Oct 25, 2007

post mortem

i've mulled it over and over. and over. the pre-race nutrition and the race day fueling and hydration. what went wrong? here are my thoughts:

  • i ate the same breakfast i had been eating throughout my training. bananna, oatmeal, GU.
  • i was well hydrated going in.
  • i was planning to GU every 6-7 miles since this is what i had been doing in all my training.
  • i took water at every stop. i only train with water. never use sports drinks. this was learned the hard way last year when training for marathon #1. i tried gatorade on a couple of long runs & was thanking my lucky stars that i was within a half mile of a bathroom. zanne + gatorade (while running) = not pretty. although it could be argued that neither is collapsing on the sidewalk.
  • i was unprepared for how difficult it would be to get a good gulp of water while on the run. during training, i'd stop at a fountain to drink. and in all the other races i have done (all local) they hand out tiny little bottles which make drinking on the run easy. in the first few stops, i got more water up my nose or down my front than in my mouth. which made me thirsty. early & the whole time. even so - i think this was less a hydration issue & more of a not enough GU issue. i finally remembered that runner's world article about folding the cup & pouring h20 into mouth. it worked, a little bit. but mostly, i couldn't get a good gulp unless i slowed down significantly & then i'd have to kick it in a bit to catch up with coach.
  • i took my first gu as planned, at mile 7. the 2nd at 14 and the 3rd at 21. in previous races, i would open & take gu fully before i got to h20 stop. i think on sunday, i was opening the packs too late, trying to get as much as i could, fast - then dumping the pack before i got to water. i'm willing to bet i didn't get a full gu pack.

so, even though i did exactly what i did during training, i don't think it was enough. and while water always seemed to get me through my training runs just fine, i think i need to find a sports drink that i can train with (and subsequently run with at the next race) - i can't be at the mercy of whatever is being handed out on the course.

which brings me to my next issue. pre-race nutrition.

coach had wanted me to think about the nutrition in the weeks' prior to the race. when he said that, i went back to him with a list of what i ate. his thought was more along the lines of not what i ate, but how much. huh? how much? it never occured to me. i am usually obssessed with what goes in - always worried about keeping my GI system happy. while i'd do anything for a stomach of steel, i've got GI issues up the wazoo. and while there is always room for my nutritional improvement, i like to think i had been really good this time around in terms of what went in. but, if i really think about the how much went in; well, i'm not as good. coachs' thought was that there are not enough calories going in for the level of training. if i go in to race day with tank less than topped off, i'll get into the negative quickly. so, while i thought it was solely a gu/race day issue, i think that the fact that the tank was not completley topped off going in was the other contributor. it makes perfect sense.

so. i need to find a sports drink i can use during training & during a race. i need to figure out how to increase the calories when the training increases. i need to gu more often during a race. i need to learn to drink water/gels on the run more successfully, without the significant slow down. tips? advice? bring it on.

19 comments:

Gotta Run said...

You have the links I sent you on the sports drink option. Hope it might work for you.

I think coach has hit it on the head. Need more calorie intake leading up to the race. Fuel is key and we all get so busy with last minute race details that we forget about this.

You are on the right track so get going girl. i am eating like a horse right now. Hope it helps me next week!!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Well, Sweetie, I am the furthest from an expert on the running side but I do know a lot about blood sugar. This is what I was thinking about the gu and training while I was reading. I am guessing that your longer runs were slower than marathon pace. Hence the need for more gu sooner when you are really expending.

If it was a blood sugar thing, it wasn't about the water, so you are right on there. A sports drink would help, have you messed around with all the flavors and get the same results? If you do find a flavor you could tolerate, you could do a simple belt and have hubby with full ones to change them out. Have you tried sports beans? They are easier than gu for me but I use both. You can have them in your hand and keep popping a couple in your mouth.

The other thing about blood sugar, it spikes with the carbs, then drops. It spikes quicker with pure sugars like gu, lasts a little longer with more complex carbs (your body has to do the work to turn it to sugar) like oatmeal, pasta, bread. Still you can drop and some people are just really prone to the drop. You might think about mixing in a bar that has complex carbs and protein, gu-ing sooner, doing some complex carbs during the run from a Cliff bar or similar.

I also agree with fueling up in the days prior, especially at the level you are running at and expending energy.

