Get Prepared for the Event
As the official sports drink of the Auckland Marathon, Powerade will play an important role in hydrating race competitors on November 2. There are many reasons why a sports drink can be more beneficial than drinking water during exercise. The two main perspectives which differentiate a sports drink from water alone are the additional supply of fuel with the hydration, and the improved absorption of fluid into the body. During the lead up to the Auckland Marathon, we will be providing detailed hydration and nutritional advice via the official event website and these e-newsletters. Stay tuned for more!
In 2006 Powerade launched the Isotonic formulation of Powerade sports drinks, which are designed to be in balance with your body’s fluids to give you fast hydration and energy when you need it most during exercise.
There are many reasons why a sports drink can be more beneficial than drinking water during exercise. Naturally, the primary goal is to limit dehydration, which is known to reduce exercise capacity and potentially increase body temperature. The two main perspectives which differentiate a sports drink from water alone are the additional supply of fuel with the hydration, and the improved absorption of fluid into the body.
Most sports drinks contain several main ingredients: electrolytes (primarily sodium and potassium), carbohydrates, and water. Carbohydrate is the primary fuel source for muscles which are working at a moderate to high intensity (i.e. at jogging pace or faster). Sodium (or sodium chloride, commonly known as salt) helps the body retain fluid more effectively in the cells and tissues. This is particularly important for individuals with high sweat rates, who are exercising at high intensity in the heat, or for a prolonged period of time.
Powerade Isotonic will be available at all of the Auckland Marathon drinks stations (other than the start line). The formulation will be made using the Lemon Lime powder which can generally be purchased at supermarkets throughout New Zealand.
Guidance from the Dietitian - Trailblazer Nutrition
Nutrition can have a huge impact on performance when running a half or full marathon. It is important to realise that endurance nutrition is more than just sports drink and gels on race day. Endurance nutrition has three key pillars, everyday nutrition, exercise specific nutrition, and recovery. Simple changes with each of these pillars will:
- ensures you have the best chance of achieving your goals come 3 November
- optimise fitness gains from training
- prevents illness and injury
Day-to-day diet is the foundation. A nutritious, high quality diet is essential to prevent illness and injury during the increased stress of endurance training. A good diet also creates the optimal environment for the body to adapt and respond to training, enabling you to get fit faster.
To achieve a nutritious diet shop the perimeter of the supermarket for whole foods, and prepare as many meals possible yourself. Focus on, fresh, unprocessed foods, with a balance of carbohydrates, lean protein and plant based fats. Ensure plenty of fruit and veges are mixed in. Meals should include:
- a serve of carbohydrates (the size of your fist)
- a serve of protein (the size of the palm of your hand)
- 1-2 handfuls of fruit or veges.
Utilize the plate model (figure 1: ½ veges, ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates) and modify on heavier training days to match your increased requirements (1/3 carbs, protein, and veges).
Snacks between meals will become more important to stave off hunger. If care is not taken, snacks can be a source of unwanted calories, salt, sugar, and bad fats. So plan snacking in advance. Healthy snacks that contribute valuable nutrients include:
- Fresh and dried fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Crackers with toppings such as avocado, tomato and hummus.
Staying hydrated is simple and there is no hard and fast rule as to how much to drink. Carrying a drink bottle and sipping regularly should do the trick. Monitor your urine, if it’s darker than a ‘straw’ colour, then you probably should be drinking more.
A Trailblazer Nutrition Plan includes a personalized meal plan with quantities of actual food (rather than just nutrients) tailored to individual needs, for various training loads.
Exercise Specific Nutrition
Optimising nutrition during training will:
- increase fitness gains by helping improve quality and intensity of sessions
- improve race day performance by training your gut to tolerate more carbohydrates and fluid, essential fuel for the body.
Just like a Formula 1 car, the body requires fuel, and enough so that it does not run out during a session. Consider carbohydrates as petrol, the predominant fuel when training at marathon or half marathon intensity. Muscles need a steady and reliable supply. Too little will inhibit performance, too much risks gastro upset and impaired training. For more practical ideas, check out the race day section.
