Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nutrition and Hydration During my Marathon

Fortunately during the marathon, the wall and I never met.   Although I'm sure there are many factors (like actual training) I contribute it to two things, not going out too fast and nutrition/hydration. If you look at my pacing in my prior email, you'll see that I really tried keeping it slow in the beginning miles.  As I felt better, I was able to pick up the pace.  I would much rather finish a marathon with extra energy, sprinting towards the finish line rather than a wish of taking the first miles slower.

The second main factor was  nutrition and hydration. This isn't a slam dunk guarantee but it worked for me during this race.

The week before the race I started increasing my grains to about 10 a day.  I chose whole grains and whole wheat (don't confuse wheat with whole wheat or multi-grain with whole grain) over white breads and pasta when possible.  I try and select whole grains during the whole marathon training season and not just during taper.

3 days prior to the race I increased the grains again to about 12 servings per day and also tried to increase my milk, veggie and fruit intake.  I did much better on increasing grains when I added cream cheese (low fat when possible) and my chai tea with non-fat milk.  I wasn't worried about weight gain because I would run it off during the race and was avoiding the empty white sugar calories.

The morning of the race the first thing I did upon waking was drink a full cup of water. I actually do this every morning and drink a glass of water before each snack and meal.  I'm not a big breakfast eater before my long runs but knew before the race eating was important.  I ate one Fall Harvest Muffin (recipe here) shortly after getting up and a second one 2 hours before the race start.  I was still hungry and could have easily eaten another one but held off.  I didn't want to be running on a full stomach.

My plan was to eat a GU (orange burst with caffeine) at miles 5,10,15 and 20.  I didn't however, take into account the water stops were every two miles.  I revised my plan to take the GU starting at mile 6, 10, 16 and 22.  As it turned out I was able to take one at 15 and 20 anyway.  Rather than run the risk of taking in a GU and not having enough water to wash it down, I would start the GU about 1/8th of a mile before the water stop.

Each water stop I took water until mile 10 then upped it to two cups.  I needed to make sure that I was getting enough water and since I often wore half the water in the cup anyways, I needed to get two cups.  The poor volunteers handing me water frequently got splashed too.  Sorry! Water is always my beverage of choice but I changed it up and started taking Gatorade the last couple miles.  I did this for a couple reasons.  One, because I had the last GU at 20 and was still worried of hitting the wall and not having any GU left since I only brought 4 GU and ate 4 GU.  Second, at my first marathon I remember being so tired towards the end but not wanting to take any more water or any more GU.  I thought if I had Gatorade that it would help me.  The only problem with Gatorade is it is sticky and spilling on myself is easy to do.

I was able to finish, almost sprint in and had plenty of energy.  Next time I will repeat the same carb loading nutrition along with hydration that I did for this marathon.

Happy Running!

13 comments:

Johann said...

Thanks for sharing this. I always find it interesting to hear who eats and drinks what before and during their runs. It’s good to know what worked for a great marathon like you had.

ajh said...

My last marathon I was not happy with my performance and I attributed it to a variety of things. The two main ones were going out too fast _ I always do this - and not enough thought to nutrition. I did carry cliff shots and a mixture of gatoraid and water but was not as careful leading up to the marathon. I found this post very helpful and need to put careful thought into this long before I actually run my marathon in the fall. Thanks.

Julie said...

Hi Christina,
Thanks for the great information!! I need to start using gu and fuel because of my lack of energy in longer runs. This post was very helpful...also thanks for the recipe:)

Carol said...

I've found that hydration can make or break me on a long run. About the wall, I was talking with ultramarathoner Pam Reed last year at a race expo and she said she didn't believe it existed. She says so many have hit the wall because they are all told it is there and to expect it. Since they expect it, most of them find it. I thought that was interesting.

Janet said...

You are so knowledgeable! I love learning from your posts! PS - Don't forget to update your PR for your marathon on your sidebar. I wouldv'e taken my laptop and done it at the finish line if I were as good as you! That's awesome!

Katie A. said...

That is lots of good information. Thanks for sharing...and you are so right - it's easier to go out slow and reserve yourself then have to kick yourself at mile 21 for going out to fast in the start!
Awesome recap and I think I will take some advice from this :)

Allie said...

Thanks for the advice, I'll use it when running my half (I'm not good enough for a full marathon...yet).

roadtola said...

Great information, and it worked. 4 weeks till LA and I'm noting all these expert tips. Thanks Christina - keep um coming!

kilax said...

Great tips! I never thought to increase my carbs like that.

Ha ha. I volunteered at a race once and get wet from all the runners. It made me laugh.

joyRuN said...

Great information! Definitely worth keeping as a reference for the next marathon. Thanks for sharing :)

Sherri said...

Thanks for sharing..it helps the rest of us! =)

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I took gels in like you did, but I didn't add Gatorade later or eat that many grains the week before. Helpful post - thanks!

Keri said...

This is great information! Thanks!