Fuelling Strategy

Half past two and I’m finally sat down on the sofa with my feet up, drinking a coffee and eating chocolate rice cakes after scoffing my usual pre-race gluten free pasta. Tomorrow’s the National Marathon Championships in Selkirk…
Routines are good and my pre-race routine is always the same: starting with breakfast – always oats mixed with apple, banana and walnuts – followed by 1.5 hours riding on the course, recovery drink, shower, yoga, lunch, massage (but sadly not today because our team masseuse isn’t here and that’s one thing Dave won’t step in to do!) and then finally some time relaxing with my feet up. Meanwhile Dave’s washing all the mud I collected from the course this morning off my bike and preparing it for tomorrow.
Now I’m sat down planning my race nutrition for tomorrow. The course is 94km and there are 4 feedzones. The weather forecast is awful: rain and 8 degrees, which will probably feel colder with the wind chill. In dry and hot conditions, the race last year took me approx. 3.5 hours and I reckon that it’ll be longer tomorrow because of the muddy conditions. 
Working on the basis of a 4 hour race in cool conditions, here is what I plan to consume: 2.5 litres TORQ energy (150grams of carbohydrates) and 5 TORQ gels (140grams of carbohydrates). In total this will give me 290grams of carbohydrates, equating to 72.5grams per hour. I weigh 52kg so this will give me 1.4 grams per kg of body weight per hour – a nutrition plan I know works well for me. Typically I aim for between 1 and 1.5 grams and a target of 1.4 will ensure that I get well within this range even if I don’t finish all of my bottles. 
Now all I have to do is prepare my race clothes, including spare clothes for the feedzones, because if it’s really cold I might need a dry jacket or gloves during the race.  But I’m kind of hoping that the weather forecast is wrong and that I’ll be applying suncream in the morning rather than warming oil!
Fingers crossed for good luck, warm weather and fun! 
Sal 
(Ed. Since this article was written a few days ago, Sal of course won the National Championships. Well done Sally)