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  •   Eating and Drinking on the Run

    Between carbo-loading and post-race spreads lies the marathon. But nobody said the feast can't go mobile. A look at the most common things taken in during marathons:  

      Advantages Drawbacks
    Energy gels Gels supply about 100 calories – roughly the amount burned in a mile of running – of readily available glucose, the sugar that muscles prefer to use while running. This saves the body from using glycogen stores and extends the distance you can run. Pudding-like gels are easy to ingest while running. Can be a pain to open and carry while running. Many slower marathoners don't mind running with fanny packs or other means of toting gels, but many faster runners don't like the feeling of being weighed down.
    Energy bars As with gels, bars supply calories that muscles can easily use, and they have a more satisfying texture. (Most contain about 200 calories.) Nearly impossible to chew without disrupting running rhythm. Carrying them requires fanny pack or other contraption.
    Oranges Taste great, less filling. Easy to eat and give nice feeling of eating real food. An orange slice doesn't supply great amounts of water or energy. More important, the sugar in oranges, fructose, has to be converted to glucose before your muscles can use it, doubling the time it takes before the sugar reaches the muscles.
    Sports drinks When properly mixed, sports drinks can rehydrate you as quickly as water, and they can supply needed energy. For example, 16 ounces of store-bought Gatorade contains 100 calories. If the drink isn't mixed with enough water, the sugar will sit in your stomach rather than quickly reach your muscles, and the fluid won't rehydrate you as quickly as water. Can also cause stomach problems, especially if you haven't tried the drink in training. (Marine Corps is using wild-berry flavored Ultima Replenisher.)
    Water Duh. All the calories in the world won't help you if you become dehydrated, which can occur easily in a marathon even on a cool day. Performance starts to suffer after losing as little as 2 percent of body weight. None, really, as long as you don't ignore taking in calories as well.
    – Scott Douglas

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