Run Disaster

Looking for some advice, I am training for the Manchester Marathon (first timer) and up until Sat my training was going really well, 2 weeks ago I did 15 miles and felt great at the end so I thought Sat's 17 would be ok.  However, at mile 13 I stopped for a drink and some fuel and felt extremely dizzy to the point where I thought I would black out, I carried on for another 2 miles and felt ok when running but had to stop to cross a main road and as soon as I stopped I felt dizzy again and the last 2 miles had to walk/run.

I wasn't running too fast and can only assume I was dehydrated but not had an experience like this before.  Does this sound like dehydration and is there anything I could do better to prevent it happening again.  I am usally well hydrated before a run and I run with the lucozade still juice.

I have 19 miles to do this Sat so any advice would be welcome!



  • Doesnt sound like dehydration to me - sounds like a fuelling issue ? Low blood sugar maybe ? What had you done the day before ?
  • i nearly got to this stage a couple of weeks ago.

    a nice load of sugary treats helped ALOT image

    take some sweets with you next time, no matter how much fluid you have consumed, your body needs to have some food!!

  • hmm I assumed it was dehydration as I got home had a large glass of water and within 15/20 mins I felt human again.  I took a museli bar with me this time but I guess they are too slow acting, although on my 15 miler I didn't take anything and felt fine.  I didn't eat after my long run either until the evening, as I never feel hungry after a long run so if it had been low blood sugar surely the glass of water wouldn't have helped?

  • A gel takes about 20 mins to kick in, a cereal bar would take a lot longer to digest and have an effect ? Probably by the time that worked - you'd finished ?

    Which Lucozade did you drink ? Sport or Sport Lite ?
  • your not going by the recovery times then??

    you should be eating a recovery meal/snack atleast half hour after completing a run? something high protein preferably (i may be corrected here)

    waters not always the best fuid to drink for some people.

    on the 15 miler how much/what did you eat before hand??

    how different was it to the 17??

    loads of scenarios can play havoc with your run! trust me i know!

  • Thanks for response guys, I normally have a bowl of ceral/porridge about an hour an half before I run and as I said I had nothing other than fluid on my 15 miler without any ill effects.  Same again on Sat for breakfast but with the museli bar en route, odd that I felt bad at 13 miles because I have run that distance upteen times and felt perfectly fine. Perhaps I was just having an off day but I don't want to feel like that again!  I'll give it a go this weekend with some fuel, I guess I maybe need to start thinking about fuel after about 7 miles ish to keep me going rather than leaving it too late.

    No I'm afraid I don't subscribe to the eating after a run, just can't, my overall recovery time I think is pretty good though, after half an hour of being at home I was getting stuck into the house work!

    I think its Lucozade sport I've got, not the lite stuff, but I do water it down as I find it a bit strong!

    I've got a 19, 21 and 23 miler left on the long runs to perfect my strategy!


  • Everyone has the odd run from time to time - I'd not worry about it too much.

    As the run lengths progress - it does take more out of your body. I often have a milk shake after a long run - theyve been proven to help recovery.

    Its probably a combination of a tougher week and maybe that had left you a bit lower on energy on the day ?

    Whats the plan for your Marathon ? Lucozade and energy bars ?
  • Emma, try eating a banana an hour before your run if you can. I used to have low blood sugar levels and this is what the GP recommended. Apparently bananas contain potassium which is good for this and are good for providing long term energy. Sugary snacks like jelly beans and chocolate are good for providing energy short term quickly, but if you can avoid the problem in the first place by eating enough foods to sustain your energy levels longer term, this is better.
  • Not sure of the plan now after Sat!  I'll go down to my friendly running shop this week and see what they have in way of gels vs sweets and just try stuff out, I've got 8 weeks so should be able to make a plan in that time.  Up until this point I thought I'd take a couple of gels just in case but it seems I'll need to try harder than that.

    Milk shake post run is definitely an option - does the ice cream one from the 'yellow arches' count??!

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    You stopped for a drink and some fuel.

    Let me guess. The fuel was refined sugar based. (lucozade sport)

    Lets see. You are running along with perfectly balanced blood sugar levels. You start feeling a bit hungry so instead of running through it and burning the fat you have a sugar bomb snack.

    Your system is instantly flooded with sugar. Too much sugar. But because your body still has the ability to balance this out, it floods your system with insulin in an attempt to bring the level of blood sugar down to a safe level.

    Unfortunately because its a delayed reaction, the insulin can get overdone at which point you find yourself with a really low blood sugar level, going all dizzy etc.

    So what do you do? of course, just whack yourself with another dose of sugar, to raise your blood sugar levels.

    Once you are in this cycle, the only way to keep your system level is to spend your life with a gut full of sugar acting like a resevoir.

    I understand this cycle can lead to diabetes.

  • Nope didn't feel hungry, slightly fatigued perhaps so thought I should probably have something to see me through the remaining miles! Maybe that was my mistake I should have not bothered and just carried on.  Diabetes....! I thought this running lark was good for you??!!

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Emmalou, have you thought about what you ate the day before your runs?  

    It does sound like your body was low in glycogen stores, and the snack you ate wouldn't have kicked in for at least 20 minutes.

    Personally, I've found long runs much easier if the day before I've drunk a bit extra (e.g. about a pint of water/squash over & above my normal consumption) and had a high carb meal (e.g. pasta or curry with rice & naan bread etc).

    Your breakfast is just topping up your glycogen levels, but you should have plenty in reserve if you eat appropriately in the preceeding days. 


  • I was going to say what stutyr and RicF did, except without the diabetes bit, but they seem to have explained it much better than I would. +1 for the eating and drinking more the day before and not overdoing the sugar.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Sorry about this.

    Chased up the research on the subject.

    Sugar consumption does not cause diabetes in isolation. 

    Excessive consumption of sugar and fat can lead to obesity that is a factor.


  • roebyroeby ✭✭✭

    I really like dextrosol and munch on a few mid run ,prefer them to gels as they can make me feel sick,jelly babies are good too.

  • If you find gels a bit claggy, I can recommend the High 5 iso-gels - they're quite a thin consistency and I found that half of one every six or so miles got me round my first marathon.  It'll probably feel strange taking something so early if, like me, you're not used to taking anything on short/medium runs, but you need to try things out now so that you can get your body used to it for the big day - whatever you do, don't change your plans on marathon day!

    Just another point - don't expect to feel a sudden burst of energy when you've re-fuelled.  It will help you maintain your energy levels rather than making you sprint!  Good luck with the training!

  • I didn't realise the gels took so long to work (20 mins)! I've always eaten haribo or jelly babies on a long run, much tastier and seem to give me the sugar boost faster.

    I wouldn't recomment Lucozade, although I know many of you will. I'm a biologist and studies carried out by my students showed that recovery time only improved marginally with Lucozade compared with water. The drink that improved performance the most was milk - due to the combination of sugars and protein. However, I can't imagine taking a bottle of milk on a run so I'd recommend drinking milk after the run instead! This might be good for Emmalou if you're not keen on eating soon after you finish your run. I'd love to hear what you think if you try the idea!

  • I have been told to get a bottle of chocolate milk shake

    As recovery drink straight after getting home will be incorporating this

    Into my marathon plan ;0)
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