I bet that headline got the attention of my marathon running readers. Didn’t it? Of course it did! You’d be crazy not to be intrigued!
Benjamin Isaac Rapoport has reportedly come up with a formula to ensure that marathon runners never hit the dreaded “Wall” again.
Now before you lump Benjamin with all the other snake oil salesmen out there… keep in mind that Benjamin teaches Endurance Physiology at Harvard Medical School and attends Ph.D. engineering classes at MIT. So he may have some knowledge to bring to the table.
Smarts aside, Rapoport is also an accomplished runner who achieved a marathon PR of 2:55:11 in last April’s Boston Marathon. He’s hoping to improve his personal record to around 2:50 in the upcoming ING New York City Marathon.
His theory focuses around the science behind carbohydrate loading.
“A 154-pound man who doesn’t load effectively will find his glycogen supply stuck at about: 20 calories in the blood, 350 in the liver, and 1,250 in the leg muscles. That totals 1,620 calories. Unfortunately, the same guy needs about 2,900 calories to finish the marathon. Uh oh, big trouble ahead.”
“Yet if this runner loads to the max, he will have: 20 calories in the blood, 650 in the liver, and 2,270 in the leg muscles. That totals 2,940 total calories. Now we’re talking.”
While carbs are important, pacing is another key aspect of his work.
“If you run too hard, your body selectively chooses carbohydrates as fuel and you risk depletion. If you slow a little, your body can burn more fat, sparing some of the glycogen, and you can reach the finish line with no Wall in sight.”
The bottom line is, plug your data into Rapoport’s Running Endurance Calculator (Java required) and out comes all the magic numbers. These include carbohydrate requirements as well as pacing for target, conservative, and aggressive marathons.
With the NYC Marathon so close, I’m not gonna mess with my paces now. However, I might take these numbers into consideration when planning my training for the next marathon.
Check out Runner’s World for more details.