Are Liquid Carbs A Better Overall Strategy To Use In Ultra Marathon Races?

This is an interesting question coming from John.

Do you find yourself in the situation each time you´re getting ready for a race? Not feeling 100% sure about whether to risk running on liquid carbs or rather opt for a combination of solid foods and liquid carbs?



It used to be that 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour was considered a sufficient amount for endurance athletes. Around the time when I was preparing for the Marathon des Sables in 2008 hell broke loose when experts talked about increasing the intake of carbohydrates to 80-90 grams per hour in order to reap more energy and perform to an optimum.

I followed this new “rule” and had a perfect race – not just from a nutritional standpoint.

When it comes to selecting the foods for any given race I leave ZERO to chance, nothing. I am a perfectionist, calculate and measure everything so I can have a calm time out on the race course and worry about my running.

I follow a strict rhythm and practice in training when exactly I need to ingest calories and think of my body as the tank of a vehicle I need to fuel. I use the aid stations to fuel up on water and only eat what is being offered on the last 20 K before the finish. By that stage I will often crave salty and solid foods like potatoes or plain sandwiches.

Maybe you know already whether you´re more of an “all-you-can-eat-runner”  or you need to be careful about what you ingest in order not to suffer from an upset stomach.

In any case, the bottom line is to find out what suits you best by testing various options in your training, specially on long runs. And avoiding the trap of experimenting with the unknowns on race day.

Which approach has helped you the most? What´s your tip for anyone struggling with ingesting foods in training and racing?

Join the conversation and leave your comment right below.

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