I suppose that, like me, a lot of people ask the same question: is it necessary or not to make use of any supplement in case of long runs?
Dr. Saliha, an endocrinologist, partner of this blog, Sport & Health, explains that in races that the distance to cover is not very long, supplementation is not always required.
What will determine the use of supplements is not only the number of kilometers covered, but also the level of physical activities of the runner.
Sometimes this same runner of small distances has a heavy training schedule and, in many cases, supplementation is eventually required.
Supplementation for runners contributes to increase the level of glycogen in the muscles, and decreases muscle catabolism, that is, it prevents the body to use the muscles as an energy source. In addition to that, supplements that are used during the race, either gel or isotonic drinks, provide the athlete with electrolytes (minerals) lost through sweating and provide the glucose, which is essential to provide energy for high intensity exercise.
During the race you can consume the carbohydrate gel with water or sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc).
The most important thing is the athlete’s self-knowledge. He or she must realize and observe which of the two supplementation for longer races makes him or her feel better.
Any person, during the exercise in general, can use of the additional supplements. But those who have diabetes should seek advice as to the amount of carbohydrate intake during this type of activity.
On the eve of the race it is recommended that you have a good night’s sleep and a diet rich in carbohydrates, for energy.
Another tip is that one should not rush out like crazy as soon as the race starts. Because the vast majority of marathon and half marathon runners are not there to compete with each other but to overcome their own limits.
Focus on yourself and run your race, not on somebody else’s . (Good advice, right? Lol).
The phrase, “feeling thirsty, drink water” is true for marathoners. Of course that in sunny days and heat, fluid intake should be higher than on cooler days. But never mix the gel with isotonic. Your race may go from restroom to restroom. Do not do that! For those who want to buy the gel, a tip from Dr. Saliha is a gel with D-Ribose, which is a carbohydrate of rapid absorption, but which does not generate insulin peaks. Insulin is a hormone related to glucose transport. However, insulin spikes during a race generate tiredness and fatigue. Have you ever noticed how we get sleepy after lunch? It is because (also) the insulin peak.
What time should a person start ingesting carbohydrate gel? Carbohydrate gel doesn’t need to be used in races or activities with periods of less than 1 hour duration. After 1 hour of exercise, you can start using the gel. Ideally, you should use the gel and drink water because some athletes complain of nausea and abdominal discomfort after eating it. This happens because all the blood in the body is being better directed to the intense exercise and not for digestion. In this case, water facilitates the transit of food and its absorption during exercise.
Do not panic and run your race. Run at your own pace and in your own time. If you have been preparing for it for some time, your body will be perfectly conditioned for the activity. Of course, to get prepared it is necessary to include a good food intake throughout the preparation. And just the fact of running such a high mileage is a victory.
Let’s do it!