AIMLESS_AM's Photo AIMLESS_AM Posts: 2,442
5/7/15 1:46 P

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I usually only do one gel, and I take it at mile 8. I'm lucky that all of our local races are so small that I normally get to the start line within 30 minutes or so of eating my pre-race standard peanut butter toast, so I don't need any more calories for awhile.

- Amy

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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,690
5/7/15 10:45 A

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I have approached the gel issue for half marathons in a couple of ways. I found that by eating 1.5 to 2 hours before race start my stomach is growling by mile 4. In those cases I take a gel at 4 and another at 9. If I eat shortly before the race or if I take a gel in the starting corral, I will take a gel at mile 6 and that usually gets me across the finish line.

Other things that I have found that cause me to slow at the end of a race is not enough water, too much water or not enough electrolytes on hot runs. I always carry a little extra of everything in case I am having an off day.



-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 2,211
5/6/15 4:53 P

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I've done several HMs where I find myself running on fumes in the last mile. I just want to stop. Fortunately, knowledge that the race is ending soon gives me enough willpower to continue running but I suspect that all I need is one gel at the right time so it kicks in when needed. But when is the right time to take a gel to survive that last mile?

Although I've done a couple of HMs with multiple gels, I've come to the conclusion that most gels are unneeded and that I should only need 1, just for that last mile. I'm curious if anyone else has come to this same view and if so, when is the optimum time to take it?

And before someone chimes in to say "I don't need any gels because I'm so good with my diet/pace/hydration/whatever", I agree that sometimes everything falls into place and I have no problem with that last mile. But not always. I just want to hedge my bets with one gel whether I ultimately need it or not.

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