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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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Tips for Training for a Marathon

Expert Panel Question???

“I’m a 62 year old male runner, have run many half marathons but never a full marathon. I run 3 – 4 times a week averaging 25 to 35 miles. I play golf and weight train moderately. I’m training for a marathon and would like to feel more energized – suggestions?”

Answer!!!

Realize that training for a marathon at any age is an energy draining pursuit, but to help you feel as good as possible try the following:

1. Keep your run days to 3-4 times a week
2. Keep your weekday runs to no more than an hour.
3. Do long runs every other Saturday and start them about 16 weeks out(assuming you already can run 90 minutes for a long run)
4. Do your longest training run at 22 miles and do it 3 weeks out from your race.
5. Focus on eating really well after all your runs. Drink a recovery drink IMMEDIATELY upon finishing a run and then eat a whole food meal within 45-60 minutes following that has a lot of carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat.
6. Drink lots of water each day.
7. Sleep really well.
8. Use a sports massage therapist twice a month
9. Take a solid vitamin/mineral/ antioxidant supplement day and night.
10. Take an ice bath after each long run.

by Debbie Perry

Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor

USA Triathlon Certified Coach

Colgan Power Program Strength Trainer

Local Elite Runner/Triathlete

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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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Should I run a half marathon before a marathon?

Expert Panel Question???

Question:

“I’m planning on running the Ogden Marathon this May and am wondering about racing beforehand. Particularly, I’m wondering if I should do a 1/2 marathon race 6 weeks before the marathon or just use that half marathon as a training run?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answers!!!

The amount of time it takes to recover from racing is different for everyone. Some bounce back relatively quickly, while others recover more slowly. The general rule is that it takes about one day to recover for every mile that you race. So, it will take almost two weeks for you to be fully recovered from a half marathon.

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