Tokyo Olympic Marathon
Malcolm'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.
By picking up energy drink mix at 8 of the 11 aid stations on course, Malcolm hit above ~70g carb per hour during the first 21km and a slightly lower ~56g/h in the second half of the race. He did well to reach his target of ~60g/h throughout which is a level he knew his stomach could tolerate in the very challenging hot and humid Tokyo conditions. With evidence showing intakes of 90+g/h are increasingly common in elite marathon runners, he may want to increase this level to benefit his performance in future.
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.
With predicted extremely hot and humid conditions, Malcolm used sweat rate data collected at the World Athletics Championships in Doha to inform his strategy. He put together a proactive replacement strategy to keep up with his high losses in Tokyo by drinking between NaNml at every aid station, with PH 1500 interspersed every ~3 bottles to consume a very high fluid intake, surpassing the upper end of what is tolerable for most athletes.
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.
In an attempt to benefit from caffeine's ergogenic effects, Malcolm avoided caffeine in the run up to the race and then took two caffeine tablets (100mg each) during the run.
How Malcolm hit his numbers
Here's everything that Malcolm ate and drank on the day...
Malcolm's weapons of choice
Malcolm's full stats
There is good confidence in the accuracy of the data reported. An athlete feels that the numbers closely reflect what they consumed despite a couple of estimations which may carry some degree of error. The majority of what was consumed is recorded to a high level of specificity (most volumes are known through the use of bottles brands quantities flavours). The numbers are very plausible and align with previous data recordings (if an athlete has collected data previously).