Fueling up For Marathon Miles
Jo has been testing her physical and mental capabilities these past few months, just like many of you have been. The Twin Cities Marathon is just around the corner. How has your training been going? Jo has been making strides, yes the pun was intended. She is excited to put it all on the line and endure the 26.2 miles ahead of her.
Nutrition: A bigger commitment than the marathon?
Jo is ahead of the curve. She already has picked out a race day outfit, shoes, hair band, and water bottle. She has even slow motion jogged in front of her full-length mirror practicing her finish line face. This is top secret though and will only debut it once she crosses that finish line, 26.2 miles later. Jo thinks she has everything prepared, at least the important things right?
Although outfits can sometimes be the most difficult part of your race day strategy, nutrition is something that will definitely make you a stronger runner.
The other day, it finally dawned on Jo that she should put some more thought into her nutrition in preparing for the race. While she generally has a pretty well balanced diet, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, protein packed meats and tofu, and the occasional adult beverage, she never has put much emphasis to fueling during the race.
Should she just drink water and something with electrolytes? Should she go Clif Shot crazy and make a little skirt out of them? What about chews or gummies? What if something doesn’t agree with her stomach? She doesn’t want to be the girl who needs a change of shorts along the way.
So Many Options, So Little Time
After a minor nutrition induced panic attack, Jo heads out to a local running store to pick up a few options of products. At the store she finds a plethora of options. There are powders to put in her drink, packets of gummies, too many goo’s to choose from (and too many brands), things that look like cookies, nutrition that are “all natural,” and even something that looks an awful lot like peanut butter. Who knew eating during a 26.2-mile race could be this complex?
She consults with one of the experienced runners at the store who has run a number of marathons, as well as races longer than marathon distance, and she decides to buy a little bit of everything and test out the gooey waters. Jo decides that before each run, in the next few weeks, she will sample the different products pre run and see how her stomach and body reacts.
Practice Makes Perfect
With running nutrition bulging from her cupboards, she decides on sampling the ever-famous GU for her first run with nutrition. She went for the Salted Caramel because everyone seems to rave about that flavor. Jo was less than impressed as she sucked down the contents that had a very unpleasant texture. The guy at the running store told she to always chase the gu with water, so after a few sips of water, Jo heads out the door.
A few miles go by, and she feels neither good, nor bad.
“Ok,” she thinks, “this can’t be so bad. I could deal with these gooey things. No problem!”
Boy was she wrong.
A few more miles in and her stomach begins to twist. She feels as though she is ready to make a gooey mess all over the running path as she thinks it may come right back out of her mouth. Salted caramel or not, this will not be the go-to nutrition produce she was looking for.
The next few days she continues to test out flavors and products. She finds that some agree more with others. Some of the sweeteners cause her abdomen discomfort, but some go down nice and smooth, and even seem to provide her with some energy!
“Maybe this isn’t such a hoax after all!” She deciphers.
Trial and error has been key!
The running store was right about trying different things. Jo can’t imagine what it would have been like if she had decided race day to just take a bunch of goo’s and go. How mortifying that could have been! She decides on a powder to add to her drink with a little bit of electrolytes.
She also discerns that she prefers to chew something rather than choke a globby substance down. Jo has figured out what products work for her, and will be restocking at the running store soon so she beats the last minute marathon shoppers the week prior to the race.
What nutrition products have you tried? Have you ever had any horror stories with taking something you thought would agree with you? Tell us below!