I’m not sure it is a good idea to discuss my limited understanding of marathon physiology with Ryan, but here goes anyway….
It’s true that there is obviously benefit in getting the fueling right. My interest in this point is with the people who focus on this more than they focus on getting in the required training. Without the training, no fueling strategy will help you.
We agree on this point.
With the right training, the right fueling strategy will be the icing on the cake.
I’m not sure I agree with “Icing on the cake”. Your training will support a certain level of performance, but without the right fueling strategy you won’t achieve that level of performance. There probably are many different “right” strategies.
Yes, there probably are different needs but I have seen suggestions that the difference in needs is greatly overstated.
I don’t doubt that the difference is overstated, but I believe that it is real.
Because of the high intensity elites are running at, there is reason to believe they experience as much glycogen depletion as anyone out there. At the lower intensities that most of us run, especially if we are out there for 4-5 hours, we rely much more heavily on fat stores, which are a nearly unlimited energy resource.
I agree that at the lower intensities we rely more heavily on fat. I also believe that the elite’s bodies are better at using fat at higher intensities. That is part of the reason they are elite. How do those opposing factors balance??
Finally, even if slower runners use a greater proportion of fat, they still need glycogen for optimum performance. If they run out of glycogen, they bonk. They are out there longer than elites and their bodies aren’t as good at conserving glycogen.