Talkback: Carbs Glorious Carbs

A sub 60 ten mile and sub 80 half suggest I should complete a sub 3hr marathon but I seem to tire after 18 miles. Is this a fueling problem? I've tried gels but they play havoc with my guts.


  • You'll have to give us more information PhilW5 - e.g. what long runs do you do? How do you carbo-load before your marathon? Do you take on sport drink during the race? What breakfast do you have?

    and the classic

    at what pace do you set off at the start of your marathons?

  • I trained up to 24 miles for London last year. I was less than a minute over the three and found i tired in the last 4 miles. I was using gels.

    I like to have porridge the morning of a race and take a cerial bar/banana to eat just before the start.

    I'm training for shakespear (25/4) and up to 22 mile at a slower pace than i would like. On my last long run I had a banana half way and water. I seem to be able to run 3 hour pace from the start but just can't hold that pace to the finish line.

    Maybe I'm just not cut out for the longer distance?

  • One of my favourite post-run snacks is raw sweet potato, cut into fingers and dipped in low-fat hoummous.  Sweet potatoes are delicious raw: very crunchy, a bit like carrots, but even nicer in my opinion.
  • this article states brown rice has a lot of fiber but the back of the rice package says a serving has barely one gram....? so which is it??
  • You'll need to do the maths - how big is a serving for starters?

  • I wonder. Gels make me nauseous. Energy drink (eg sis) becomes entirely unappetising after a bit if made up to recommended strength.

    OK, I'm a slow runner, but I have found that real food with a bit of variety works best for me. Favourites: drinkable vanilla bean yoghurt, fruitcake. Have been known to eat small portions of dense sausage. The fruitcake is homemade and is mostly fruits and nuts. It is a little difficult to chew and swallow (not one of those who can walk and chew gum at the same time), but worth the trouble.

    I think one of the purposes of the long runs is to do the experiments with fuelling. I am suspicious of calculations. Spending all my days working with theory, I have learned to respect the observation that theory is a guide, to be trusted only when proved acceptable in the particular case by experiment.

  • I ran the Brighton Marathon last Sunday and followed a carb loading programme for the 3 days leading up to last Sunday that someone recommeded to me and it really did work! With the recommendation of 3.5lbs - 4lbs of carbs per pound of body weight, this worked out to 600g a day keeping total daily calory intake the same. It takes some doing to eat that amount of carbs -  It was a lot of porridge, bananas, toast, bagels, scotch pancakes with jam, pasta, rice, energy bars to the point of carb overdose and have to admit that at the start line on Sunday I felt like Mr Blobby and sluggish for the first few miles but the energy boost kicked in around 4 miles and I managed an amazing personal best of 3 hours 15 mins which is some 30 minutes faster than when I ran Brighton last year and no "hitting the wall " syndrome! I was actually aiming to achieve a sub 3-30!  There is a great app (free for 7 days) called Perfect Diet Tracker where you can track you calories, carb, protein and fibre intake which I would recommend as I had no idea how much to eat to get to 600g of carbs! Also eat reasonably early Saturday night, breakfast 3-4 hours before the race on Sunday and an energy drink 90 minutes before. Did take gels with water after each 6 miles.  Worked for me. Good luck to everyone running London on Sunday - have a great race!
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