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……
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.
Another week down and only 3 weeks until the Shamrock Marathon. This week I only got in one marathon specific workout…..a 35k long run on Monday. I had intended to go 40k, but decided to do 35k and push the last 5k to get my body running 5:10/mile when tired. The run beat me up more than I expected and I ended up taking it pretty easy the rest of the week. Today (Tuesday) I have a 5 x 5k workout scheduled, but once again it is snowing….I sure hope it stops and clears by this afternoon!!!
~25 miles total (Valley Centre 715)
-10 minute warm-up
-35k in (1:58:09–5:25/mile average) 17:12-17:02-17:05-17:05-16:55-16:46-15:57
– 15 minute cool-down
(planned on doing 40k, but felt I needed to run 5:10 pace at the end to get used to running at race pace…(could have slowed back down to 17:00/5k and finished out a marathon in 2:22-23)
35 minute jog on treadmill (sore…)
50 minute jog on treadmill
35 minutes on parking lot (due to snow)
35 minutes on hill roads
45 minutes on turf fields
55 minutes on turf fields with 25 x diagonals with 1:00 recovery
90 minutes on treadmill with last 60 minutes at 6:00/mile
Today I did another Canova marathon workout that consisted of running continuously but alternating between a little faster than marathon pace and a little slower than marathon pace.
I ran the workout on my flat 715 meter loop and did 24 laps total. I alternated between 2:12 and 2:26-2:29 per lap. That comes out to 4:57/ mile and 5:28-5:35/mile…
Total time was 56:33 and 5:18/mile
5 weeks until the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon! Another difficult week due to the weather! This is becoming an all too common statement. Once again I was forced to delay and change some of the workouts because of the weather. I was able to get in a great workout on Saturday. The most interesting part of the workout is not the pace of the 5k repeats, but the pace of the recovery. This is something that Renato Canova sees as being extremely important….the 5:00 I was running in between (2 laps of the 715 meter loop) was run at 5:35-37/mile. A number of people out there could complete this workout with 5:00 full recovery, but making it 5:35/mile makes it completely different! The next 3 weeks are going to be super intense and important to me doing well in Virginia Beach!
90 minutes (30 on indoor track then 60 on treadmill)
50 minutes easy on turf fields
75 minutes on treadmill (60 minutes of it at 6:00/mile)
65 minutes total (55 minutes of it working to 6:38/mile and then from 3% grade up to 5.5 % grade over the last 40 minutes)
50 minutes easy on turf
50 minutes easy on turf with Amanda and Liz (while kids played)
50 minutes easy on turf
-20 minute warm-up
– 4 x 5k / 2 lap moderate recovery (16:09-(5:00)-16:03-(5:01)-15:43-(4:59)-15:32(4:58)-1 lap in 2:06
-12 minute recovery
45 minute jog on turf…slow, right calf sore
40 minute jog on turf…right calf sore
Another week down and 6 weeks to go until the Shamrock Marathon! This winter has made training for a marathon difficult! I have found myself adjusting workouts on a weekly basis. Monday was supposed to be a 4 x 5k specific workout. There were 30 mph winds and I adjusted it to a 15k aerobic threshold run. The time does not seem fast, but the wind made it more difficult than it looks.
Thursday was a big “Canova Marathon Block”….Normally I do the first of these workouts early in the morning before work, but this time the first part was done at 3:00. This meant that the second half had to be done at 9:00 after the kids were asleep. Overall I would say the workout went well. I ended up getting in 30 miles total with 22.5 miles of it at 90% of marathon pace or faster. Another main part of this workout is not eating any carbohydrates in between the workouts. The first workout does a good job of lowering glycogen stores while the second depletes them. I had planned on running 3 x 2 miles to end the second workout, but found myself hardly able to lift my legs over the last 1/2 mile of the second 2 mile interval. Mission accomplished…I was depleted!!! It was a long slow 2 miles back home! In theory my body should now have stored more glycogen in my muscles/liver to get me to last even longer/farther next time out. It should also help in training my body to use a better ratio of fats to carbohydrates over the course of the marathon.
Once again the weather has forced me to change a workout! On Monday I had a very long specific endurance long run scheduled, but once again it was snowy and icy. The next day that I have the time to do a long workout is Wednesday. On Wednesday (assuming the afternoon weather is okay) I am planning on doing the 4 x 5k workout I had scheduled last week. If Wednesday goes as planned I will do Dos Santos type long run on Saturday morning that will include 2:00 hilly at 6:00-6:15/mile then 5k at marathon pace and 4 x 400 at 67-68 with :30 recovery…..and move the long marathon specific endurance long run to next Wednesday. I can definitely say that this winter has been the hardest in training for a marathon. It has caused me to be both creative (changing workouts or manipulating them on a treadmill that only goes 10 mph) and accepting of the fact that I am not in control of whether or not I am going to be able to get a workout accomplished.
Valley Centre Loop
-2 mile warm-up
– 15k (49:15→16:40/16:33/16:02)
-2 mile cool-down
(Crazy wind…planned 4 x 5k/1 mile, but had to change)
70 minutes easy on treadmill
45 minutes on sidewalks/road
43 minutes easy on turf fields (with Amanda…the boys played in the snow!)
30 mile day…
Run #1: 2 mile warm up…10k in 35:10 (17:45/17:25)…10k in 32:20 (16:19 /16:01)…2 mile cool-down
Run #2: 2 mile warm-up…10k in 34:51 (17:40/17:11)…2 miles 9:58 (4:56/5:02) 3:00 jog…2 miles in 10:33 (5:08/5:25…last 1/2 mile at 5:35 pace…spent!!! (That is one of the main point of this workout. I did not have any carbs in between the two and I wanted to “bonk”)…2 mile cool-down
6.5 weeks until the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon!
50 minutes easy on turf fields
50 minutes easy on turf fields
55 minutes total
20 x diagonals on turf field
60 minutes easy on turf with Amanda
50 minutes easy on hilly roads
Running on the snow covered turf with Amanda while the boys play!