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Practicing the pre-race breakfast
The last week has been a bit busy around here - I’ve been working a lot and my little Peanut has been sick. In lieu of something new my brain hasn’t fully formulated yet, I thought I’d share a post from last summer that is still very relevant right now, as fall marathon training starts to ramp up. Thanks for reading!
One of the most common nutrition mistakes I see new marathoners making: not practicing pre-race nutrition, and/or underestimating how much fuel they need both before and during the race. The New York City Marathon throws you an added curveball because the timing for the race is likely different from your typical long runs. For anyone running NYC, including the pros, there are several hours between the time you have to get up and get yourself to the start (either by bus or ferry) and when you actually start running. If you haven’t been practicing a nutrition plan for this kind of timing, you are entering a somewhat uncharted territory that could result in both an unhappy gut and some serious bonking. The good news here is that there is still plenty of time to formulate a pre-race breakfast plan, practice it, and train your gut to handle the amount of nutrition you need to have a good race.
Before a marathon, runners should be consuming 3-4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight starting at about 3 hours before the race. To get your weight in kg, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. What this means for a 130lb (60kg) runner is approximately 200 grams of carb. This can seem like a lot! For a race like New York, I recommend spacing things out so you don’t feel too full or uncomfortable. For example:
When you wake up: two pieces of toast or a bagel with jam and peanut butter, and some sports drink
On the bus or ferry to Staten Island: 1 cup overnight oats with dried fruit, honey or 1 cup plain white rice with cinnamon and sugar, sports drink
When you get to the start: 1 banana with peanut butter, sports drink (there will be more waiting time here)
60 minutes before go time: have an additional easily digestible snack, like a banana, gel, chews dried fruit and/or sports drink
What to do now
Simulate this fueling plan before your long runs, starting this weekend. Yes, that could mean waking up super early (at least three hours before you plan to run!), but I promise your stomach will thank you. If you’ve only been taking in a small amount of fuel before your long runs, work up to what you’ll need on race day slowly to allow your gut to adapt. For example: cut the above plan in half and start there to see how your stomach feels. Exactly what you have and when is very individual, so please keep in mind the above is only a general example. Taking this next couple of months to hone in on what you tolerate best, and when, will pay off this fall (and if you’re running New York, November 5).
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