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HomeRunner DailyThe hydrogel feedings that powered Kipchoge

The hydrogel feedings that powered Kipchoge

Claus Henning-Schulke starred in one of the most viral images of Eliud Kipchoge’s record at the Berlin Marathon by taking care of his refreshments in a very passionate way. The German volunteer, who has been helping out at his hometown event since 1998, is an old acquaintance of Kipchoge and was already an important part of his first Berlin record in 2018. That year, the Kenyan recognized the effort of his volunteer friend and rewarded him with his dedicated bib.

On this occasion, Claus again demonstrated his great mastery of a task that not just anyone can do. To begin with, Claus must be knowledgeable of Eliud’s nutritional strategy and with that information plot his own strategy to be available for his athlete at each official refreshment point (located every 5 kilometers). Claus, aided by a bike, must be ready at each aid station to offer the bottle and gels to Kipchoge and skilled enough not to miss the delivery. After offering each refreshment, Claus had to take his bike, overtake the runners and position himself at the next point with enough room to be ready.

The deliveries went perfectly and Eliud Kipchoge was able to have the energy he needed during the race to achieve his record. The supplies were a key factor in successfully completing his feat and behind them lies a revolutionary technology called hydrogel, which is found in Maurten’s products. There are many athletes who use the products of this firm such as Kenenisa Bekele, Mo Farah, Kilian Jornet, Jan Frodeno or the Euskaltel-Euskadi cycling team and they are characterized by the amount of carbohydrates they allow to consume during the race without the need to add liquid. Maurten gels use hydrogel to encapsulate carbohydrates, water and caffeine so that they are released when they reach the intestine. This maintains a sustained energy supply and avoids generating glucose spikes (the intestine is where the glucose receptors are located). To control this whole process, Kipchoge also uses a biosensor from Abbott that allows him to monitor his glucose levels on a daily basis. With this information, Kipchoge can know how often he needs to provide his body with energy to get the best possible performance.

With the gels used by Kipchoge, the product is not digested at the stomach level and the release of glucose occurs 100% at the intestinal level. This allows its effect to be prolonged over time and the stomach does not suffer problems throughout the continuous effort involved in a marathon. Maurten also offers a liquid version (Drink Mix) containing a high concentration of maltodextrin and fructose. When this drink is ingested, the liquid is transformed into hydrogel once it comes into contact with stomach acid, allowing its benefits to reach the intestine directly without losing their effect. With this drink you can reach up to 80 grams of carbohydrates per half liter of water.

As we have explained in previous articles, it is very important to make a specific effort to be successful at the refreshment posts. Eliud Kipchoge, in addition to long runs and series, trains and prepares his body to assimilate as many carbohydrates as possible per hour. With proper training and the help of a nutritionist we can increase our body’s capacity to receive energy and not collapse during the race.

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