Chasing a sub X marathon time

Chester Marathon Ash HolbrookWe get a lot of feedback from runners but this email has great value to runners who are looking to break their chosen time barrier. Training and kit can get you to the start line but unless you find your ‘sweet spot’ of fuelling you may not get the opportunity to see how fast you really can run.

The following is from Ash who was chasing a sub 3 marathon time:

Just a quick note of thanks.

Obviously, nutrition is a very personal thing. But hopefully, it might encourage folk to try different strategies with their nutrition and get it right.
A lot of people (media) are focussing on the evolution of shoe technology. Yes, they are making a difference, mainly for the top guys and girls. But not a lot of people are looking at nutrition. Gone are the days of having 1 gel an hour equating to 20g carbs. Because of the likes of Mountain Fuel (and your main competitors- sorry!), athletes are now able to take 60, 70, 80, 90g+ carbs an hour! This is having a much bigger impact than a pair of “magic shoes!”
I’ve been using Mountain Fuel products for a couple of years now, and quite frankly I love the whole system!
The last 12/18 months I’ve been training on the roads, so my main Mountain Fuel staple has been centered around the jellies- mainly the Sports Jelly+ (both caf and non-caf) since they were released last year.
In the last 3 months or so, on the build up to Chester Marathon, I worked on my race nutrition. My pre and post race/workout was done, it worked. (Love the strawberry recovery shakes!). But, I hadn’t quite got my ‘during’ fuelling quite right.
A long story short, after playing with different durations on taking the jellies on my long runs; I found my sweet spot.
One caf jelly 10 mins before the start, first jelly (non-caf) 20mins in and then every 25mins after that. All non-caf apart from a caffeinated one at the 2 hour mark.
The previous 2 marathons I’ve attempted, I tried to break the 3 hour mark- ended up running 3:15:04 and 3:01:53.
Finally, last weekend (and wearing a MF vest) I ran 2:55:25.
Of course, you have to train for a marathon! You can’t just turn up and think that taking on some jellies will get round in a marathon in a “good” time.
However, what many fail to recognise is, that you can train well but if you don’t get the nutrition right, you won’t end up with the best results you’re potentially capable of.
Not very long ago, people were led to believe that “hitting the wall” in a marathon was inevitable. That is incorrect. My fuelling strategy worked, with YOUR products, and the wall never came. I’m not disputing that it got hard towards the end, it’s a marathon, it’s meant to be hard!
But there was no big crash and burn that many, including myself in the past, have gone through from insufficient fuelling.
So thanks for making such a good product (the whole system really!).
I’ve got a few trail events coming up over the next 12 months including Tour De Helvellyn, Ultra Trail Snowdonia 50k and Lakeland 50. All of which will be Mountain-Fuelled! I think the only product I’ve not tried are the chia jellies, which will certainly be on my next order!
Keep doing what you’re doing.

Thank you!