How to Train for a Marathon (Part II)

Hydration is important.

Hydrating and Fueling on the Run

Hydration

Nearly all marathons include water and aid stations along the course. If you decide to bring your own water on race day, buy a hydration pack or belt beforehand and get use to running with it. Don’t try something new on race day.

While training, of course, you will be doing lots of long runs without the advantage of aid stations. Several tried-and-true techniques to think about:

  • With a hydration belt or pack, bring your own water 
  • Do long runs on a short loop course, so you can put water in one spot along the way.
  • Plan your long run route to pass water fountains (but during colder months, be sure that they’re turned on).
  • Stash water bottles along your route the evening or morning before your run.

Fueling

You’ve most likely heard about the marvel numerous marathoners experience somewhere around the 20-mile mark, referred to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall.”

Your body can only hold a specific amount of glycogen. It’s your key source of energy throughout the marathon. As this level becomes reduced over the course of your marathon, your muscles will start to feel heavy and tire. While no quantity of fuel consumption during the race can completely replace your depleted glycogen, consuming little amounts of carbohydrates can aid in stopping you from hitting the dreaded wall.

Energy chews or gels are simple to carry and the easiest to digest. However, a fan energy bar or a couple of pieces of fruit can do the trick as well. For any race over two hours, try to take in around 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

As with everything, be sure to try out several types of fuel on your training runs to find out what your stomach tolerates best, so you can fuel with confidence on race day.