Wellington Marathon Nutrition
Congratulations for signing up to the Wellington Marathon! What an awesome challenge. If you haven't already, please check out my marathon nutrition overview , however in this article I aim to shed a bit of light on the specific nutrition requirements of the Wellington Marathon.
Nutrition and Training for the Wellington Marathon
First of all, training for, and participating in, a marathon is a huge undertaking, so to ensure all that hard work does not get wasted, it makes sense to control the controlables. Nutrition is largely within your control, and following a good nutrition plan from training through till race day can make a huge difference to your overall success.
You will want to follow a nutrition plan which:
Keeps you healthy so you don’t miss training sessions
Supports the goals of each training session
Optimally fuels your key training sessions so that training quality is high and you maximise fitness gains
Supports “metabolic flexibility”
Builds towards your event day nutrition plan so you know that your event day plan is going to work perfectly.
Optimise recovery so you are not a zombie and you have energy for the rest of your day.
Wellington Marathon Event Day Nutrition
7:30am (you must be there 45 minutes prior though)
Nutrition Consideration: You should have your pre-event meal 2 hours prior to the start time, so at 5:30am.
This should be something that you are familiar with and know you tolerate. I recommend practising several training sessions on this schedule, i.e. eating the meal you plan on having on event day at 5:30am, and starting your training session at 7:30am.
Traditional sports nutrition guidelines suggest a meal high in carbs, low in protein and fat, such as cereal, however the most important thing is that you like it and feel comfortable with consuming it prior to exercise.
Number of aid stations: 10
Location of aid stations: Every 4-5km.
Aid station fluid: R-Line
Aid station fuel: None provided.
Special Drinks: A personal drinks service will be available for Full Marathon entrants only whereby personal drinks/gels etc can be taken to the Shelly Bay aid station (pass 4 x), or Scorching Bay aid station (pass 2 x). Personal drinks must be dropped to the Pavilion Bar inside Westpac Stadium no later than 7:00am on race day, clearly marked with Name, Race Number and which Drink Station.
Further notes: Aid station fluid will be in cups on the side of the road. Each cup typically contains about 150mls of fluid.
What all this means
You can get up to 10 x 150mls of fluid from all the aid stations, which is 1500mls. You should have a good idea of how much you drink per hour from training. Multiply this by your goal time for your total fluid requirements.
Your total fluid requirements minus what you can get from aid stations (1500mls) is what you need to carry with you. You can further lighten the load by arranging for a personal bottle to be left at either Shelly Bay or Scorching Bay aid stations through the special bottle service.
I recommend drinking the sports drink at the aid stations, you can always top up with extra water if you are thirsty, and the sports drink provides valuable carbohydrates. 1500mls of a typical sports drink provides about 100g of carbohydrate. That is 4 gels that you don’t need to carry and eat on the run.
Speaking of gels, studies have shown that the more carbs you have, the better you will perform during exercise. This means that some of your training sessions should be fuelled by carbs, be it from gels, bars, whole food, or a mixture.
How much you have on event day should be an extension of what you have done in training. If you haven’t been having much in the way of carbs during training, event day is not the time to ramp it up and go all in.
If you can build up to having 45-60g of carbs per hour, you will be doing really well and your performance will definitely benefit as a result.
There is no solid fuel provided at the aid stations, so you will need to carry your own. Remember that you get carbs from food as well as fluids.
The Wellington Marathon is being run in August, so temperatures are likely to close to ideal for marathon running. I hardly need to tell you, but it also could be cold and/or rainy, which will mean that your fluid intake can go lower. Remember if you drink less sports drink, you will get less carbs, so it can be a good idea to plan on having some water as a part of your hydration strategy, and this be the fluid that you don’t have if it’s a cold day.
For most of you, it’s game over, the moment you cross the finish line, nothing else matters. However, with a little effort, you can save yourself a lot of pain over the next few days. A good feed of protein, carbs, fluid, electrolytes, and some fruit and veg will help replensih your fuel stores and repair your muscles. If you ensure that you follow good recovery nutrition practises after your longer training sessions, you will get bigger fitness improvements and will be in better shape on race day.
Well done on reading this far! Hopefully by now you will realise the importance of planning your nutrition for both training and race day, and you will formulate an individualised plan well in advance.
Because the amounts of the key nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, water, and electrolytes) vary for each individual, a personalised plan can have a huge impact on your success and enjoyment of the Wellington Marathon.
Trailblazer nutrition has created a Wellington Marathon specific training and event day nutrition plan. Check it out here.
If you have specific nutrition requirements, book an appointment with our sports dietitian, Tom Shand.
Each plan comes with the Trailblazer Guarantee, and as these testimonials show, our plans are highly regarded by those who have used them in the past.
Tom is a highly qualified sports nutritionist, registered dietitian, and weekend warrior. His mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience could be the difference you need to achieve your goals.