Thursday, 17 March 2011


I can't believe it is a month today until the marathon. And if that didn't make it all seem rather real, then the arrival of this certainly did:

Yep, that is my registration for the marathon, and that is the number I will be running with. The numbers are issued at random, not according to your predicted finish time, to make it easier to deal with the bags at the end.

So in the absence of any fun races or trips away to talk about I thought I would tackle the issue of fuel. There are three aspects to fuelling for running, and I don't claim to be an expert on any of it, but this is what works for me.

Firstly there is the pre-run. For me this means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and having something carb-heavy like pasta or pizza the night before a long run. In the morning I will have porridge, normally about an hour before I set out.

During the run is a bit more complicated. Once my long runs pass the two hour mark I find it useful to take on some extra calories. The main ways I have tested doing this are shown below:

That's Lucozade drink, jelly babies and a gel. I think I am going to stick to the drink and jelly babies during the race, since I find the gels disgusting, both in taste and texture. You also need to take them with some water to help them absorb, and I find it all gets a bit complicated. The advantage of jelly babies is that they are easy to buy, and much cheaper than gels! Luckily both the 'Meet the Experts' day and Silverstone had Lucozade there giving out samples, and so I have had lots of freebies.

The basic idea is to take on simple carbohydrates (essentially pure sugar), which tops up the glycogen levels that have been depleted once you have been running for some time. I have been quite sparing with the fuel I have used mid-run, so that hopefully my body is used to getting deficient and can deal with it better. Hitting the 'wall' is generally thought to happen when you have used up all of your stored glycogen. I don't claim to know all about the science though! It is important to practise using gels or whatever you plan to use, as some people's digestive systems don't react well to them, and you don't want to find this out in the middle of a race.

Finally post-run I try to drink/eat something as quickly as possible. I usually have a For Goodness Shakes drink as I stretch immediately after finishing. This is supposed to have the perfect mix of carbs and protein to help you recover, all I know is it tastes nice! I also generally crave something salty, and hula hoops are the snack of choice at the moment. I then whack a potato in the oven while I finish stretching and shower, so I probably eat that about an hour after I get back.

As I said at the beginning, this is what works for me, but everyone has there own routine, and it is really a case of figuring out what suits you.

Best run: Long run - 18 miles - it's amazing the psychological difference it makes having run a distance before, and this was a lot easier than my last 18 miler, even though it was much warmer. I even had to stop and buy some more water.

Worst run: 8 mile tempo run. I had to cut this short at 6 miles, as I just wasn't feeling it at all. I think I had done too much after quite a hard run at Silverstone, and my legs were protesting.

Motivational quote of the week: Champions are born in the cold, wet, dark months

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