Cam Levins broke the Canadian marathon record yesterday, running 2:09:25 to break Jerome Drayton’s 43-year-old record by 44 seconds. The lead pack went out quickly, but Levins was patient and ran a perfectly paced race, maintaining consistent splits through the entire 42.2K.
I started craving sweet tea for my 12 hr WR. They got me some within 5 min, and it fueled my last 2 hrs! Hit the spot! 👊👊
— Camille Herron (@runcamille) October 21, 2018
What was Levins’ nutrition of choice for his race? Country Time Black Cherry Lemonade, as it turns out–no fancy hydrogels for this guy. Trent Stellingwerff, physiologist and Director of Performance Solutions at the Canadian Sport Institute, said Levins chose the drink because he loves the taste, and it met the carbohydrate requirements for his race. “The basics of sports drinks are having a glucose-fructose blend, and being sure that the athlete enjoys the taste, to prevent flavour fatigue.” Stellingwerff also highlights the importance of practicing with the drink beforehand.
However, Stellingwerff stresses that race-day carbohydrate intake only accounts for the final one to two per cent of performance. “That 98 to 99 per cent is coming from Cam’s genetics, training ethic, injury status and pursuit of excellence.”
Race day nutrition is about enjoying what you’re taking in, and ensuring that you’re getting enough. The Levins model is evidently effective, and shows that you don’t need anything special on race day, just what works for you.