I’m glad that this year I feel I’ve got my raceday nutrition sorted, for woe to those that haven’t given it due consideration, cause without adequate fuel, traversing those 90kilometres can become a radically tougher prospect than it should be already.
Get the wrong fuel that doesn’t agree with you over the long distance and a dodgy stomach can also ruin your day.
In my early running days, for marathons and halves, I just went with your typical gels / goo’s. Needing only one per hour, it was a relatively simple equation. Carrying so few was easy and you weren’t going to need to consume enough for the sweetness to really get to you.
Enter a day like Comrades where the goo / gel equation comes into play and you’re going to need to work out carrying and consuming somewhere between 9-12 gels and the practicality / taste both become serious enough issues to deter me.
As an alternative, many advocate nutrition products of the solid variety like you Nak’d / Trek / Clif bars which are great, or better still actual solid food like salted potatoes, Bovril / peanut butter sandwiches as the purists would advocate.
It’s all very personal but I just can’t manage solid food over that long a distance. Comrades is also not really long enough that I think runners must have solid food during the run (not like your 100 milers or other longer distances where getting some ‘proper’ chow is probably essential).
For my first 2 runs I didn’t get it quite right, particularly in my 2nd where I bonked so spectacularly that I went doolally and was off the grid (read non-compos mentis) for about an hour, running with my eyes closed (which somehow felt normal) stumbling across the road not quite knowing what was happening, till a brilliant little voice in the distant recesses of my mind convinced me I needed sugar and so started boshing cups of coca-cola and eventually came to.
My brilliant discovery a year later for Iron Man (the endurance event, not the marvel movie), was a Hammer Nutrition supplement called Perpetuem. I want to be crystal clear that as good as I found Perpetuem to be, it would NOT have helped Tony Stark beat Thanos in Infinity War. It just wouldn’t.
Spending a lot of time talking to various supplement manufacturers at an expo that year, Morne at Hammer convinced me that Perpetuem was an all in one uber-food that only required me to marry my bodyweight to a number of recommended scoops of powder per hour of activity. Then mix those scoops with water and break up consumption over the activity time. Simple. He also pointed out that while it would be in a liquid format, it was not my hydration and that I’d still have to drink as I would.
Did it work? WOW – did it. I used it one 750ml cycling bottle for my 6-hour Iron Man ride and not once during that time did I feel even remotely tired or short of energy. I backed that up with one / two gels during the run and had a super day out.
I used Perpetuem during Comrades 2014, putting enough for the first 4 hours in a bottle I carried and sipped over that timespan, collecting a 2nd bottle at about 50km’s, which I carried to the end. It worked a treat, BUT it was a bit of a mission to carry that bottle for so long.
I was somewhat reluctant to consider anything else – ever, but come ABSA Cape Epic time, I consulted with my younger brother Rob as to what he’d used and he convinced me not to look any further than Meg at Pace and Power. Meg’s products are not available in store, opting instead to operate out of a gym in Sunninghill. Her Endurashake works in much the same manner was Perpetuem, but you consume it once before a 4-hour period (the time for which it lasts), rather than having to consume constantly over that time. Was it good. It was amazing. In not one stage during the entire week, did I ever battle with energy or hunger. I took 2 scoops 45 minutes before the start of each stage, and had 2 scoops waiting for me at water table two, generally between 3-5 hours from the start.
For Comrades I’ll be taking it before the start, at 45 and at 67 where our EasyEquities Born2Run stands are. I’ll be carrying tiny bottles with Meg’s own gel formula between those marks just to keep me topped up and will be hoping I’ll feel as strong as I did during the Epic.