Photo Chris Lawrence (runnersworld.com)
Lots of us woke up early (or stayed up late!) to watch the sub 2-hour marathon attempt by the Nike squad. Kipchoge came up 25 seconds shy of the goal in an obviously well-prepared race. Of course, I watched how it went with the nutrition! And here are the 4 things that I learned.
1/ A pre-race strategy was used, with reports that Kipchoge had a full bottle (0.5 L) of the Maurten hydrogel drink before the race (read my product review). The reports, however, don’t further precise the concentration of the drink nor the pre-race timing.
2/ It was clear that the 3 Nike runners, on the contrary to what happens in IAAF-certified city races, had access to personalised drinks very often in the race. In fact, each of the runners, got a small vial from their crew at each loop, i.e. every 2.4 km. It seems that they have been instructed to drink the full vial, since you could see them carefully emptying the bottle each time. Here is a screenshot of Kipchoge drinking in one of the last loops.
Screenshot from Nike official footage
3/ Each of the small vial contained 50 mL of the Mix320 PRO drink by Maurten (the Swedish brand providing the drinks for the breaking2 attempt). This led to a total ingested volume of 0.9L, which corresponds to a total of 150 grams of carbohydrates over the whole race (according to Maurten’s info).
4/ If we calculate it, this means that Kipchoge’s drink was a 16% CHO drink. Although it was claimed that each drink was highly individualized, it seems to indicate that Kipchoge used a drink pretty close to the commercially available version (which contains 79g for 500 mL).
To conclude, let’s see how it compares to what happens in a normal race. In the study I was mentioning in a previous post, sports scientists of the University of Glasgow examined the drinking behaviour of 10 elite marathon runners during races (average finishing time of 2:06:31). The study found that these elite runners drank on average during 25.5 seconds in the race, resulting in a fluid intake of about 0.5 Liters / hour. Basically, Kipchoge in his very controlled attempt is close to the average fluid intake in race conditions.
Interestingly, although the study included almost exclusively marathon winners, the fluid intake ranged from as low as 78 mL to more than 2 L. Thus, it indicates that a wide range of hydration strategy may lead to marathon success…
One thing is certain though… It’s probably wiser if you let your competitors finish your beer!
Thanks for reading!
Photo AP (rp-online.de)