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Fueling for workouts and races over 3 hours long.

There are alot of runners and triathletes out there who are learning how to take in some fuel during events and workouts over an hour and that is great news! The not so good news is that as some of those athletes start going longer than 2-3 hours problems start occurring that didn’t happen before.  So what is going on here? Isn’t 1-2 gel packs an hour enough? Do I absolutely have to have an electrolyte supplement? More water? What?  Well, the deal is that for events shorter than 3 hours, you can almost fake it on not doing enough. You may feel kind of lousy by the end, by you will survive even though you are running very low on energy, fluid and electrolytes. That is because you should have enough stores of all of those things to make through by doing only minimal amounts of eating and drinking. But…especially after the 3 hour mark…EVERYTHING CHANGES! You just can’t keep up with how much you are losing unless you make a SERIOUS effort to eat and drink more.

While it is true that you are hopefully getting about 50%-60% of your fuel from fat during longer,slower events, you are still blowing through quite a bit of carbohydrate. Most any runner or triathlete will still be using a MINIMUM of 125 grams of carbohydrate an hour. Then, in the case of  a Half-Ironman triathlon, the fastest athletes can burn over 200 grams.per.hour! And since we only have about 400-500 grams of carb stored in our muscle tissue and liver, it is easy to see how quickly you will start running out even if you are eating some fuel.  Yeah, do that math for a second.  ”Let’s see…I take 2 gels an hour or one pack of Clif blocks so that is about 50 grams of carbs I eat in a hour. Okay, well if I am blowing through at least 125 grams, but probably more like 150-175, then I am running an hourly deficit of about 100-125 grams. So by the 3 hour mark, I will have used 300-375 grams of carb and running very very low in fuel and by the 4 hour mark, I will be done!”  Yep, all those feelings of being light-headed, sick to the stomach, heavy legged, cranky, crampy, slowing down and feeling like you have been hit by a bus  somewhere between the 2 and 3 hour mark does not always have to be the case. Does this ring true to anyone? Is it worth trying more? (Notice here the picture of Mirinda Carfree holding 2 gel flasks full of 100 grams carb each while on her way to running a 2:56 marathon at the end of Ironman Hawaii 2009)

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Utah Marathon Comparison Question

Question: “Do you do clinics for coaches?”

Answer: UtahRunning.com does not currently host any clinics for coaches, but it is definitely something we have planned for the near future. We will keep you posted.

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Question: “How does Utah Valley Marathon compare to St. George Marathon in terms of speed of finishers?”

Answer:

Rocky Mountain Running and Triathlon Magazine had a great article in their January 2010 issue that compared several marathons in our region, including the St. George and the Utah Valley Marathon. It was titled, “Regional Marathon Comparison Guide”. If you check around you may still be able to find a copy, but below are some of the highlights. This data is based off of 2009 race results. Keep in mind that the 2010 Utah Valley Marathon course has been altered and is claiming to be faster than in previous years.

By Janae Richardson – Runner | High School Cross Country & Track Coach

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Post Marathon Nutrition

Expert Panel Questions???

“I ran my first marathon last weekend, now I always feel hungry. Even right after a meal. And if I don’t eat for an hour or two I have stomach aches. What is recommended food for post-marathon to regain the calories/nutrients that I burned?”

Answer:

After a marathon, the body is depleted of fluid and nutrients, both of which need replenishing for adequate recovery. Focus on hydration (aim to consume 150% of what you have lost in the form of water or a sport drink), adequate carbohydrate (bread, pasta, rice, sport products, fruit…), and moderate amounts of protein (nut butters, low-fat dairy, eggs, lean meat…). The most effective way to replenish after a marathon is to eat 3-4 times over the 4-6 hours post race. (See my post “Best Way to Recover After a Long Run.” The same rules apply here). Smaller, more frequent eating episodes replenish lost carbohydrate and repair muscle tissue more efficiently than one large meal. Here are some examples of post race snacks.

Post Marathon Snacks:

– Bread with peanut butter and jam or honey
– Fruit smoothie made with fruit, yogurt & milk or juice
– Chocolate milk
– Sport Bar & sport drink or water
– Yogurt
– Cereal with milk
– Banana with peanut butter

Follow-up this initial snack with a more complete and larger meal 2-3 hours post race. Avoid going too long before starting the recovery process – you definitely want to start replenishing within 1 hour. Waiting too long slows recovery.

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Beginning Runner Training

Expert Panel Questions???

