02.01 2016

Marathon Hydration

As I started my buildup to the Olympic Trials Marathon, I decided I was going to do everything I could to be the best athlete I could be on February 13.  I revamped my training, I started spending a lot more time doing pre-hab, and I completely overhauled my diet.  There was also one more step I took to make sure that I would be the best athlete I could on race day, I started seriously honing in on my hydration and nutrition in competition.

The Olympic Trials will be my 9th marathon, and by now you’d think I’d have my race nutrition down pat.  But in reality, I’ve never taken it that seriously.  I would practice for a few key long runs, but I never really dialed in on my own personal formula or practiced it with great consistency.  I decided that this time would be different.

I called in the assistance of Vishal Patel whom I met because he works at Nuun Hydration and they support me in my running adventures.  Vishal has the education to answer any questions I had and we first started talking marathon nutrition back in 2014.  But it was the summer of 2015 where we started getting serious.  I wanted to be an expert and know exactly what my body needed and when.  I wanted to practice it all fall and winter so that when I stepped to the line in LA, I had no worries about what I was going to be drinking during the race.

Vishal helped me to build up my tolerance for carbs and volume of liquid.  We slowly built it up over time and now we have a formula that works great.  It has worked on long repeat sessions and over-distance runs.  And the best news is, my stomach has tolerated it well and I have felt stronger and fresher at the end of these workouts than I ever have before.

Over the past 6 months I have consumed an enormous amount of Nuun and Plus for Nuun, along with gels.  One thing that Vishal helped me to do that I had never done before, was prime my body with my formula the night before a hard session and again 2-3 hours before.  I had never done that in the past, but now it has become second nature and I have found I feel so much more steady and on top of my runs.

Race Prep and Fuel

My Custom K.G. Water Bottles and My Pre-Race & Race Day Fuel

This week I saw a local sports doctor who wanted to analyze my race day nutrition to make sure that I was getting in the proper amount of carbohydrates and hydration in my race.  He looked over the plan that Vishal and I have developed, crunched some numbers, and concluded that it was perfect.

So when you see me drinking from my bottles on the streets of LA on February 13th, you know I’ll be drinking my formula of two Plus tablets and a Nuun Active tablet and my gels.  I will have consumed it the night before and again three hours before the race.  And I’ll be confident in that choice, since I have been practicing and building with it since July.  With all the things that you have to worry about in a marathon, I’m glad my race nutrition won’t be one of them!


  1. Caroline bolduc on February 9, 2016 11:30 am said:

    Hi Kara,
    I’m also training for a marathon but this is my first one yikes! I’ve done 1/2 distances and shorter races and have only had success with sport beans and water with my long runs so far. Are you planning on running with your own hydration during your race? And which gels have you had success with? I would love to try your regime if your willing to share!
    Thx for your time
    Caroline Bolduc 🙂
    – aspiring Canadian runner and mother of 2!

    • I use nuun with nuun plus in my water bottles and use GU as gels. Good luck! -Kara

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