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  1. #1
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    XC Endurance Race Nutrition

    Hi!
    So i know this question has been already answered many times, but it has so many different answers that i am lost.

    In 3 weeks i have 160km XC Marathon race followed by 250km race few weeks after that. I need to know what to eat and drink while riding.

    Do i rely only on gels and isotonic drink? How much of that stuff should i take and when? What brand etc. 2gels and 1/3 of gatorade per hour would be ok? Followed by half liter of water per hour? Do i take a banana sometimes instead of gel or some other food?
    Also, while on shorter marathons(under 4 hours) I can get by just on few gels, banana and pure water, on longer rides I get hungry for real food. Now, on this race we gonna have 2 feed zones with pizza and pasta, how much of that stuff should I eat, if any?

    Also, prerace food? What actually works ok for me when going on longer non race rides is pizza night before, and 3eggs omlet and smoothie with 2bananas and some strawberries mixed with little oatmeal in morning, 2 hours before ride. Should i eat that or something else?

    Any help would be really appreciated!
    And sorry for bad english, non native speaker



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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by markec123 View Post
    Hi!
    So i know this question has been already answered many times, but it has so many different answers that i am lost.

    In 3 weeks i have 160km XC Marathon race followed by 250km race few weeks after that. I need to know what to eat and drink while riding.

    Do i rely only on gels and isotonic drink? How much of that stuff should i take and when? What brand etc. 2gels and 1/3 of gatorade per hour would be ok? Followed by half liter of water per hour? Do i take a banana sometimes instead of gel or some other food?
    Also, while on shorter marathons(under 4 hours) I can get by just on few gels, banana and pure water, on longer rides I get hungry for real food. Now, on this race we gonna have 2 feed zones with pizza and pasta, how much of that stuff should I eat, if any?

    Also, prerace food? What actually works ok for me when going on longer non race rides is pizza night before, and 3eggs omlet and smoothie with 2bananas and some strawberries mixed with little oatmeal in morning, 2 hours before ride. Should i eat that or something else?

    Any help would be really appreciated!
    And sorry for bad english, non native speaker
    Your english is better than most Americans' so don't worry.

    Everybody is different. I have what I do and why, but that won't necessarily be applicable to you and your particular needs.

    You have asked for a lot of information here. Be aware that it's hard for even coherent people to provide a coherent answer to so many questions.

    Some people have iron stomachs and can eat most anything and be fine. Others, like myself, fight with solid food when we're really working. I use Tailwind. Unless I'm not going to start until mid-morning or later, I don't eat any solid food on race day until I'm done. I have years of experience with TW and don't get "hungry" for solid food. I feel hunger if I'm behind on calories, but I don't need something solid to resolve that, just need to catch up on my intake.

    Here's the most important thing IMO:

    While you are training you are learning about your body. Do NOT try anything on race day that you haven't had extensive experience with during your training. Wanna see if pizza is OK for you? Bring some pizza on a training ride, hit it hard, eat some pizza, get right back to it like you're racing. Feel good? Guess you're OK with pizza. No? Try something else.

    Training is the time for you to figure this stuff out. Advice is OK, but just because somebody is sure their way is perfect doesn't mean it will work for you. Take advice, but then try things during training. Try things during intense efforts, try them when you're on an all-day pace.

    Nobody here is going to be able to give you for-sure answers for you. Take suggestions, go experiment when training. Don't show up on race day planning a strategy based on no experience.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the answer.
    Well, the plan is to figure this out on training. The problem is, I can't really replicate race conditions fully. No avaliable time, and even if I could, I can't really show up to work next day all beaten up. I know what works for me on rides up to 4-5 hours, but I don't know if that will be enough on 8+ hour race pace ride.

    So maybe you can answer me this, how much calories should I take per hour and what kind? How much canrbs and protein(if any?). I know it's a hard question to answer again, but I need some guidelines. In other topics and online I found various answers, ranging from 100-300 calories per hour, different amounts of carbs. And I am worried about bonking after riding for that long. Or puking after taking 5 gels an hour

    How much of tailwind do you take on longer rides? Or what about anyone else who is reading this topic?
    I know I am different and I have different needs, but it would be great if I could get just some basic guidelines to follow and experiment on.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by markec123 View Post
    ... how much calories should I take per hour and what kind? How much canrbs and protein(if any?). I know it's a hard question to answer again, but I need some guidelines. In other topics and online I found various answers, ranging from 100-300 calories per hour, different amounts of carbs. And I am worried about bonking after riding for that long.
    During a hard effort, your body can take up 200-300 calories/hour. You will be burning more than that, but your body takes that out of glycogen stores and fat (if you are fit and have taught your body).

    Protein is a big area of controversy. Tailwind's philosophy is that you don't need protein, and that your body has to work way too hard to get any usable calories out of protein. Read this for their philosophy:

    Why Tailwind

    I personally consume about 250/hour, but I'm big (6'1" 200 lbs). One of the good things about calories dissolved in the water you need to drink anyway is that the calories keep trickling in. If you use gels or solid food, you have to remember to keep them coming, it's a relative hassle to eat them without stopping so sometimes you might skip too much time and risk bonking.

    As of now, with a fairly short amount of time before your events, you may want to plan to stick with what you have been doing. Or start right away experimenting with something else. Or just realize that you need to learn about your body and how to feed it, and perhaps it's worth the risk to use events to experiment. When I was trying to figure out my nutrition over the last 15 years, I did spoil a couple big events by going with a nutrition experiment that failed. As you say, you can't really replicate the experience of racing during your training. Sometimes what works during long training rides just doesn't cut the mustard for a marathon race.

    Good luck, feel free to keep this thread going.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

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