October 2, 2015
Fuel Your Body For Success!!!
This past weekend I completed my longest training run to date…20 miles. As I was leaving the house around 6 am on Saturday morning it hit me…this was crazy! While I knew it was coming and my previous training had helped prepare me for this (yet another) training run…this was crazy. I paused and thought for a moment about what I was about to do…run 20 miles! Well, not only did I complete my 20 miles but I was able to run the LAST 2 miles at a faster pace (7 min mile) than my “normal” race pace (around 8:30 min mile). For me, an average Joe runner, this was a huge accomplishment. Does this mean I’m finishing strong or just running too slow to start…honestly, I have no idea but being 2 ½ weeks out from my first Marathon, I’m not changing it now! J
Let’s rewind about 6 months.
I was training for my first half marathon – (you can read all about that here http://theactivefam.com/i-conquered-the-hill-the-hospital-hill-half-marathon-2015-13-1-miles/#sthash.VwAmtpqX.dpbs )
While I have been running for 20+ years, distance running was new to me…after all why would a sane person run 20+ miles, right?! J
I can recall my first “long run” at least to me…then, it was a long run. I ran 8 miles that day and I was so sure I had made a mistake signing up for a half marathon. What was I thinking, there was no way I would finish…well I did! And just six months later, when I see 8 miles on my training schedule I think…AWESOME…just a short run today!
I have been following Hal Higdon’s training schedule for my marathon (The Kansas City Marathon) and I do believe a good training schedule is a vital tool when preparing for a race…at least for me, the non elite, non professional runner. However, an area that I feel is equaling important but too often overlooked (by fellow average Joe runners) is nutrition. I strongly believe that my performance is a result of the fuel I use. If I had not adjusted what and how I eat….I would not have been able to complete those 20 miles.
For years now I have been in awe at the human body and how important nutrition is to peak performance. Whether you are running 20 miles preparing for 26.2 miles or just juggling a hectic schedule with: work, kids, church, after school activities etc….fuel is the key component to optimal performance.
After all isn’t that what we are all looking for? To feel good so we can enjoy the things we do each day. When is the last time you heard someone say, “I really wish I would be tired and sluggish today?” Probably never! So what do you do? Where do you start? These were the questions I started asking many years ago and then again as I began distance running.
What I have found is that when I running over 6-7 miles I need an increased level of carbs in my diet in order to perform well. Now, I’m not and never have been a “no carb” eater. I don’t think we need to cut out any one food group and frankly, if I don’t eat carbs I feel tired and sluggish. So by increased level, I mean above 2-3 servings a day.
The days before my long runs I will be eating bagels, oatmeal, bananas, plain Greek yogurt, and switching out my good fats for lower calorie options. I mix it up and find what works best for my body. That’s part of training, trail and error. In a sense we are all in training. Looking for ways to improve our performance, how can we get more energy, feel better, lose weight, etc.
I love Runners World they have a ton of good meal examples for runners.
Whether your goal is; running a marathon, losing weight, gaining energy, or trying to survive a hectic schedule, don’t overlook the importance of nutrition.
Fuel Your Body For Success!!!