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Today’s action:

7 turdtastic super early (but unbelievably gorgeous) miles where the legs just wouldn’t turn over/ 58 min.

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Yesterday’s action:

6.53 easy, hilly miles with 6 strides at the end/ 53:10

Man, I’m glad I got that run in. For two mornings, I suppressed unkind thoughts towards the happy runners pounding the pavement around my neighborhood. The husband worked Monday (I couldn’t look the TM in her eyes), and I had a long day of meetings yesterday and was VERY WORRIED that I would not be able to satisfy my run addiction. 

It happened (in the dark), so I am once again a happy runner.

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I’m 3.5ish weeks out from my PR goal race at Santa to the Sea in Oxnard and 12-weeks out from the Surf City Marathon (<–no goal; just for fun), so I’m working to not only to improve my leg turnover, but also make sure I stay healthy and injury free until Boston!

I have received a couple of emails regarding race nutrition, and depending on who you ask, the answers can vary greatly. Race day nutrition is completely personal depending on your body and your needs, but here is what I did during my last marathon that worked well for me

It’s really important to run trials with your planned breakfast and race-day nutrition to make sure you avoid the rumble in the tumble. NEVER experiment on race day. I did it once. It wasn’t pretty.

Pre-Race

For race week, I avoid coffee and start drinking a lot of Nuun. I drink Nuun regularly, but I drink more of it. It might or might not be necessary, but it’s tasty to the max, so I don’t complain. My hands-down, no-questions-asked favorite flavor is Cherry Limeade. 
 
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I especially like it in Pellegrino or Perrier because it makes it extra fizzy. Just make sure that if you drink it with fizzy water, you don’t break the Nuun in half and drop it in the bottle. I did that in my classroom once. The kids dug the results. I did not.
 
I also substitute a majority of my proteins for carbs. For example, instead of having eggs for breakfast, I’ll have oatmeal with chia seeds, almond butter, and a little brown sugar. I also eat a banana and half of a sweet potato topped with cinnamon every day. And, who am I kidding… I put a little bit of butter on that bad boy.
 
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I also only drink beer instead of having wine or bubbly. Liquid carbs, right?
 
Then, the day before the race, I will continue drinking Nuun and add a bottle of Gatorade/Powerade. I eat things I know work for me like my mom’s Good Luck Salmon dinner (with lots of naan or pita).
 
The Plan
I set up everything I will need for race day the night before. I will scoop a tablespoon of chia seeds into a glass and fill it with Gatorade/Powerade to drink with breakfast. The chia seeds retain the liquid and are slow-release, so it helps with hydration. Or so I’ve been told. I will also put my salt caps and SportLegs in these little baggies.
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I bought them at Joann’s. They’re the perfect size to fit the supplements and they fit into the front pocket of my Oiselle Bum Wrap with room for a mini Clif bar!
 
NOTE: I decided that salt caps are best for me because I am a really salty sweater and the GUs that work for me don’t have sodium. I was getting massive headaches after my long runs, and taking the salt has alleviated those headaches. I practiced them during my training runs to make sure they worked for me.
 
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Same goes for the SportLegs.
 
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Race Day
On race morning, I drink the chia concoction and have 1-2 cups of coffee with breakfast (usually between 2-1.5 hours before the race), oatmeal with a teensy bit of almond butter, banana, and brown sugar. This gives my body time to digest enough of the food in time for the race. Then, I will sip water until 30-minutes prior to the start. Depending on how I am feeling with my nutrition, I might have a mini-Clif bar or a Honey Stinger waffle about 20-30-min. before the race.
 
During the race, I like to carry my water in a handheld, stuffed with 4-5 no-caffeine GUs. I like this one because of its shape, but my girlfriend prefers this one because she can fit her iphone in it. The handheld is more of a security blanket for me because I feel better knowing that if I need a drink, I don’t have to stress about where the next aid station is. It only took a couple of training runs to get used to carrying it, and now it’s weird to run without it. 
 
If you don’t feel comfortable carrying a handheld/belt/vest, be sure to start hydrating at the first aid station. Don’t forget the electrolyte drinks, especially towards the end of the race when your sodium levels are lower! Just make sure not to mix gels with whatever electrolyte beverages are on course because it’ll turn your tummy into a sugary globby mess, causing you to make a bee-line for the nearest porta potty.
 
If you decide to use a handheld, plan on drinking about 2 bottles worth of water (more or less, depending on how hot it is and how hydrated you are). You don’t want to over-hydrate, either because you can become hyponatremic, where you essentially become overly-watered and under-salted<–can be very bad.
 
TIP: The best way to refill a handheld is to take off the lid as you approach an aid station, carry the lid in your teeth, grab a cup of water with your free hand, and dump it on in. It saves time and seems to work better than asking the volunteers to pour it in your bottle.
 
For energy, I like GUs (miles 5.5, 10.5, 15.5, 20.5, and 24 <– the last one is only if my husband can’t meet me on course with my favorite electrolyte drink (I know, I’m high-maintenence)–I take down almost the whole Gu by sipping each one over the course of about .25-.5 miles along with tiny sips of water (I prefer the PB, chocolate mint, and peppermint stick–I’ve heard the salted caramel is good, too. The caffeinated ones make me feel funky and sometimes bonky).
 
TIP: I’ve read that if you can’t stomach a gel because of random GI issues, simply putting some of it in your mouth can trick the brain into thinking the sugar is on its way, and then you can spit it out if you can’t swallow it. Also, the margarita-flavored Clif Shot-Bloks have sodium in them in case you can’t figure out your salt-balancing act, and they taste pretty good, too. Again, try it in training to see what works best for you.
 
Obviously, you want to practice your nutrition during your 20/22-milers, but you should also practice during your longer pace-runs (10-15-milers) because your body will process the energy differently when it’s stressed more<–learned that from the Ironman husband of my runner-in-denial friend.
 
Supplements
During my long runs and races, I use  Sport Legs. It’s supposed to do something with lactic acid and prevent cramping, and I totally buy into it because I’m less fatigued during and after long runs. It might be in my head, or it might actually work… not sure. It was recommended to me by a marathoner and manager of the RoadRunner near my house. I’ll take 3 of them an hour before a long run/race, three at hour 2, and 3 afterwards.
 
For salt, I’ll take one capsule every hour-ish.
 
Post Race
Post long run or race, I always refuel using Fluid Recovery. Picky Bars are good, too. It’s important to refuel to keep at the top of your game. 
 
 
After exercise, especially following intensive or prolonged bouts, the body is primed to reload muscle glycogen,” says Suzanne Girard Eberle, M.S., R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. Wait more than an hour to refuel, and your body’s ability to make glycogen out of what you consume drops by an astounding 66 percent. And the longer you wait, the more likely you are to feel sluggish.
 
In that crucial first hour, shoot to consume 300 to 400 calories-ideally containing three grams of carbs to every one gram of protein. Your body’s already primed to make glycogen out of simple carbs, and a little protein helps repair muscle-tissue microdamage.
 
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I swear that drinking Fluid Recovery has helped my body to recover faster and stay healthy. Any time you run a marathon, it tears down your muscles and puts your immune system at a less-than-high-functioning level, and this stuff helps with that. It can be a little on the expensive side, but if you can find the company at a race expo, they usually have a good deal. I bought 3 canisters at the Ventura Marathon last September.
 
Then, for the rest of the day, remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
 
And, most importantly, be super stoked that you ran a marathon!
 
P.S. If you have more marathon nutrition questions, email me at hautechocolaterunner (at) gmail dot com. I can send you an e-book I read after my first marathon that really helped me formulate my nutrition plan.
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