Right from the off, the commentators were speaking of the drinks stalls that runners pass during the marathon in order to rehydrate, replenish and refresh themselves. If like me, at first you might have thought that these stalls were just ‘general pit stops’ for the runners to have some water, squash or at best a general isotonic drink, but in actual fact these pit stops have very particular locations (usually around 1-2 miles apart), very precise fluid/electrolyte blends with optimal ratios of carbs, minerals and fluid that mimic the athletes physiological make-up. Missing a pit stop could have very serious implications on the athlete’s performance possibly leading to a glycogen crash, an electrolyte rollercoaster and/or acute dehydration! As important as it is to not miss a stop, stopping at every station would not only bloat you out and waste valuable time, but also potentially result in hyponatraemia (sodium imbalance) which leads to dizziness, nausea and disorientation, and in some cases hospitalisation!
Avoid excessive fluid intake by alternating with gels
Energy gels will have been used by many in the build up to the race or indeed during for many reasons:
- They’re convenient
- Contain optimal ratios of electrolyte, carbs and in some cases stimulants such as caffeine or taurine
- They don’t bloat you
- They are a concentrated source of nutrition meaning you need less each serving
- They deliver a rapidly absorbed source of calories (usually 100kcal per gel)
Athletes/runners regularly opt for energy or electrolyte gels as a means of smashing down that runner’s wall resulting from glycogen store depletion. An energy gel can be removed from a pocket or pouch and squeezed directly into the mouth in a matter of seconds rapidly replenishing glycogen stores and thus glucose for energy.
Let’s keep our eyes peeled for how often the top athletes use the refreshment stalls compared to the amateurs, it might be interesting to see who have done their homework…just be sure to look left and right when crossing for a stall, you don’t wanna be getting run down by a wheelchair now do you (head in hands)!
The strength and unity of the human race
We salute those who have ran the 26.2 miles and admire those who defy the terrorists trying to destroy the unity we as sport enthusiasts and humans share, and we thank those of you that are doing something quite incredible for those less fortunate than ourselves!
Final thought to Boston
Quite apt then that the term ‘Marathon’ is named after a Greek battlefield, to which Pheidippides ran the gruelling 24.8 miles to inform the Greeks of their victory all those centuries ago…I think I speak for everyone when I say that each and every runner competing today personifies this victory, our victory in memory of those that were hurt or died in Boston, and the concerted effort we as human beings are putting in to extinguishing the pointless and senseless fire that is terrorism!