How much water should you drink after taking an energy gel?
It’s important to drink water any time we consume any type of calories when we run. For example, if you’re taking a gel that has 100 calories, you need to also take 100 ml (3.3 oz) of water to chase it down. That does not include the normal hydration needed per hour just to stay hydrated, which could be another 16 to 20 oz of water—sometimes more—when it’s hot. Fluids are necessary to stay hydrated. When you take a gel, chews or any form of calories, be sure to also get 100 ml water.
What are your tips to avoid GI distress in an ultra?
Practice your nutrition. Don’t do anything new on race day. Be aware of where your nutrition is coming from on race day. I rely on bringing my own nutrition with me versus getting too creative at aid stations and trying new stuff. Maybe you had too much or not enough sodium or the wrong calories. Stick to the plan. Research shows if you practice your plan and try to execute it, the chances of you having a successful race go up drastically. Leave nothing to chance. That’s my number one recommendation.
Again, every race is different like people are different. Tailoring your plan to the race is important. Keep in mind that like your muscles and heart are trainable, so is your gut. So preparing ahead of time and putting that nutrition plan into practice weeks before will make your nutrition plan on race day so much easier. On race day I make an effort never to think about nutrition. It’s on autopilot.
When GI distress does happen, backing off on effort is my next tip. The harder we work out, the less blood flow there is going to the digestion process. You’ll need to back off on your pace, lower the intensity and focus on hydration until your stomach calms down. Usually, people focus so much on calories in that they forget to chase it with the proper amount of water.
Finally, go for foods that are simple. I focus on the concept of “eat like a baby.” Don’t get too creative. If you end up drinking too much and get a sloshy stomach back off on the fluids and switch to solids. Keep the variety going and continue to problem-solve. Don’t rush through aid stations. Taking your time will help tremendously.
By Kate Schwartz. Schwartz has been running competitively for 20 years, and she currently runs with the Asheville Running Collective. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, Alex, and their cat, Clementine.