This week, as I ready myself to up the distance on the long runs, I’ve been looking at the various options for fuelling my body.

And with advice ranging from water enhancers and gel packs to beer, jelly beans and Coke, I’m no closer to choosing a strategy!

After a very careful run on an ice rink on Friday I took advantage of a rest day on Saturday to do 30 lengths of the local pool – some of them with a 10-year-old in tow. It was all I could do to keep up.

On a serious note, I was impressed by the Garmin’s tracking here – having told it the lengths were 25m, it kept an accurate record. Makes a change from losing count halfway through. I can see why swimming is highly recommended as a supplementary activity, given the low impact, gentle muscle workout and its relaxing effect.

With no sign of the snow and ice melting, I postponed a one-mile time trial on Sunday and instead took the kids sledging. Just the equivalent of 59 floors climbed, according to Garmin… the boys must have done 159! Later on it felt like I’d done a legs session at the gym.

I don’t think Rosie was too impressed by her dad on this run…

The first half of the week then saw two time trials sandwiching a ‘best effort’ four-miler. I was in my comfort zone here as my best event as a kid was the 1500m (the longest race we ever did apart from cross country). Having said that, I never ran on an uphill athletics track!

That just left an arms strength session yesterday ahead of today’s 10-mile run. In anticipation of upping the mileage, I’ve spoken to a few experienced amateur runners about their approach to hydration.

Sarah Beckman, a public relations executive at RegTech Clausematch, has run in two marathons and five half-marathons – and stresses the importance of hydration and fuel during training long runs and the race itself. 

“Supplements like Gatorade Prime Energy Chews, Gu Energy Packs, or, my favourite, PowerBar Energy Blends – they taste like apple sauce and are super easy to ingest on the go – really make a difference in giving you that extra boost,” is her advice.

“I also really enjoy the water enhancer, LMNT, to drink before and during a run. It’s not sugary like other energy drinks.”


I’ve always been a banana and water kind of guy – although I’ve been known to add glucose to my drink for football – and super-fit Aaron Saxton, director of disruptive learning at UA92, is on board with that.

“Generally, for big runs and races, I pre-load with carbs and liquid the night or morning before,” Sax adds to that advice. “There’s such a range of drink options out there but I find that the glucose sachets just make me go to the toilet a lot! Lucozade is my staple go-to for big races.

“I also take a load of vitamins, including cod liver oil and glucosamine sulphate, which are magical for maintaining good knees and joints for recovery. I also highly recommend paracetamol to ease any aches and pains post-race or big runs.”

Sputnik Digital MD Andy Nicol, a member of the Chorlton Runners, recommends HIGH5 ZERO electrolyte hydration tablets for hot days and HIGH5 caffeine energy gel for runs longer than 10k. 

“Some people use SIS, but I prefer HIGH5, which are more watery and easier to swallow. Gels aren’t cheap though, and jelly beans are just as good!”

He adds: “My go-to is a can of sugary Coke. It has carbs, water, caffeine… and it’s cheap.”

The London Marathon hub for entrants advises water, Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Sport gels. The race is sponsored by Buxton Water and Lucozade, and these will be available on the course. I used to chomp Lucozade tablets before football as a kid – and recover from hangovers at Uni with the drink – so I reckon I’ll stick with that on race day.

A piece by the organisers on what to eat after a run to repair the body highlights 17 foods – and it turns out I’ve eaten nine of these in the last week – eggs, rare beef, salmon, chicken, avocados, milk, green tea, apples and non-alcoholic beer, if you’re wondering.

It claims that 0% beer contains powerful antioxidant phenols, citing a German study which showed runners who were given it for three weeks before the Munich Marathon suffered less inflammation afterwards than a placebo group.

It recommends Erdinger Alkoholfrei, pretty much my favourite pretend beer. That ‘isotonic’ claim on the label has finally been explained…

Try telling this to Joshua Hammond, senior account manager at Social. During a chat this week where I mentioned I was on Dry January – and possibly Dry Marathon, with the exception of a couple of special occasions – he told me about a period where he also abstained from the booze.

“Afterwards I found I could enjoy a casual drink in moderation… the biggest problem was that non-alcoholic beer is awful!”

He needs to get on the Shipyard Low Tide…

Over the next few weeks this column will include advice from experts in areas such as nutrition, training performance and psychology – and naturally tech will be running through it all. If you have an anecdotal or expert contribution to make – or know someone who does – get in touch at [email protected].

You can sponsor Jonathan’s London Marathon run, supporting his chosen charity DEBRA, at this page.

Week 1: How hard can the London Marathon be?

Week 2: Running in the snow (& Peaky Blinders)