wisely stupidly put a half-marathon on my schedule just two weeks after 70.3 Austin and I’m sitting here on Tuesday in complete confusion of whether or not I want to race or want to run. My focus is the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon on December 4th. I am gunning for a Boston qualifying time. I have to run 3:10 (7:15/mi pace) in Vegas just to have a chance to register. That is fast. My last marathon, Dallas White Rock, was a 3:39. I have to take 29 minutes off of my PR which is more than 1 minute per mile. Lofty goals.
So as I sit here contemplating whether to run or race on Sunday I want to give you some background on my thought process and then what I need to do in terms of eating for the race. 6 days after the Half-Ironman in Austin I ran 18 miles at a pace of 7:51/mile. I desperately needed a good run after I put up an 8:40/mi pace in the half-marathon portion of the race in Austin. I was disappointed in my run and needed a confidence boost. That 18 miler did it. My legs were sore but the next day I headed out on a 2 hour ride. I managed to ride at nearly 18mph and cover 36 miles. The next morning my legs were really feeling it.
This morning I headed out on a 13 mile run. I was scheduled to run aerobic which for me is 155 bpm, give or take. As I started running I noticed a pace of about 7:45/mi for the first mile and my HR was low so I picked it up. I pushed through the pain, not injury, in my legs. They are exhausted at about mile 4 but I continued on and soon enough was in cruise control. I finished by running 13.1 miles at a pace of 7:36/mile. I was super excited about this.
So now the decision to race this half-marathon at a 7:15/mile pace looms. Do I try to race at that speed to prove I can hold it for 13.1 miles or do I just run in aero and if that gets me down to 7:15/mi great but if not it is still a training run and nothing to worry myself about.
This leads me to eating for this half-marathon. We have all heard the term carb-loading. I think it’s hogwash. If you are following an endurance athlete’s diet then you are constantly getting carbs into your system. We need carbs (energy) to keep doing what we are doing. I consume approximately 55%-60% of my calories in carbs so when somebody asks me about carb loading I kinda lose my mind. I don’t believe that you need to go out the night before and eat a mountain of pasta to be ready for the race.
As a matter of fact I believe that you should consume your carbs two days prior to race day. Then the day before the race eat a large breakfast and taper your consumption throughout the day so that you are nearly hungry when you go to bed. The next morning put a GU or Gel or 1/4 bottle of EFS Liquid shot into a bottle of water and sip on it until it is time to race. Of course you should eat a good breakfast the morning of the race as well but again it doesn’t need to be over the top. Your body has all the carbs it can handle at that time.
It was approximately two weeks ago that I received a newsletter from Food Trainers. Don’t know Food Trainers? Well, click [HERE] and head on over because it is a great site run by Lauren Slayton. There is so much information and it is all useful. This is not a fluff site/blog but one that is well written and provides in-depth analysis.
So on this day the newsletter referred to carb-loading. Lauren’s take on carb-loading is in lock step with mine. She goes into the concept of macronutrients and what is needed. She discusses the number of calories and adjusting your percentage from each of these macronutrients but there is one part that made me laugh out loud. It made me smile from ear to ear so much that I reached out to Lauren to ask if she minded if I used her article in a post her on my blog. She happily (my word not hers because I can’t see why somebody would not want to be featured here) agreed to allow me to reference her post.
Here is my favorite section of her post:
To me, “carbo loading” (would someone explain what a “carbo” is?) happens naturally as you store more carbs (in the new millennium we dropped the “o”) when you’re burning fewer. Another good point made is that you don’t need to increase your calories, just the proportion of carbs, leading up to the race. But there’s an adjacent “good eats” sample day suggesting far from good foods such as bagels, sweetened yogurt, Gatorade, cookies, orange juice, Swedish Fish, chocolate milk oh and for some “easy to digest” fiber black beans and salsa. Now this day may put you in a diabetic coma or nauseate you but it will not make you perform better.
Please click [HERE] to read the entire article.
As the week continues I will make a determination of what I want to do at this race although I have an idea already. I will say that regardless of what I choose I will not be carbo-loading but instead making sure that I stick to my ‘diet’ which has gotten me into a position for peak performance.
Do You Carb Load? If so, the day before or two days before?
What Do You Think I Should Do At This Race? Race or Train?