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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Eat & Prepare the week of Half & Full Marathon

I wanted to write a few posts for runners to find me in hopes I can help direct them into some tips on how to fuel and rest and recover in the last taper week before the Half & Full Marathon!

Running & Fitness/Strength Training
  • At this point you should have cut your weekly Running mileage down by 2/3rds.
  • Work at keeping a normal pace this week when you run. Don't go too slow it may mentally discourage; alter your stride and make you feel sluggish. Be confident!
  • Don't get bored and restless in Taper and try a new work-out routine or class you are not familiar with. Not only do you chance getting a tear or injury from working a muscle you forgot you had but you are missing the point behind resting anyways. Trust me it's your nerves that need worked out not your legs!
  • If you feel a desire to stay active go easy impact- like elliptical or a light cycling session. Give the pool a try as you water walk and the water is great recovery for your legs.
  • Time to eliminate speed work the week of the marathon- the training should be done- time to rest!
  • I want you to focus on recovery and that includes stretching (warm) and working range of motion. You can work the stick or a foam roller
  • I encourage you to consider a massage early in the week if you are planning one. Monday/Tuesday at the latest so that you can fully recovery from the worked muscles. Sometimes that deep kneading into the muscles can cause some serious aches for days.
  • Again- same for the chiropractor visits; the earlier in the week the best- if it gets too late in the week you may want to consider waiting!
  • You can skip the weight session this week but if you are like and have been lifting for a while and you are familiar with what works for you and what does not then you can leave up to 5 days up to the race. If you find this race really important go ahead and skip it; accidents can still happen no matter how experienced we are in the weight room. If you are going to work-out the muscles in the upper body go ahead and Skip the core work and reduce the time/sets/reps and go further out from the Marathon as you can handle!
  • ****There are NO right or wrong way to go about the run just before the Half or Full Marathon. Most will do a normal paced 20min run to get the kinks out and to get rid of pre-race nerves where as others prefer to take a complete rest for 1-3 days prior to the race.
  • Eat a Diet rich in complex carbohydrates
  • eat plenty of lean protein to ensure muscle repair
  • avoid alcohol as it may dehydrate you and can interfere with your sleep
  • Start drinking 80-100 of fluid  at least 3 days out of the Marathon. Do NOT over hydrate as you will flush your system of vital electrolytes. It's not necessary to over hydrate- more harm than good
  • Start taking in vital electrolytes in the days leading up to the race. Such as you would replace your electrolytes you must first give them to yourself before the race. Use your power drinks early!
  • I want you to focus on healthy fueling options this week and most certainly you can eat your electrolytes. Concentrate on lots of fresh veggies/fruit. They are chock full of anti-oxidants for cell repair.
  • Consider how much fiber you  eat leading up the the race. Mor fiber earlier in the week and start eating a little more refined in the days leading up to the race so you don't get GI stress from cramping.
  • Avoid greasy foods that can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea
  • do NOT try any new drink/powergel on the course that you are not already familiar with. This can lead to a severe stomach ache. I hope you have trained your guts with what you will be fueling with on the course!
  • Don't eat out at unfamiliar restaurants when you are out of town as a way. You risk food poisoning.
  • If you decide to dine out in a new city etc please consider a food chain you are familiar with and can trust!
  • I get a lot of questions asking about Carb Loading and you can find that here:
  • In a Nut Shell go from 40-50% of carbs 3-4 days out and start cycling up in complex carbs to 50-60% 2-3 days out and 60-70% the day before.
  • Do NOT over eat carbs. Sometimes it's too much for the guts to digest and you will cramp and might not be able to eating your morning breakfast
  • Follow your long run training run morning routine for nourishment. If you trained with coffee and oatmeal in training then you should follow the same routine on race morning. If you drink 2 cups of coffee don't drink 4 and don't drink none.
  • Avoid Runners Trots by

Mental Preparations:
  • Study the course. Where are the aid stations? Where are the Porty's located? What drink/gels will they offer on the course and plan ahead.
  • Visualize Yourself Running the Race; acknowledge the hills in your mind via the course map and prepare for them ahead of time.
  • Set Up your Race Support. Tell them to be patient with you and encourage them ahead of time that you may experience some race anxiety and how they can help relax you
  • If your muscles are starting to ache/cramp this is very normal for all runners of any experience. Your muscles are relaxing and repairing.

  • Do NOT run in new pair of running shoes you have never wore before
  • Do NOT run in a new shirt you are unfamiliar with as bloody nipples (for the guys, lol) can and does happen.
  • Do NOT Run in new running socks to which you have never trained in before
  • Use chaffing gel  to help prevent chaffing like Body Glide (thighs, bra lines, nipples)

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