“I have never been a runner I am out of shape and attempting to train for a half marathon I am just now starting should I focus on keeping up a faster pace for shorter time or go for distance with a slower pace?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts)

Answer!!!

If you’re just starting out as a first-time runner, you should make the establishment of a consistent training program your first priority. Find thirty minutes each day (six days each week, if possible) to set aside for your training. Don’t worry about pace or distance at first. In fact, you may need to do a combination of walking and running in order to get through thirty minutes. Before long, if you are consistent, you’ll be able to run comfortably for thirty minutes each day. As that begins to feel easy, add time to some (not all) of your weekly runs and see how your body responds to the increased workload.

Try not to skip days unless you need to recover from an injury. Instead, learn to listen to your body, running faster on days that you feel good and easy on days that you need to recover. Not every day should be a hard day. Besides keeping you healthy, this is important for your enjoyment of the sport. If you begin to dread the difficulty of a normal run, you’re working too hard.

If you’re a beginning runner training for a half marathon, you’ll eventually want to work a long run into your schedule once each week. This long run should be about 10-12 miles and should constitute about 20-25% of your weekly mileage. For example, if you run 10 miles on Saturday morning, you should average at least six miles each of the other five days for a total weekly mileage of 40.

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13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon

The UtahRUNNING.com Expert Panel received a request to provide a list of “7 things to do before running a half marathon,” so that is what I originally set out to answer in this article. However, while running with the high school girls I coach and discussing this topic with them, they helped me realize seven tips were just not enough. In fact, they insisted that I list 13.1 tips for preparing to run a half marathon (makes sense, right?) Thanks, girls, for the inspiration and for making me laugh everyday!

13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon:

1) Train Smart. Be consistent and gradually build your mileage. Work in some interval workouts, tempo runs, and long runs into your training regime.

2) Keep It the Same. The week of the half marathon is not the time to try something new. Don’t change what has been working for you. Obviously, your workouts should be lighter, but you should still run the days that you normally run, stretch, eat relatively the same, etc.

3) Hydrate/Sleep. Besides keeping your routine the same, it is also a good idea to put extra focus on being well hydrated (urine should always be clear) and to get plenty of sleep in the weeks prior to your big race.

4) Plan for Your Race. Before race day arrives, work out the details of your race in your mind. Visualize it–your pace, when to make a move, and how you will handle tough spots in the race (hills, mile 9/10, etc.). Consider different scenarios and how you will react to each one. Come up with some things you could tell yourself or remind yourself of when the pain starts to set in and you need some inspiration. Decide when you are going to refuel and know where the aid stations are in your race (For example: “There is an aid station at mile 7. I’m going to plan on taking an energy gel just before I get there). The night before race day eat a solid meal (pasta, rice, potatoes…whatever works for you). Make sure you don’t eat too late. I like to eat around 5:30 or 6:00 the night before to give my food plenty of time to digest before I go to sleep. The best way to know what and when to eat is to try different strategies with your training runs so you know what will work for you on race day. Have all of your race gear (shoes, clothes, number, energy gels, etc.) ready to go the night before, so you aren’t rushed in the morning.

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Marathon Pace from Tempo Pace

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I have been doing tempo work and was wondering how I gauge my race day pace off of tempo pace? (e.g., 30k and Marathon)”

Answer!!!

As I mentioned in the Tempo Time article, usually tempo pace will be about 20 seconds slower per mile than 10k race pace and 30 seconds slower than 5k race pace. As you try to gauge race day pace off of your tempo runs it can become quite tricky. Again, the faster the runner you are, usually the less time between your marathon race pace and your tempo pace. For example, my marathon best is 2:10:59 which is slightly under 5:00 mile pace. I usually ran my tempo runs at about 4:50 per mile, so my tempo pace was usually about 10 seconds faster per mile than my marathon race pace. However, slower runners will usually need to run relatively faster to hit their tempo zone. Jack Daniels agrees and he places tempo paces at approximately the following relative to marathon pace:

2:30 marathon 5:45 pace=tempo pace will be about 17 seconds faster or about 5:28 tempo pace
3:00 marathon 6:55 pace=tempo pace will be about 23 seconds faster or about 6:32 tempo pace
4:00 marathon 9:08 pace=tempo pace will be about 30 seconds faster or about 8:38 tempo pace
5:00 marathon 11:30 pace=tempo pace will be about 40 seconds faster or about 10:50 tempo pace

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