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The Marathon Rookie Times, Issue #0016
September 11, 2006
In addition to daily nutrition requirements, eating the right food at the right time is essential for maintaining energy during the run and for maximum post-run recovery.
While running, your body depends on glycogen and fat as sources of fuel (primarily glycogen). By increasing carbohydrate consumption in daily meals, you increase your glycogen storage – thus, adding fuel to your tank. While running, you begin to deplete glycogen storage. The longer the run, the more depleted your glycogen storage becomes until it would eventually run out if not replenished. When glycogen runs out, your body transitions to burn only fat. This transition stage is commonly referred to as "the wall". Eating before, during, and after a run will help you maintain adequate glycogen.
When eating before a run, it is best to have a light snack (such as a banana and wheat bagel) an hour before the run. Whatever you choose to eat, it should be something that your body digests well.
Try different foods to see what works best for you. Eating before a run is a good way to help maintain glycogen storage, however we digest foods differently so it is important to test a few different foods before shorter runs before trying something new before a long run.
Consuming snacks during the run, especially runs of 10 to 20+ miles, will help replenish what you burn and give you more energy. The key to eating during the run is that anything you consume should be quick and easy to digest, such as fruits or energy gel/bars. Energy gel packs and bars are light, small, easy-to-carry, and loaded with complex carbohydrates. Most recommend consumption of one every 30-45 minutes during activity.
How to carry snacks is another thing. Running gear manufacturers are making it easy for runners though by offering a number of belts/fanny packs designed specifically for carrying fluids and nutrition snacks for consumption during a training run. Take advantage of them!
After a run, your body is begging for replenishment. It is mostly begging for more carbohydrates to store as glycogen and for protein to help muscles recover. Our bodies are not very understanding when they don’t get their way and you can bet it’ll make you pay for it by overlooking it’s desires. Within 30-minutes after each run, always feed your body after a run with carbohydrates and protein to help your body recover and be strong for the next run.
106 runners enrolled in a marathon training program. Only 31 finished! What happened to the other 75?
No, that’s not a riddle. Just some staggering numbers. These are findings of a recent study reported in the Los Angeles Times. The study cites running for the wrong reasons as a major cause of failure. I could not agree more.
• Think about your goals and reasons for running compared to those in the study
• If you are not sure you have the correct goals, take a blank sheet of paper and number it 1-20 from top to bottom. On each line, write a benefit you expect to receive as a result of your training and marathon finish. The first 10-12 will probably be easy. It’s when you get closer to 20 that you just might find what your motivation truly is.
Last week, I watched a fictional movie titled Saint Ralph that I must say was an absolute joy. The movie is about a 14-year-old Catholic schoolboy with raging hormones and a foul mouth who determines that he must create a miracle in order to save his mom who has fallen into a coma. His miracle? To win the Boston Marathon!
Ralph’s curiosity for the opposite sex and bad language get him into big trouble with his headmaster who tells Ralph that his punishment will be to run on the cross country team. Then, the dream was born.
This was a hilarious and inspiring movie that I highly recommend to any runner. Look for it the next time you visit your local movie rental store!
• New! eBooks now available in Paperback!
• Get answers on Q&A Days coming September 13-15, 2006
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