Monthly Archives: March 2014

Fueling Training and Racing–Thoughts?

Fueling during the marathon is something I really want to figure out for future races. In training I rarely take anything before or during workouts. At most I will take in some caffeine and electrolytes.  I rarely ever hit a wall or slow down in training. The interesting part is that if I do eat a meal (even 3-4 hours) before a long workout I almost always end up slowing or having to put in more effort over the last 3rd of the workout. I would not call it “bonking”, but there is a noticeable slow down and increase in effort….this does not happen if I do the workout fasted from the night before. Heck, I’ve had some of my greatest workouts ever (and yes, they are long…over 22-24 miles) with only taking in electrolytes (S-Caps).

After doing a ton of research on the topic I am wondering if I might have a little bit of reactive hypoglycemia.  It is my experience in the marathon that really leads me to the reactive hypoglycemia diagnosis. Once I start taking gels or drinking Gatorade I notice the spike in blood sugar as I get lightheaded and even dizzy sometimes. If I don’t maintain the fuel (sugar) intake every 10-20 minutes I crash too much and end up slowing or putting in much more effort to maintain my current pace. Another interesting thing I have noticed over the past few marathons is that once I do start taking in fuel during the race I find myself slowing. For example, I may go from running 5:20s to feeling like it takes the same effort to run 5:35-40/mile. This has happened in every marathon I have done. I have not actually “hit the wall” or “bonked” since my first marathon, but I do end up slowing down significantly over the last 3rd of the race. I do not think it is a coincidence that the time of slowing down coincides with the 5-15 minutes after I start taking in fuel. I have experimented and started taking fuel at 3 miles, 6 miles, and even half way. Every single time the pace/effort goes within 5-15 minutes of taking in the sugar.

What am I going to do about this? First, I am going to try a diet higher in fats and lower in carbohydrates. I’m not talking about taking out carbohydrates completely, but I will definitely limit the amount I am taking in on a daily basis. The biggest things I am going to work on taking out are sugar and refined/processed carbohydrates. It is not going to be easy as I have a sweet tooth. Also, when I mention higher percentage of fats I am talking about more “good fats” (coconut oil, olive oil, fish, chicken, nuts, almond/cashew butter, avocados, etc…). My diet is going to consist of good fats/proteins, lots of vegetables and a limited amount of fruits (berries and apples as they are lower in fructose). Before you jump and say it’s not possible or unhealthy I urge you to do some research. I have been doing quite a bit of research on the topic and there is a ton of legit information out there. I’ve also been reading a bunch of information written by Professor Tim Noakes on the subject. I even had the honor of tweeting back and forth with him about the topic.

In the future I am not going to eat anything before a race of half marathon or shorter (I actually had my best half marathon ever last Spring without eating a thing beforehand….but I did start taking a sip of gatorade every 2 miles starting at 6 miles). For the marathon I am probably going to wait until much later in the race to fuel (if I fuel at all). I will still take in water/electrolytes.

I will try and keep updating my progress both with training and diet.

I would love to hear what other people have to say about this……


Yuengling Shamrock Marathon–What Happened to Me?

Most of you have probably already found out by now, but I ended up dropping out at the 13.5 mile mark of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon on Sunday.  It definitely was not my day as I was already cramping up all over my body at the 11 mile mark. I believe there are several reasons why it could have happened.

First I want to say thank you and apologize for not living up to what I expected to Ryan and Meg Carroll, Rob Hunter and everyone else at J and A Racing who made coming down to Virginia Beach a possibility for me and my family. Once again your hospitality and support was amazing. I look forward to participating in more J and A races in the future.

Why did the race not go as planned?:

Let me start by saying that 1 month ago I was by far in the best shape of my life. I was completing workouts I have never been able to complete before and really saw myself running somewhere between 2:15 and 2:17.  You can look back at some of my previous blog posts, but I was completing workouts like 4 x 5k in 16:09/16:03/15:43/15:33 with 5:00 recovery at 5:35/mile and a 35k run in 1:58:09 with the last 5k at 5:10/mile. My confidence was high…

A little over a week after the 35k workout I came down with the norovirus. Both of my sons ended up having it and seemed to get better after a couple days. It ended up lasting a lot longer for me and Amanda. I ended up taking 3 days completely off from running and hardly ate a thing for 4 days.  Almost every time I take consecutive days off from running I come down with some type of cold. So, just as I was getting better from the norovirus I came down with a cold. The cold lingered for weeks and I was finally feeling better the week leading up to the marathon. When I say better I mean that I wasn’t sick any more. I was not able to hit one workout from the time I came down with the norovirus until the race. I tried to stay positive through both of the sicknesses as I have heard the stories of athletes having to take a “forced longer taper” and having amazing races.

Either I was not over the chest cold or I happened to be coming down with something else during the race. I woke up with a sore throat and productive cough the day after and have been struggling ever since. In the mean time I am going to let my body heal with slow easy running and spinning before taking another shot at a marathon or half marathon in May or June. I am excited to start back up and do some faster training that I have neglected over the last couple months.