This installment is going to be about nutri... WAIT! I can't even spell that word without laughing a little! Those of you who know me well, know that nutrition really isn't my thing! I mean, one of my beliefs is there simply is NOT enough restaurants with tater tots on the menu, and I don't eat fruit, except for olives and peppers! So, I'm not going to pretend to be a nutritionist and tell you what to eat. I will, however, share a couple of things I learned while training for this marathon.
The first is a no brainer! YOU HAVE TO EAT! What I mean by that, is I think dieting while training for a marathon is not the best idea. Calories are energy, and when you're burning a few hundred every run, you have to replenish. Now, how you do so, is totally up to you, but try to do so within a couple of hours. The quicker you can get those carbs, fats and proteins back into your system, the quicker those fatigued muscles can recover! My method, a recovery drink like GU Brew Recovery that will absorb into those cells quickly, and then, for whatever reason, I crave a good burger, especially after a long run!
While I'm on the subject of long runs, it's obvious long runs are on the training schedule to get your legs, body and mind ready for the big day, but remember, they are also on the schedule to help develop a nutrition plan. This part is something I have never done properly, until now! In the past, during a long run or bike ride, I'd just take a GU when I felt like I needed it, but what I didn't realize was by the time I felt like I needed it, I was too late. The dreaded bonk had already started and there was no coming back! There were three things I focused on before race day. 1. The night before, 2. The morning of, and 3. During the race.
1. The night before. You've heard it a million times! CARBO LOAD! While I think carbo loading isn't a bad idea, I think a balanced diet is a great idea. If you can stick to a 40-30-30 diet plan or something similar, you're probably "carbed" up. I suggest picking something, maybe a favorite, low in fiber, not too heavy, and low on the grease or oil. Most importantly, don't over do it! My first college coach had a saying. "Stuffed is Stupid!" I had to learn this the hard way during this training block. Let's just say, I was wearing a $60 pair of socks that morning, and I lost one!
2. The morning of. I don't know about you, but I HATE getting hungry during a long run! So, it only makes sense to me that you have to eat something to try curb your hunger. During training, I tried to eat granola bars and/or GU Chomps before the run, but both were not substantial enough to keep me full for a two and a half hour to three hour run. For race day, I decided to, DUM, DUM, DUM!!!, break the first rule of marathoning and do something different on race day! I had a bagel with peanut butter about an hour an a half before the start! I am so happy I did!! I didn't get hungry throughout the race, and I think just that small "meal" helped keep me from getting sluggish toward the end!
3. During the race!! I needed the most help with this one!! So, what did I do, as I mentioned in the previous post, I used my resources! I started asking customers, fellow runners on training runs, and some local coaches what they do during the race. I knew I was going to use GU, since that was what I had practiced with and used for years, but I wasn't sure how many and when. I first figured I was going to be out there no longer than three hours and fifteen minutes, finger crossed! I then figured that after an hour and a half, that glycogen storage may be tapped and muscles may start to burn other things producing lactic acid and causing fatigue. Lastly, GU's website recommends using one every 30 to 45 minutes. I came up with the plan to take one at 1:15 to be in my system before 1:30, another at 2:00 and the last one at 2:30 to hopefully get me to the finish! The plan worked like a charm!
I'll sum up with this! I think it's a good idea to treat every long run as a dress rehearsal! You have to be aware of how your body responds to when you eat, what you eat, and how you sustain energy throughout the run with GU or whatever you choose to use! A proper training program gives you time to figure it all out, so experiment and use what you discover to develop a plan!