A Ferrari and a Beetle both run out of fuel halfway through a race, which one is going to win?
From the best athletes in the world to back of the packers, probably the worst thing that can go wrong in an endurance race, apart from breaking a leg, is to suffer from gut trouble. Apart from dealing with the pain and discomfort, you will also be struggling to take in nutrition which will create further challenges. I have always found that as long as my body is has sufficient fuel and hydration, I can still push through the muscle pains and fatigue.
Fortunately sports science has been able to take most of the guess work out by providing us with very accurate guidelines on the whats, hows and whens of re-fueling and re-hydrating during endurance events. However, each of our bodies remains unique and it is therefore important for you to discover and refine your own personal nutrition strategy. This takes some experimentation and rehearsal so don’t wait until the week before the race!
Start now already to practice what you will be doing nutrition wise on race day. Practice during your training sessions and build up races. This is what I call “Training your gut”. Experiment under different conditions, different effort levels, weather conditions etc. as these will affect your intake requirements. Getting used to a pattern in training will also make it easier for you to remember what to do on race day. Your instincts will be sharp!
The other important exercise you need to do is to spend time going through what to do if things do go wrong. Maybe you miss an aid station, or your stomach reacts differently to normal or it is hotter than normal. Have a plan in place to overcome different scenarios so that when they do occur, you are able to recover and conquer.
Good luck with the week’s training!