The last time I seriously trained for a race was one year ago. I was training for the Divas Half Marathon of the San Francisco Bay Area in Burlingame, CA. I diligently completed weekday short runs and weekend long runs in between studying for tests and working for the newspaper. I PRed and then took it easy on the running front for a while.
This time is different.
Starting last weekend, every weekend long run has been a new Personal Distance Record. I’d never run more than 13.1 miles before, so it makes sense that I don’t really know how to prepare my body nutritionally for distances over that.
For the half marathon, I typically take 2 shot blocks at mile 7 and drink a little Gatorade mixed with water – and typically only 7 oz, with a 3:1 water-to-Gatorade ratio. For my last few long runs, I’ve been experimenting with different types of ‘fuel’. I took a gel with water on three different runs, and felt sick and nauseous after. This weekend, for my 16-miler, I decided to switch from the artificially flavored stuff and go for real food. I somehow stuffed some pretzel thins (which didn’t get eaten), a peeled satsuma mandarin (eaten 6 miles in), and a homemade larabar (I ate only half at mile 12.5) into the two pouches on my belt, and filled two 7 oz water bottles with plain water (I drank both and then filled up at the park and drank another 3 oz).
My run was beautiful. There is a small reservoir near my home that is densely populated with walkers, joggers, and hikers every single weekend. A year and a half ago, my goal was to be able to run the entire 2.7 mile hilly, paved trail around the reservoir. I’d talked about wanting to hike it’s longer, hillier, unpaved counterpart. It’s funny to look back on that summer and see how far I’ve come since then, because this weekend I ran the 5 mile, very hilly dirt trail. Twice. At the end of the second lap I decided I wanted to just get in some steady running, so I ditched the trail and ran 5 miles on pavement… which turned out to be a terrible idea. My knees and ankles really felt the terrain change and were crying out for the soft padding of the dirt. I’ll take hills over pavement any day.
And just like my previous few runs, I came home feeling nauseous. At first I thought maybe I just ran too hard, but after talking with a friend who has run multiple marathons, we came to the conclusion that I’m just not eating enough on the run. I try to engage in intuitive eating – listening to my body and eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full – but since I don’t feel that hungry during my long runs, I’m probably not taking in more than 100-200 calories over the course of 3+ hours (during which I burned over 1700 calories).
I’ve got just under two months until marathon day. I have three really long runs left (read: over 13 miles) and a few moderately long runs, plus an extra week in my training plan to tinker with. I plan on using those runs to figure out what types of foods and how many calories work best with my body during an endurance event. I’m looking forward to trying out pinole, as outlined in Chris McDougall’s Born to Run; as well as these Pinole/Chia Waffles and homemade energy drinks. I’m hoping I’ll find the right combination to leave me feeling healthy so that come marathon day, I can go out for a big post-race lunch without worrying about feeling sick.
Week in Workouts
Tuesday: level 1/2 bar class – 55 minutes, 4 mile run outside – 9:03 pace
Wednesday: level 2/3 heated vinyasa – 60 minutes, 4 mile treadmill run (2 miles @ 9:22 pace + .5% incline, .5 mile @ 9:22 pace + 1% incline, .5 mile @ 9:22 pace + 1.5% incline, .5 mile @ 9:22 pace + 1% incline, .5 mile @ .5% incline + 30second 6:40 pace sprint, 1minute 9:22 pace, 40second 6:40 pace sprint, 1minute 9:22 pace, 30second 6:40 pace sprint)
Thursday: 8 mile run outside – 10:07 pace
Saturday: level 2/3 heated vinyasa – 90 minutes
Sunday: 16 mile trail/road run – 11:55 pace
Miles this week: 32
Anyone else have any great long-run fueling tips?