Race with what you trained! (Post 1 of 2)
Disclaimer: I received a kit of Gatorade Endurance Fuel and Hydration products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (Ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.
One of the biggest and most important aspects an athlete has to deal with when training and preparing for an endurance race such as a full marathon is the identification of the fuel and hydration that is going to work best for that individual. Doing so can be quite a challenge because we are all different, so what works great for your running buddies or even a running coach may not work so well for you. It also takes time and a few sessions to determine if the products are truly agreeable with our bodies and metabolisms. Even over time, our systems, goals, environments, and routines change, such as target distances, training locations and climate, etc. and so we can easily find ourselves having to make sure our fuel and hydration solutions still apply in those scenarios.
Our bodies, in particular our gastrointestinal system, can also all react differently to the various ingredients in the products we end up using to help us complete these demanding racing events. Regardless of what you end up identifying during your training cycle as the right set of products for you at that time, the best and wisest approach is to also utilize those same products during the racing event.
This is why you always hear experienced runners and coaches give a key advice to newer athletes: “During the race, do not try anything new or that you have not used during training already and know that it is going to work for you.” Stories abound of people ignoring this wise advice. They have done all their training for months with a particular hydration and fuel product, then decide at the last minute to take on and use an interesting alternative they came across during the race expo. They liked how the product tasted and heard about how some people were experiencing great results with it, to the point where they decided to take a shot with it the very next day on an event they had been planning for quite a long time. In most of those cases, you also hear the other side---how during the race, that product they found so interesting ended up either upsetting their stomach and having the opposite effect of what they were expecting or just simply not giving them that “magic boost” they were hoping for.
It is for this very reason that the thing I have found to be the most positive about the entire Gatorade Endurance line is the fact that they are the hydration and fuel products being used at literally hundreds of major racing events such as the Chicago Marathon and the Rock 'n' Roll full and half marathons in San Antonio. Obviously, it is important that you try them out during training to make sure they will work out for you on race day, but if they do, it can result in a big win all around.
Knowing that what you are training with is the hydration and fuel that will be used during your target race is huge because it not only reduces the variables you'll have to deal with during the competition, but also helps you reach the start line with a much needed level of confidence. When that happens, there is much less stress by not having to think or worry about how to carry so many of a particular gel or fluid because what you have tried and used during your training is exactly the same as will be provided for you all along the course. And less stress on a race can ultimately translate to better results not only in time goals, but also in a much more positive experience in competition overall.