Sunday, July 5, 2009

Advice To My Friend

So I have a friend of mine who used to be a runner before and just now is starting to train for a half-marathon and then hopefully soon there after to complete a full one. She asked me for some advice and I figure rather than just send her an email with the information I would share it so you all can see.


I know one of your biggest concerns is nutrition and it always has been for you from all the weird stuff I always see in your fridge. Certain basic principles that you should stick to and once you get these down then i'll move you into stage two of marathon nutrition. First of all high protein and high carb.... sounds simple right ? Wrong... I know that you are going to be working out like crazy you will need to consume these in very high amount especially protein as they are the fuel for long term running. As far as carbohydrates are concerned you need to take in plenty of these, but the right kind you do not want simple sugar. You want to be taking in long chain carbs as they burn much slower and give you much more energy.

There are several parts of nutrition that I don't really consider "nutrition" although they are part of what you are eating and how you eat. First of and most importantly of all is eating is good, yet you want to make sure what you are intaking is good for you. So feel free to consume food whenever you are hungry and don't limit what you are eating, just limit the bad things that you intake on a daily basis to a minimum (i.e. Beer, Twinkies, Greasy Burgers, etc...). The other thing that is very important to avoid eating very large meals in one sitting as they will sit for too long in your stomach and also will affect your training performance. There is nothing worst than having a stomach full of undigested food and attempting to go on a long run.

Supplementing should be part of your regiment as well. This is primary up to you and how much you are willing to spend and how serious you are willing to get with marathon running. I highly suggest taking a multivitamin/multimineral every morning as now and days it hard to get the daily recommended vitamin and minerals you need from food. I suggest anyone who does endurance events take these as they keep the whole engine that is your body running smoothly. After trying several different types I found that Centrum works the best for me as it is easy on the stomach (my stomach is very picky) and has everything that you need.

Practice What You Preach

I feel like I can never say this enough times, Practice what you preach. Meaning that if come race day you are planning on taking water, food, gels, etc... while you are running long distance that you should plan of doing so while you are practice. So plan on going for a 13 mile run as you would on race day, then plan on leaving water bottle throughout the course and/or run with them on you. This also mean don't try sticking new foods, gels, or anything else in your body when you race, if you do not practice with them on a normal basis. As this my result unfavorably for you.

Now Its Time to Run

Posture: For short distance runner should be running "on their toes". However this is not the case for long distance runners. The proper distance running form is for your heels to make contact with the ground first. Arms should always be at a 90-degree angle and by your side, hand should be as if you are holding small dixie cups of water. Make sure to relax your arms, because as your distance increases your arms will tense up.

Keep a low center of gravity, running low to the ground. Do not waste your energy on running vertical, rather propel yourself forward, there is no need for your feet to have to come very high off the ground.

Always run at a pace that is at least moderate comfortable for you, because if it is not you are wasting too much energy per mile. Running with your mouth open to allow you to breathe easy. Breathe in-in, out-out, in-in, out-out, make this your breathing in sync with you steps.

Your back should also be straight with your chest slightly poking out leading the way, head straight looking forward. It is very important to have "checks" as you go along, to make sure that you body is still in the correct position, so you are not wasting unnecessary energy or causing an injury.

As a general rule of thumb your mileage should gradually start increasing every week. Although from week-to-week it should not increase more than 10% of the following weeks workout. Roughly about three weeks before the race you should have complete a couple 10-12 miles runs in order to get yourself prepare for running for that long of a duration. In your final week you should taper off enough to recovery, yet not too much that you don't start fresh.

Following is a recommended beginner half marathon training schedule. This schedule assumes you have been running for at least four weeks and can run 30 minutes without stopping before beginning the schedule.

103Rest3Walk 2Rest13.1Rest21.1

11 Marathon Nutrition and Hydration Tips

Remember that saying "You are what you eat"? Well this is very true for endurance events, as you will feel everything you take in be consumed by your body. Below are a couple of very helpful tips that I found on

1. Stay hydrated during the race.

A good general guideline is to drink 3 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. This averages out to grabbing a cup every other mile. Since the first water stop in a race is often very crowded, skip it and get a drink at the second stop.

2. Even better: Know your sweat rate.

The most accurate method for determining your personal fluid needs is to take a sweat-rate test during your training. Weigh yourself naked before and after a hard one-hour run. Convert the amount of weight lost to ounces to figure out your sweat rate per hour. A loss of one pound means you sweated about 16 ounces of fluid (assuming you didn’t drink any fluids during the run). Going forward, you would try to replenish fluids at a rate of about 16 ounces per hour.

3. Take heat into consideration.

The ideal marathon racing temperature is in the mid-50s, but if the temperature soars into the 70s or 80s on race day as it has in the past, you must drink more. Increase your fluid intake by sipping sports drinks, not just water. The carbs in sports drinks help restock spent energy stores. Most sports drinks will also replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, helping you avoid hyponatremia (low blood-sodium level caused by excessive water intake).

4. Chase your energy gels with water.

If you take gels with a sports drink you risk putting too much sugar in your gastrointestinal tract at once, which can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea.

5. Develop a race-day nutrition and hydration plan.

When you’re tired and miles from the finish, you can’t always make the best decisions about refueling. Develop a plan ahead of time so you know what and when you’ll eat and drink. Be sure that plan includes drinking and consuming calories within 45 minutes to an hour after the start. If you wait too long, you might become dehydrated or run out of steam early in the race.

6. Pay attention to the color of your urine.

In the days leading up to the marathon you want to stay hydrated — but don’t drink obsessively. If your urine is totally clear, you’re drinking too much. If it looks dark like iced tea, you’re definitely not drinking enough. Pale yellow is ideal.

7. Give your bladder a break.

The morning of the marathon drink about 8 to 16 ounces of fluid to remain hydrated — but stop drinking one hour before the start. This way you’ll avoid pit stops early in the race.

8. Avoid unnecessary meds.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, are part of a group of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). When taken during a long run or race, these drugs can cause nausea, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. Taking too many NSAIDS can also stress the kidneys and impair their ability to function, which can contribute to dehydration or hyponatremia. If you’re battling an achy knee or sore IT band on race day, take acetaminophen, which doesn’t affect the kidneys.

9. Don’t eat anything new.

You know your body best, so in the days leading up to the marathon stick to foods you’ve eaten before and that you know your stomach can easily digest. For some runners that means avoiding high-fiber foods, high-fat foods, and dairy. Eating high-carb foods, such as pasta, rice, and potatoes, will ensure your glycogen stores are stocked for race day, but don’t consume more calories than you normally would.

10. Watch alcohol and caffeine consumption.

Alcohol and caffeine are not nearly as dehydrating as once thought. That said, if you normally avoid alcohol and caffeine, then don’t drink them the night before or the day of the marathon. However, if you’re accustomed to drinking alcohol, one drink the night before a race won’t negatively impact your running. Similarly, if you normally drink coffee before your long runs, then you can drink it before the race.

11. Start your recovery early.

Refueling after the marathon is essential to help your body recover quickly. Eat or drink about 200 or 300 calories of carbohydrates and some protein within an hour of finishing the marathon. The carbs refuel your muscles with glycogen, and the protein will help repair your muscles. Eat a full meal as soon as you are able to continue the recovery process. And remember to slowly drink fluids to rehydrate after you cross the finish line.

One of My Favorite Quotes

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

No comments:

Post a Comment