Well Duh!

nutritionI had one of those moments this weekend.  I met up with my marathon friend and we went for a walk along the Charles River in Boston chatting about our recent marathons.  For me it was Chicago for her it was her hugely successful New York Marathon where she PRd by 23 minutes and got even closer to the elusive Boston Qualifying time.

Before I get started on my Duh moment, I have to say how impressed I am with her.  She did incredible and I am so happy with her accomplishment.  She worked so hard this summer through the crazy heat and lots and lots of miles under her feet.

As we discussed our races and things we did leading up to the races (well everything besides the running because we had already spent quite a bit of time talking about the running each week during the summer) we found ourselves spending a lot of time discussing nutrition.  I started to have another one of my Aha moments but we will call this a “well Duh” as in you should have thought about this way before now moments.

My nutrition is pretty good, basically meaning I eat well and drink lots of water.  I do overindulge in sweets but I always say that is why I run, “to eat desserts!”  But really something I have never focused on in my 5 marathons and 10 half marathons is the pre race nutrition.

You know…. What to eat for the week or 3 days before the race, primarily the carbo loading.  Shockingly (insert sarcasm here) one bowl of pasta the night before a marathon does not last you a whole marathon.  I thought you could eat well, eat your pasta the night before the race and then fuel during the race.  Well that works okay if you run a half but this is not enough food to fuel you through the marathon. pasta

As I described the wall I hit during all my marathons and discussed my nutrition to my friend, it became glaringly obvious that I need to make some changes to my nutrition plan.  But it also gave me hope that if I can finish a marathon like I eat right now, what could I do if I did the fueling part correctly.  As my friend put it, “the wall is 3 things, mental strength, training, and nutrition.”  I have the mental strength because I have done 5 of these crazy things.  I have the training although, I will up my miles to a little more for my next marathon.  But it was the nutrition that was what I was lacking.  My body got so tired during my last race that I forced it to even drink and had no desire to eat during my last 6 miles.  This will not happen again!

So instead of feeling defeated, I have found my new focus for my next training.  I have even begun to start about running a spring marathon instead of just looking for a fall one.  I’m not sure why I continue to push myself so hard other than I just want to do better and feel successful and I don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere close to what I can do for a marathon.  Now it times to research nutrition a little more and create a plan for the next marathon and maybe even sign up for one….

Well Duh can be a moment of “I feel so stupid for not thinking of this” or a moment of “Wow, that was the thing that was missing.  I can do so much better with this knowledge.”   I have had both of these thoughts go through my head but I am going with the positive one and setting new goals.nutrition3

Have you ever had one of these moments? 

What did you do with it?

8 thoughts on “Well Duh!

  1. I would have to agree that nutrition is the missing link for me. I think it is for a lot of runners. I still struggle with staying on top of Gu’s and energy chews during a marathon. My stomach pretty much shuts down during long runs, and for hours after a marathon. I will say, when I ran a 50K a few years ago, the aid stations had all kinds of great, unusual fuel, such as boiled potatoes and Coka Cola–both of which were (surprisingly) wonderful! Maybe we should take a cue from trail races!

    • I feel like a newbie still to this thing called distance running even after completing so many races. The good part is that I was beginning to think I could never get this marathon thing and this nutrition news opens up new thoughts about maybe I can be more successful at these long distances.

  2. Thanks for your post! I have always struggled a bit with nutrition as well. Always hard to eat anything after mile 20, but it’s so important! Do you use GU or other energy blocks? Those work well for me. What marathon are you training for? Good luck!

    • I use hammer nutrition gu and sometimes energy blocks but for Chicago I used Hammer and gummy bears. I tend to struggle with nutrition after mile 20 and I am hopeful that adding better prerace fuel will help me want to eat at mile 20 to sustain. Right now I am investigating plans for my next full and running some halfs but thinking about signing up for Vermont City on Memorial Day weekend.

  3. Oh the consuming of anything when running is so tough. The gels taste so foul, but work, but after two I cannot face anymore. Chewing and running is tricky for me, cant seem to breath. Like you I think this is the missing link and one I will need to practise more

    • I’m really hoping that prefueling will help me during the marathon actually want to continue taking the necessary fuel. No way to really test it except train for another race and do things a little differently. I hope you find the missing link and me too. 🙂

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