I just finished my 10K race and it was amazing, but we gotta hurry up and race the tornadoes home...so I give you an amazing guest post from the experienced runner, my friend April.
She is a new blogger over at April May June July so don't forget to check out her blog when you're done reading this informative post for my Running for Newbies series!
How to fuel before, during and after a long run
Hello Semi-Health Nut readers! I’m honored that Amanda asked me to write a guest post as part of her Running for Newbies blog series. I think it’s important to always keep learning, no matter what level we are competing at, in order to improve. I know I am always trying to become a stronger, faster, better runner so I think this series is a great idea.
I ran my first (and to date, only) full marathon in May 2009. I finished in about 4 hours and 30 minutes. My only goal was to finish, which I did, so I was pleased. But I know now, looking back, I didn’t train properly. I missed too many runs, didn’t fuel my body properly and I think I could’ve done a lot better. So now I am running my second full marathon this May 19 in Fargo, ND.
This time around, I have been much better about making sure I get all my runs in (I’m using this http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program training program, modified to include 3 days a week of strength training and only 1 day of rest instead of 2). I feel so much better, stronger and more positive about the experience of marathon training this time around and I am hoping to finish in around 4 hours (9 min mile pace).
There are so many different things to consider when training for a marathon, but with my weekend runs now in 20 mile territory, I thought it would be interesting to share with you how to properly fuel your body before, during and after one of these long runs, which takes me 3+ hours.
Day(s) leading up to your run:
A lot of runners do what is called “carbo-loading” leading up to races.
This means slowly increasing your carbohydrate intake (breads, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.) and on the day before your run you should be eating carbs, nutrient rich vegetables and a small amount of lean protein.
The reason behind carbo-loading is that it stores glycogen in your muscles which your body can burn easier than fat. So when you are doing a 3 or 4 hour run you won’t “hit the wall.” I do think this works and I plan on doing it before my marathon, but I generally don’t do this before my long training runs. I do think it’s beneficial to eat a carb-heavy dinner like spaghetti the night before but don’t eat more than usual or you may still feel full when you wake up in the morning.
Also, as always, drink lots of water in the days before your run. I also try to avoid dairy in the 24 hours before my long run as I have discovered it upsets my stomach during and after my long runs, which is a common ailment for runners.
Morning of your run:
Try to wake up a 2-3 hours before you plan to run.
This gives you time to drink some water and let your breakfast digest a bit before you hit the trail. A good breakfast before a long run would be two pieces of toast with peanut butter and jelly or a bagel with peanut butter.
Try to keep it carb-heavy and about 10% or less protein.
Many runners (including myself) drink coffee before running and that is fine as long as you drink water, too. But don’t gulp down 2 or 3 huge glasses of water or you might feel it sloshing around in your stomach the whole run. It’s better to sip water frequently (or as often as possible) to stay hydrated and give your body time to absorb.
During your run:
If you are running over 10 miles, it’s a good idea to consider fueling during your run.
If you’re running a marathon, it’s essential. I like gel packs. They contain electrolytes and sodium which you need to replenish what you have sweat out during your run and they also help you avoid cramping. They’re small and easy to stick in your pocket or even hold in your hand until you need it. Other options are bananas or oranges (more difficult to carry but often handed out during races), sports drinks and even sugary candies which will give you a pretty quick burst of energy. Even sticking a few Starbursts in your pocket can work.
It is also incredibly important to continue hydrating during these runs. I don’t like to run with a water bottle (I’m a petite gal and wearing one around my waist would be too clunky and I don’t like carrying one) so I usually drive my car to the trail, leave water and Gatorade in it and run back by to grab a few gulps. Otherwise you can also map out your run and leave bottles of water along the trail or run by convenient stores and grab a drink during your run.
You won’t be able to run 20+ miles without rehydrating so make a plan ahead of time.
After your long run:
Once you have finished your run, you should refuel within 45 minutes to recover properly.
For average workouts, it’s best to fuel on carbs before and protein after, but carbs can also help you recover after these long runs. I like to eat a bagel with peanut butter or a sandwich with lean-protein after finishing my long run. I usually also drink a Gatorade and a few big glasses of water. If you refuel properly after your run, you should feel fine the remainder of the day and in the following days. If you don’t refuel properly, you will probably feel exhausted the rest of the day and be pretty sore and tired the next day (or even 2 or 3 days later) which can derail your training schedule.
So, there you have it! I hope these tips help any of you who are planning to train for a race or complete some long runs.__________
Have a good day everyone! And be safe if you are in the bad weather areas!
*~Amanda aka Semi-Health Nut~*
What is your favorite way to fuel during races?
Do you carry water on your runs?
*More running posts here!*