Training runs are for more than training my legs for the marathon that is to come. I am also trying to test different nutritional plans for the run. I am not talking about what I eat pre-race. I have that down. I know just what is best for a 26.2 mile run. I am talking about what I put in my body during the run.
I have had several people tell me I am more like an ultra runner. I prefer real food – fruit, salty snacks like a pretzel rod, peanut butter and jelly sandwich – as I run. In my first marathon, I had my sons waiting in front of our hotel and pears were handed to me. In my second marathon, I did not have this option and used “sports” items – gels, chews – to fuel the race. My third marathon is coming up. I am less than eight weeks out and I am still fiddling with what I will “eat” while out on the course.
Part of what I eat and drink will be what is provided by the race. I will, though, carry water with me. I will also carry whatever I have worked out as a nutrition plan.
I have tested a few items this training cycle. One long run I used only Honey Stinger Pomegranate Passion Chews. I hate one every mile after the second mile. This plan did not leave me needing food or feeling hungry at all. My legs were still fairly fresh at the end of the run.
This past weekend I ran my first 20 miler of the training session. I will run more training run of this length along with a half marathon race before my marathon. During both of these, I will test out a combination of items. This past weekend, I used SportsBeans. I found these back when I first started running. The store I found them at stopped carrying them and I am seldom over near the Dick’s Sporting Goods that I bought these at this time. I loved these items and still do. Many chews I find too large. While I can be loud, I do not have a very big mouth and putting a chew in while running a marathon that almost gags me because of its size is not a good idea. I do not want to bite a chew in half and end up all sticky. SportsBeans are a good compromise.
I also love certain energy gels. My biggest concern is that many runners say that they can feel an energy gel starting to work when they use them during long runs or races. I have never felt that but I frequently abandon my fueling plan so maybe that is a part of it. I am a huge fan of Clif Shots. I love the mocha and the strawberry flavors. I am not all that enamored with the taste of GU gels but have picked up a couple to try in my next long run.
I have also become a fan of Gatorade Series items. I use the Series 1 pre-race if I am running at least a 10 mile race. I may use it prior to my 15K this coming weekend which is just shy of 10 miles. I also love the Series 3 drink that has protein in it after a long run or a race. I am not one who can eat right away so I feel better getting this in my system post-race.
Do you plan out your nutrition as you do your actual running of a race? How much of your plan is based on stops that the race has and how much on what you are carrying with you?