Malcolm Hicks' scorecard
Tokyo Olympic Marathon
Friday 6th August, 2021
Within recommended ranges
Just outside recommended ranges
Significantly outside recommended ranges
How Malcolm hit those numbers
How Malcolm's hydration and fueling went...
- Malcolm is a professional marathon runner who made his Olympics debut when representing New Zealand at the 2021 Tokyo Games. The race didn’t quite pan out in the way he’d hoped as an injury affected his preparation for the race and he finished in a time of 2:23:12, placing 64th overall
- Malcolm told us: "It wasn’t a great day out for me, with injury issues and minimal running in the week leading into the Olympics. I felt I was much better prepared than my result showed, particularly for the heat."
- Malcolm drank a huge ~1.13 litres (~38oz) of fluid per hour. This is at the upper end of what's considered tolerable for most athletes, even in the relatively hot conditions of Sapporo (average temperature 28°C / 82.4°F with 82% humidity)
- To consume such a volume of fluid, Malcolm has trained his gut in a similar way to how he's trained it to consume more carb (i.e. by gradually increasing his intake through trial and error during training)
- The high temperature and humidity in Sapporo meant that Malcolm's sweat losses were going to be extremely high, so being proactive with his sodium and fluid replacement was going to be key to maintaining performance
- Malcolm used sweat rate data he collected from the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha to inform how much he was going to aim to drink in Japan
Quick Carb Calculator Recommendation
- Malcolm started the day with a carb-rich breakfast ~3 hours before the race started. This was toast with peanut butter and jam, a croissant, some energy drink mix and one PH 1500 tablet (mixed as advised in 500ml / 16oz of water)
- We’d recommend consuming 30g of carbohydrate in the final 30 minutes before a marathon but this is a practice which comes down to an athletes’ personal preference. Malcolm fueled well with a large breakfast prior to the race and this may well have negated the need for a carbohydrate ‘hit’ in the final moments before the race start
- The Quick Carb Calculator recommended Malcolm should aim to consume between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (g/hr), although it’s not uncommon to see elite athletes of Malcolm’s ability tolerate more than 90g per hour
- His overall carb intake across the marathon was ~63g/hr, hitting 72g/hr during the first 21km and tapering his consumption slightly (~56g/hr) in the second half of the race. He met his carbohydrate needs solely through the use of a carb-rich energy drink mix which supplied him with ~20-25g carb at each aid station
- Whilst not uncommon in elite marathon runners, Malcolm's intake of 63g/hr without any GI issues is impressive on 2 counts:
- The mechanics of running can make it harder to consume significant amounts of carb, particularly in comparison to a sport such as cycling which is less stressing on the gut. There's a reason it's called the 'runner's trots'!
- The high heat and humidity Malcolm faced in Japan increased the risk of gut issues because a a greater demand for blood flow coming from the skin reduces blood flow to the GI system
- Overall Malcolm suffered no GI issues and felt that his energy levels were good. He attributed his cramping and slowing of pace to his lack of conditioning in the five days pre-race
- Unfortunately, due to a poor race lead-up with some injury issues and minimal running in the week prior, Malcolm felt he underperformed at the Olympics and that his result didn’t reflect how prepared he was for the heat
- That said, from a fueling and hydration perspective, Malcolm did a great job, hitting a high average carbohydrate intake of ~63g/hr across the marathon
- On top of this, Malcolm was mindful of his sodium and fluid losses in the extremely hot conditions and drank regularly, utilising each available aid station, and making sure that a good proportion of these fluids were sodium-rich
Very little went to plan in this race, with a roller coaster of a last week leading in to race day. But I am proud of my ability to push through the physical and mental challenges to still be competitive on the day, where a large portion of the field had to step off the course and not finish due to the challenging conditions.
Malcolm's full stats
|Carbohydrate (g)||Sodium (mg)||Fluid (ml)||Caffeine (mg)||Relative sodium concentration (mg/L)|
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).