Eat right for your long run for race day success
We've all been there, out on a sunny Sunday long run. You're getting some miles in training for a race, jogging along maybe listening so music or the birdsong on the breeze. Running and life is good! Then, suddenly, almost out of the blue, you want to stop. Not go slower ... stop ... you just can run any further.
You change to an upbeat track or turn left to avoid the hill ahead ... but it's no good ... you're out. You're out of gas and can't run any further.
If this is familiar you're struggling with your long runs, wanting to give up half way around, read on to understand why we run out of energy on long runs and for my eat right for your long run tips for race day success.
What's going on when I hit the dreaded wall?
When you run your body burns fat and carbohydrate for fuel. Whilst we've all got enough fat to fuel us pounding the pavements for a very long time, but your body is only able to store enough carbs (in the form of glycogen, stored in your liver and muscles) for about 90 minutes of running.
When you hit the wall or run out of energy on a long run, that's the point that your body runs out of carbs which are needed to burn fat to fuel your run.
Fuel Up First
My first tip to beat the dreaded bonk is to fuel up before heading out to maximise your carbohydrate stores. The evening before your long run, eat a meal high in carbs, such as pasta, rice or potato, have more carbs for breakfast and maybe a banana or sports drink before you head out.
Check out some of my Cheesecake Runner recipes for ideas for carb focused pre long run meals. Macaroni Cheese My Way!
Pea & Ham Risotto
Refuel on the Run
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts at pigging out on pasta, your body can still only store enough carbs in your muscles and liver for about 90 minutes of running. Once your stored carbs are used you'll be running on empty. Struggling to continue, you brain playing tricks, you'll be in pain and wishing the wind would do one! If you're out for an endurance epic you'll going to need to refuel on the run.
For Long Run Success Get Used to Eating whilst Exercising Try out energy gels, they're gloopy and sometimes sweet, but designed for the job. If they don't work how about energy chews, blocks and powders, jelly babies, gummy bears, and bananas. Top up Your Tank Before it Runs Dry
Don't wait for your energy levels to run low before you top up your tank. It takes a while for sugars to be digested, transported to your muscles to be used as fuel.
Start eating about 30 - 60 minutes into your run and keep this up, eating every 30 - 60 minutes, to keep stores high.
You need to start eating early, even when you're still feeling full of energy. This will give your gut time to digest the food and get you refuelled for your run.
If you've a marathon in your sights why don't you come and join Marathon Club Hub to help with your training and preparation for your race. Marathon Club Hub is my marathon training and preparation coaching programme for marathon first-timers and will help you get trained, prepared and ready to run your marathon without the stress of having to work it all out yourself.
Each week through spring you'll join other first-timers for a virtual training & preparation coaching call to keep you on track with your plan.
Let's do this!