Nutrition NOOB:

As I finished my last long run this morning, a 21-miler around London, I parked my arse on a park bench and wrote this tweet:

Ten minutes later, after nearly blacking out, I’d had to call my ex-girlfriend to bring me some chocolate and then give me a lift the half-mile home. This has happened to me before, two years ago during the exact same run (the final long run before the taper to the London Marathon) and you’d think I’d have learned a thing or two. Apparently not. What had actually happened was this.

Maxifuel's Viperboost gels

Maxifuel's Viperboost gels

This last long run was a chance to test my nutrition strategy for the marathon. Apparently, the average number of gels consumed during a marathon is around 5. On the advice of a few colleagues (all marathon veterans) I’d taken one gel after an hour, and another gel every 30 minutes after that. On a target time of 3:30:00, this works out pretty well (the last gel at 3 hours seeing me through to the finish). But during today’s run, I’d only taken three gels with me (don’t ask me why). So having taken my last gel at the 2 hour mark, I was running a further 48 minutes to finish at mile 21. This, coupled with my quickened pace this year, meant that 10 minutes after I’d finished my glucose levels were dangerously depleted.

It was a bit of a downer to the day really. I felt like a total noob, sitting there with no cash on me to buy some sweets and gingerly dialing for help. Thankfully I was close to home and had my phone on me. I didn’t even have my travel card (follow your own advice Barnard, you idiot). And if you think that is bad enough – going on a 21-mile run without cash, an Oyster card or sufficient nutrition – wait until you hear this. I’m diabetic! Mam, if you’re reading this, put the car keys down.

Thankfully, I have figured out which gels I’ll be taking during London (having experimented with god-knows how many others, like Lucozade, Powerbar and Mule Bar). Maxifuel’s Viperboost gels are, for want of a better expression, the shizz. They’re the perfect consistency and go down almost like a sports drink, unlike Lucozade’s viscous Body Fuel gels that are given out during London (that you almost have to chew). And unlike a lot of other gels, I don’t want to gag when I take them. Plus I can actually feel a benefit from taking them. Before I finished today’s run I’d felt surprisingly spritely, and managed a very consistent 8-min/mile pace. If I can manage this on 22nd April, I’ll be a very happy man.

Three weeks and it’ll all be over again. :-(

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