Race Fuelage

Today while lying at the beach, I came across an interesting article in Runner’s World.  I still read RW whether or not it is geared towards the running I want to doI find that you can normally find some interesting articles in any magazine and who doesn’t love to learn more knowledge about running. 

One of the little blurbs that I wondered about (and somewhat have for a while) asked Miles the following:

What did Runner’s fuel with in longer races before all these fancy gels/GU/Gatorade/ect?

Maybe I (personally) was looking for a mystical answer-I don’t know.  They essentially said they got through marathons and such WITHOUT any sort of fuel and LITTLE water. 

Champ status? 

Maybe.

It got me thinking to my evolution of running and my reliance on gels and Gatorade and such.  (Keep in mind-I have never run a marathon.)  My longest training run was unplanned and 18 miles and unfueled).  The first and only 5k I ran in high school (for funzies and because the gym was closed on thanksgiving ), I needed water at both water stops.  I was going to die if I didn’t.

Die I tell you, die.

Took me a while to dig this beauty up but here you go and yes I did run in abercrombie sweat leggings. Judge me-I dare you.

I proceeded to take water from most water stops at local 5ks (they don’t have them during cross country races…rude) .  During my first cross country season -I realized that I could save about 30 seconds per stop if I didn’t take the water.  I would literally stop-shoot the breeze with the people, drink and go.. Then when I realized I could finish not only a collegiate 5k but a 6k with no water breaksmy mental block of needing the water was released.

Then I moved into my love of half marathons in the Spring after proper training (2011).  Now keep in mind this is just my personal liking, but  I never felt like I needed a gel at mile 6-7 as most people did.  I kept a gel with me and normally took it around mile 10.  The thing is though-I have never really bonked out of a race either so I don’t quite know if the gel helps me or not.

So that is how all three of my half marathons went.  Gel at mile 10.  Water at most of the fuel stops that I was close enough to grab some.

Then at my 20k (12.4M)-I got to the race and realized…

I didn’t have any power gels.  It was close to a half distance and I needed these gels to survive.  Without the gel-god knows I would peel over and die right at mile 10.01.

But that never happened and I ran my way to a great time.  (so anti-climatic I know but I didn’t even think about the gel)

So although I think gels are handy-I don’t really think I’ve mastered the trick to using them or Gatorade very efficiently.  I have really gathered my thoughts on the amount of gel and fuel that is needed for a race and I understand it varies (a lot per person).  I’m curious to hear other’s thoughts.

What are your thoughts/opinions of fueling during races?