Matt'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.
In the months prior to Berlin, Matt focused on increasing his carb intake during training sessions, and you can see this hard work in this video on the Sweat Elite YouTube channel. As a result, his total carb intake was very similar to his previous marathon in Hannover, and once again Matt reported no GI distress. To average ~98g/h whilst running at ~3:25 per kilometer (5:29 per mile) is very impressive, and is testament to his rigorous gut training which will have helped him maintain high energy levels throughout.
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.
Given Matt’s losses are High (1,249mg/L), nailing his hydration strategy remains important, even when it’s Mild.Learn more
Matt has suffered with debilitating muscle cramps in some of his previous marathons, and was determined heading to eliminate the risk of this being due to sodium depletion. As a salty sweater (losing 1,249mg/L), and with access to the elite runners aid stations (which are positioned every 5km / 3.1 miles in Berlin), Matt chose to use three 200ml bottles with half a PH 1500 Tablet in each to ensure he was replacing a good proportion of his sweat electrolyte losses. After picking them up, he sipped them over a 10-15 minute period so he was never overloading his stomach. Unfortunately, Matt still suffered with painful cramps after ~25km, but as his sodium and fluid intake was solid, it was likely due to one of the other causes of cramp, and Matt will continue to work with the Sports Science team at PF&H to decifer the cause.
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.
As a keen coffee drinker, Matt chose to utilise the performance enhancing benefits of caffeine. His three PF 30 Caffeine Gels and pre-race energy drink meant his intake was within the optimal range recommended by the scientific literature, and his blood caffeine levels would have been sufficiently high from start to finish.
How Matt hit his numbers
Here's everything that Matt ate and drank on the day...
Matt's weapons of choice
Matt'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.