Alex's headline numbers
Carbohydrate is the main fuel you burn when racing. Failing to fuel properly is a leading cause of underperformance in longer races.
Unfortunately, Alex developed a slight stitch two hours into the race and skipped his final PF 30 Gel which impacted his overall carb numbers. One potential reason for his stitch might be his high carb intake during the first 70 minutes as he averaged ~120g/h. He was relying on caffeine gels to help him optimise the timing of his caffeine intake, so that he got the full energy benefits during the race, but this also meant he was potentially taking on more carb then he could tolerate. This timing is something to work on further during race simulation sessions ahead of future events.
Taking on board an appropriate amount of fluid and sodium is essential to maintaining blood volume and supporting the cardiovascular effort needed to perform on race day.
Whilst the absolute amount of sodium and fluid consumed per hour is important, it’s critical to consider these in relation to each other. This is known as 'relative sodium concentration' and it’s expressed in milligrams per litre (mg/L). How much sodium you’re taking in per litre of fluid is more important than the absolute amount taken in per hour.
Sweat sodium concentration (mg/L) is largely genetically determined and remains relatively stable. Knowing how salty your sweat is enables you to replace a good proportion of your sweat losses, which can range from 200-2,000mg/L.
Whilst Alex’s losses are on the moderate side, getting his hydration strategy right is still important if he wants to perform at his best.Learn more
While Alex didn’t take any electrolytes during this race, he did effectively preload with PH 1500 electrolytes before the race to make sure he would arrive on the start line optimally hydrated. Because he was only on the course for two hours and eighteen minutes in fairly mild temperatures, he didn’t feel as if he was losing enough sodium in his sweat to impair his performance and so didn't supplement fully in line with his sweat test result. Alex's moderate sweat rate in Berlin meant his fluid losses couldn’t accumulate enough to negatively affect his run either, which means he likely finished in a fluid deficit, but no greater than ~2-4% where we typically see performance start to decline. This said, we would still recommend taking some form of electrolytes during a marathon of this intensity to ward off any potential dehydration-related decline in performance.
Beyond the Three Levers of Performance (carb, sodium and fluid), caffeine is one of only a few substances that is proven to improve performance for most endurance athletes as it can help stave off mental and physical fatigue.
Alex hit the higher end of the general scientific recommendations for optimal performance enhancement. As a result, he would have experienced reduced perceived effort and improved focus throughout the run. However, by taking so many PF 30 Caffeine Gels early on in the race (which he did because taking caffiene within 45 minutes of the end would limit the effectiveness and likely wouldn't peak in the bloodstream before the race finished) he compromised his carbohydrate strategy, so removing one Caffeine Gel may help keep his carb and caffeine intake more stable while still utilising the ergogenic benefits.
How Alex hit his numbers
Here's everything that Alex ate and drank on the day...
Alex's weapons of choice
Alex's full stats
There is an adequate level of accuracy in the data collected and the numbers reported. The athlete manages to recall what they ate and drank including most specifics (brands flavours quantities plausible estimations of volumes). However there are estimations made within the data which affect the overall confidence level in the data reported.