Fluid is also important, just like an engine doesn’t want to over heat, the body slows down as internal body temperature increases as a result of exercise. Fluid is lost in the process of keeping us cool, so it must be replaced during exercise. Not enough, training is compromised, too much and risk hyponatraemia.
Generic guidelines for how much you should have are dangerous for fluid and fuel, you must figure out what works for you. Each individual requires different amounts of fuel depending on personal and environmental factors, their session goals, and how they are building towards race day. Following guidelines designed for the ‘average athlete’ or basing your plan off someone else, can slow you down and even prevent you from finishing.
Trailblazer Nutrition’s plans include personalized, practical nutrition strategies for training that are tailored to your unique individual requirements, enabling you to perform optimally in each session.
Race day nutrition is simply an extension of training, and is the subject of Trailblazer Nutrition’s golden rule: Never do something on race day that you haven’t trialed in training. Great British Olympic marathoner Liz Yelling said her most important piece of race advice was “When you stand on that start line you must know your nutrition and hydration strategy…. It’s very personal so you must have practised it in training.”
You must consider the different situation that a race presents compared to training. The Auckland marathon has 10 aid stations approximately 4km apart, each containing water and Powerade. You must have a nutrition strategy based around these parameters. Will the aid stations be frequent enough to meet your requirements? Will you have water or Powerade? How will this effect what gels/carbs you take, when you take them, and will you carry your own personal fluid as well?
Sports drinks are a great way to meet fluid requirements whilst also contributing some carbohydrates, but for many athletes won’t meet your carb needs entirely. Gels and sports bars are specifically designed to be well tolerated during exercise, but bananas, pre cooked potatoes, lollies, and muesli bars can work if preferred. (NB. If not using gels, I would not recommend meeting carbohydrate requirements from a single source of whole food).
A Trailblazer Nutrition Package works with preferred fuel and hydration sources to build a specific, personalized training and race day strategy.
Look out for further information in the newsletters for guidance on the days and hours leading up to the starting gun.
You do not get fitter during training itself. You get fitter during recovery.
Training creates the potential for adaptation (the bigger the training stimulus, the bigger the potential adaptation), but it is during recovery where this potential is fulfilled.
This tells us recovery nutrition is of utmost importance. If you don’t provide your body with the right amount, of the right nutrients, at the right times during the recovery period, you won’t achieve your adaptation potential, and your hard work in training will be wasted.
In fact you shouldn’t consider your training session over until you have had a recovery meal (or two).
Protein is needed to rebuild your damaged muscles, and carbohydrates are required to top up your muscle and liver glycogen stores. Again, exact amounts required vary for each individual but some good foods to incorporate into a recovery plan are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Cheese and ham sandwiches
- Flavoured milk
- Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, and other starches
- Lean meat, fish, lentils, legumes, and eggs.
A Trailblazer Nutrition Package provides a personalized recovery plan for various training sessions, with advice extending to the amount of specific food you require, rather than just focusing on nutrients. Trailblazer’s get maximum bang for their training buck while preventing excessive intake.
For further information about recovery nutrition click here.
- Endurance nutrition is important during training, not just on race day
- Ensure a high quality everyday diet – follow the plate model and snack wisely
- Carbohydrates are the weapon of choice during training, top up with sports drink, gels, or whole foods
- A personalized plan will ensure the right amounts of carbs, fluids, and electrolytes to train hard and avoid gastro problems
- Race day nutrition is an extension of training, don’t try anything on race day you haven’t trialed in training.
- Recovery is where the magic happens, consuming the right amount of carbs, protein and fluid after training will allow all the hard work you put in during the session to be converted to fitness improvements.
Final word of advice: Enjoy your training. Running a marathon is an amazing achievement, so savour the challenge.
Keep an eye out for the Trailblazer Nutrition tips that will appear in the newsletters and for further advice purchase one of our personalized Auckland marathon nutrition plans through the merchandise page of the Auckland Marathon website.
other official merchandise
of our event partners