When it comes to following a training plan, regardless of distance, it is likely that you will want to tweak it to best fit your personal goals and life schedule. For any given training plan I’ve ever followed I almost always make a couple adjustments here or there to fit my schedule and comfort level. One area of a training plan I almost always ‘make my own’ is the day before the long run. Continue reading
When I first started getting into distance running I struggled to get through runs more than eight or 10 miles and after 13 mile runs I was tired and essentially useless for the rest of the day. After lamenting over this to a running mentor, I got my first insight into proper fuel and wrote about fueling up for long runs. Like so many things in running, figuring out the proper fuel, involves a bit of trial and error as well as practice. Three years later I’m still trying to figure out the best fuel formula for me.
One of the things I have enjoyed most about having run a marathon is how much I learned along the way. I am very aware that I have barely scratched the surface of most topics related to running and training and I find it encouraging that there is always something new to learn about the sport. Part of running is science and understanding how the body works and how all the muscles work together, and part of running simply personal and figuring out what works best for you.
Considering I was able to finish the marathon, I think it’s safe to say that not that much went wrong, but there are certainly some lessons learned from this first experience and some things I will do different next time. I’ve mentioned before that my running friend and I took a 16-week plan and crammed it into nine weeks. Definitely lesson number one. Continue reading
There is no question that individual runners and athletes will find the diet, routine, and training that works best for their own goals, pace, and body type. An interesting debate on Complete Running leads me to believe that there are two ends to the “what to eat and how to fuel” spectrum and the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. Seven-time marathoner, Mark Iocchelli, argues the less is more angle to fueling up for running and depends solely on his body’s pre-stored glycogen and a few swigs of water to power through long runs and marathons.
Iocchelli’s standpoint is strongly argued by Steve “Runner” Walker, a 19-time marathoner who treats each marathon as an “experiment of one,” a mindset that I can relate to. Each race is slightly different and you learn from each one what works best for you from food to shoes to pace, etc. I found Steve’s spaceship analogy a little over the top, but his basic argument is that less is not enough when it comes to fueling up for long runs. Since we do not normally go out and just run 26.2 miles our bodies are not prepared to fuel us accordingly on a whim. It takes training but also, according to Steve, replenishment of fuel stored to avoid hitting the wall during a long run.
Thomas Bubendorfer rounds out the debate with more of a nutritional focus and I think helps set the tone that defining your marathon, training, or overall healthy diet will depend on many of your own personal goals and preferences. What camp do you fall in: fuel-free or fill ‘er up?
I look forward to learning from my own first marathon what routines work and don’t work, but I can safely tell you this–I know I will be downing at least one pack of Gu and plenty of water along the way.
For the last few weeks I have been dabbling lightly with the best pre-run routine for long Sunday runs. I’m acutely aware of the need to fuel up before heading out but I’ve also become more in tune with the amount of time it takes for my body to wake up and go through its own routines.
I’ve tried drinking coffee, not drinking coffee, not having breakfast, having light breakfast, and drinking lots of water regardless of the rest of the routine. I believe I’ve finally found something that works (thanks in part to the oatmeal suggestion from @crossn81). Part of the trick to the long run recipe is to start the day before.
Knowing ahead of time that I would be burning well over 1,000 calories on my 20 mile run, I let myself indulge a little on Saturday. In addition to high fiber banana bread for breakfast and a well-endowed PBJ sandwich for lunch with sides of carrots and dip plus a granola bar, I enjoyed some mid-afternoon hot chocolate to fulfill a sugar craving and also keep the calories flowing. Dinner was high in protein and veggies with chicken stir-fry and I downed a bowl of kettle corn popcorn while watching a chick flick later. Saturday also including drinking lots of water. The rest of the recipe? Continue reading