Nutrition/hydration advice please

Hi, first thread so bare with me!   Training for Oct marathon - first one ever.  Think training going well but have issues with trying to sort out hydration/food.  Up to 18 miles  now & practice with Hi 5 Energy gels using about 3. First one taken 90 mins into running.  THese seem to work ok for me.

I have trouble with drinking.  Can do 10miles no prob with no water.  Even 18 miles will see my water bottle with only an inch out of it.  Have been dropping a zero Hi 5 tablet in which is i think only electrolytes.  Should I be forcing more drink down (makes me feel sick).  Am concerned about dehydration on marathon day.   Any advice would be greatfully received.  thanks sara


  • I think you may run into trouble with so little hydration.  There are always folks who will say they can manage a marathon on nothing but a wink and a smile but personally I can do all sort of things in training but on the day of a race I NEED to drink more and take more gels to sustain my race pace and calm my nerves.

    I have also hit the wall when i didn't do this and on my last race (which admittedly was a roasting hot ironman) I suffered from severe dehydration.


    If I were you.... I would try to learn to drink - even try using a camelbak with some zero hi 5 or something similar in it and get into the habit of sipping tiny amounts often.  If you get to race day and find you need more fluids - you will not have trained your body to cope - so you may find yourself gulping and then have fluid swooshing around in your tummy.


    However - this is only my opinion based on my own experience and that of my training partners.


  • I'm certain that you should learn to take on water.  You could suffer from severe dehydration... and even if you don't, it is likely to reduce your performance.


  • Sara, Gymaddict makes good sense. I currently use a 2ltr CamelBak for my long runs, I used to pop a satchet of High5 4:1 in it but nearing my Marathon just have a couple of High5 tabs (Electolyte and Magnesium) and trialling the Clif Shot Bloks that they give away at the Loch Ness Marathon.

    I was considering taking the CamelBak but if its not an overly hot day will use the bottle belt I just bought, 2*300ml bots and a 'purse' to carry extra bloks. I recently did a HM and water was served in cups - I struggle running and drinking from a bottle, a cup is, well, probably funny to watch me attemptimage

    Find out how they serve drink at your marathon and practice during your runs

  • I'd carry on as you are. I.e drink to thirst. If you're not thirsty don't drink. Your body is remarkably well adapted to -
    a) going long intervals without fluid
    b) telling you if it wants fluid.

    Personally I get though about a litre of water at that distance if it's warm and sunny, but each person varies. 
    Incidently being slightly dehydrated won't effect performance. As an example the people who win marathons will be dehydrated at the end. If maintaing constant fluid level improved performance compared to losing fluid then you'd see it in the results. What you see is the opposite.

  • That's one view, Ian...  and 'drinking to thirst' is backed by a number of experts so it certainly should be repected. But it's one of those issues where the experts seem unable to agree.

    Your body might be remarkably well adapted to "telling you it wants fluid".  But I'm not sure everyone can sense when they need more fluid - and even more sure that some can't tell when they need it for optimum performance.  I suspect some are very sensitive, and feel thirst when their muscle energy production systems start to be impaired.

    But IMO some people have such drive and determination to make progress, that their bodies don't cry out for water until dehydration is having much more impact. It's something akin to some people having a high pain threshold... is that good, or is that  bad?!

    Personally, I go with the experts who think that you should work to avoid excessive dehydration.  I understand your arguments. IMO, I think the counterarguments are stronger.

  • I am a big believer in drinking to thirst - however the OP isn't drinking at all at the minute..... 

  • I trained for my first marathon this year and did about 6 long runs of 20/22 miles with no water or other drink (although I did take gels). Just made sure I was hydrated beforehand and drank lots afterwards. On the day (VLM) it was hotter than training so I did take water about 4 times from the drinks stations, although didn't drink that much. I'd drink to thirst and not worry too much if you are managing your long runs and feeling ok during them.

  • As a marathon runner I've always been confused about quite how much fluid to take onboard.  Personally, I'm more likely to become dehydrated due to the risk of getting a stitch. 

    However, I didn't realise that athletes who run for more than 3 1/2 hours are at risk of Hyponatremia (low blood sodium) which could be potentially life threatening.

    We are all told to drink plenty of fluid but not given any advice on when to stop!

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