Anytime you are planning for a long distance race, be it a marathon, half marathon, Ironman, half Ironman, whatever it is, when you're going for hours at a time, you're going to have to take in fuel, but you may not know what kind of fuel and how much you should be taking in. Well, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runner's High, we're gonna talk about exactly that. How many calories an hour should you be taking in?
We'll get to the short and sweet answer here and that's gonna be up to 300 calories an hour. So, this is an up to a maximum limit. This doesn't mean yes, always take in 300 calories an hour, but it is an up to. Above that point, there's a lot of research that indicates that you're going to get some kind of GI distress and really that's the indicator of your limit. I personally take in about 250 calories an hour and that's about all I can take in when I'm doing those longer races.
There's a variety of things you can take in for your nutrition during a half marathon or a marathon. Personally, I take in gels for longer races. These are Excel Gel. This is actually a semi kind of not popular gel. It's a mix of protein and carbohydrates. You have to be careful with the kind of protein that you take in and the amount because excess protein can create GI distress. And ingredients wise when you look at this compared to some of the other stuff that's on the market now, you might consider this almost like a trash gel, that it just doesn't have the nice ingredients that you would find in some of the more kind of advanced formulas now.
And admittedly, based on ingredients, based on what's in it, I probably shouldn't be eating it. But here's the important part, it is trying and tested with me. And I tried, I tried goo, I've tried the rock ?? 02:07> version, I've tried stuff from Hammer, I've tried a bunch of different versions, manufacturers, all these different things. For whatever reason, this gel is what sits best with me and makes me feel most energized. So, I continue to use it, despite its kind of trash ingredients.
There are other things you can take in too. There are gels that are solid, so Chomps is one particular version. I don't know what the generic term is for them. You also have to take into account are you drinking any kind of fluid that may have carbohydrates in it, that has to be counted in your calorie count per hour. So, you have to take into account all of those things.
What's important though, is much like I just mentioned, try a bunch of things out. Try different flavors, try different formulas, see what is going to work best with you. All of our gut microbiomes are a little bit different and they're going to handle things differently. If you want to know more about gut microbiomes at the end of this episode, I will link to my interview with two different researchers on the Amart Athlete Podcast, where we talk about gut microbiomes and ultra running, they're both studying those things.
The other thing to keep in mind with your consumption of food during a race is your sweat rate. So, you are going to be taking in liquids and that is going to have in calories, but you can't forget that it's important to take in a certain amount of electrolytes to replace what's being lost. This helps your muscles continue to function.
I actually do a video on sweat rate and how to calculate your sweat rate which helps inform you how much you should be taking in via liquids instead of gels in another video, since I'm going to be looking linking to those episodes with Dr. Matt Laye and Dr. Greg Grosicki on gut microbiomes. I cannot add a third link I don't think. So, subscribe to the channel, hit that button in the bottom right hand corner. Go check that out if you want to know about sweat rate.
So, as I mentioned, up to 300 calories an hour is your solution for marathon and half marathon, eating and fueling. But try these things out on a long run, on a tempo run, somewhere during training so you know what sits well with you, what makes you feel energized, and what is going to be the best option for you to take in during a race. So, if you want to check out those episodes of the Smart Athlete Podcast with me, click on the links that should be popping up on the screen right now. And I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.