Yikes nearly a third of the way in, my long run is now up to 8 miles and following the plan will mean that I now have a long run every other week, so hopefully plenty of time to recover. For runs over 8 miles I will now need to start thinking of nutrition while I run. When training for my first and second half I didn’t refuel in time so at 8 miles struggled but soon learnt that you need to refuel after an hour to give it time to hit your blood stream. Roughly your body can only hold onto enough energy for 90 minutes at half marathon pace and about 2 hours at a slower marathon pace, too much food consumed your body will then store this as fat, and when running you don’t want to waste precious energy on this conversion, so small and frequent top ups are required. Too little and your body will need to access your fat reserves to fuel your body, which is fine and a good practise if you have practised this in training and on a regular basis, but not for first time on race day.
There are loads of products onto market, but two products that I like are the Clif bloks, I found the chews quite large so used to cut them into quarters and have one per mile and Tailwind. Gels should always be consumed with water since these help the body absorb the carbohydrate quicker, the bloks contain around 380 calories per packet, 96g of carbohydrate, 0.5g salt and 80mg of potassium. The Tailwind which is mixed with water a 2 serving stick pack will provide, 200 calories, 50g of carbohydrate, 606mg of sodium, 170mg of potassium and 28mg of magnesium.
Its essential to take on electrolytes while running long distance or in higher temperatures. The body loses salts through sweat and if you take on too much water, which is very common in those that run over a long time, the body systems become unbalanced and can result in individuals feeling very unwell.
You don’t have to buy a pre-prepared drink you can make your own, coconut water is a good source of potassium and add some salt and you have a ready made drink, alternatively some diluted orange juice with some salt is another version.
I have only used the above on my half marathons and carried my own with me rather than take the sports drinks on offer during the race. Unknown foods can cause havoc with your digestion system so its better to use known items than new foods or drinks.
One thing new for the marathon will be the consumption of real food, its recommended once you go over 2 hours running you should eat real food, both as a fuel since your body will struggle with too many gels. I am going to try some pitta bread with hummus, some baby food fruit pouches and malt loaf as my first choices, with my final long run expected to be about 7 hours I am now starting to plan some routes which are two laps so I don’t have to carry everything with me.
This week I have managed 4 runs, in the village there is a local social running club so I went there one night, not sure if I will go that often since it doesn’t suit jeffing, i had to run 3 miles non stop, not something i’ve not done for years.