The last thing is, you could try testing your sugar at various times during or after long runs or even after a big dog run to see how low you are getting. You may be able to get more familiar with when you drop and when to gu or even how it feels when you start to get a little low and do something about it. You probably don't need to go this length but it is an option and I would be happy to help you with it if you decide to go that route.

See Zanne Run said...

nancy! you rock ... have to digest this & read about a kabillion times over. saw you have an email link on your blog. will email you. thank you! i got a huge email from vickie too - lots of good advice. keep it coming!! thanks Robin - still have that drink link.

erin said...

ok...you might have thought of this, but maybe keeping a journal of what you eat would help. get out the food scale, the measuring cups and see exactly how many calories you are putting in. see how it effects your energy and your runs. just an idea.

Andria said...

Hmm, I don't have much to add here, but I thank you for sharing all this info with us. I know it will help others with their training.

Tall Girl Running said...

I read a tip once in Runner's World that seemed so obvious, but it had never ocurred to me before. Instead of taking one full GU gel every hour, try consuming half a packet every 1/2 hour. This way, your energy level is maintained constantly throughout the run instead of nearly depleting each time before you replenish. I felt strange downing some GU every three miles during my marathon, but not until the last three miles did I ever start to feel really tired. I think it's certainly an experiment worth trying in training.

Marcus Grimm said...

Nancy's advice is very good - a low blood sugar could just as easily be caused by your body producing too MUCH insulin due to the GU as it could be because of not enough GU.... tall girl's idea about taking half at a time would help.

One other idea: I don't use sports drinks during a race, either - being diabetic, I need to know how many carbs I'm taking and it's too hard to know how much I'm drinking in a race.

So I use e-Gel - it's an energy gel with also contains electrolytes. It's still vital to drink water, because the water is needed to dilute the gel, but you have more flexibility.

Vegan Run Amok said...

No experience with these distances, so no advice, but it sounds like you're figuring it out! Go, Zanne! :)

P.O.M. said...

I'm definately not an expert. However, I am always looking for excuses/reasons to eat more. I never thought carbo-loading was really necessary (even though I did it just so I could pig out). But maybe it's true. Not necessarily the night before, but for the 2 weeks during taper.

Bob Gentile said...

I started with Gatorade but too sugary for me on my long runs..but a sports drink will help ya big time.

My Coach had me switch to HEED by Hammer ...I love it, all natural electrolytes no sugars, big hit for many ultra runners...

also love Sharkies, u can google them another great electrolyte and I think you said it in ur report but good idea to pop a GU right before the race about 15-20mins prior ...sorry no tips on running and drinking ...I don't run that fast --LOL so no problem on that also I drink a lot when I walk :-)

You will figure ur fueling out Suzanne ur way toooo passionate about this sport not too..

Have a great weekend!

See Zanne Run said...

these are all great suggestions - thanks so much everyone!! bob - i love HEED (love anything by Hammer) ... i use it on bike rides & on my mile repeat days its' in my water bottle for between laps. i just never brought it with me on a run cause i don't carry water or wear any sort of fuel belt ... but i am thinking i am going to have to bite the bullet & wear one so i can bring something to races that works & is familiar.

Who is SLB+? said...

I just found your blog through Vanilla at Half Fast and have not had a chance to read back through the posts on your training but Non Runner Nancy has hit a lot of the right buttons here. The basic math is that you body contains roughly 2000 calories; remember a calorie is a measure of energy. You burn, on average, 100 calories a mile, some folks burn less, some more (personally I am around 130) but at 100 per mile this is why the wall looms large at mile 20. The trick is to consume enough that you do not go into the red while running; this means that even if you toe the line with a full tank you’ll need an absolute minimum of 600+ calories to finish. 3 GUs and banana and some oatmeal just ain’t gonna cut it. Check out Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan, (http://tinyurl.com/yp9s46) your coach has hit on it with the quantity question if you were piling in the miles for your training you will probably need to increase you intake significantly before race day; this book is a great guide on how and what to do. The other thing to consider if you having problems with hydration is to carry your own, Fuel Belt, Ultimate Direction and Nathan all make great products, sure they aren’t pretty but their effective, as for what you fill it up with check out this link http://www.trisports.com/drinks.html for some suggestions. Hope that helps and I look forward to reading about Marathon #3

Amanda said...

Some very good advice around these parts, I am taking notes!

Question for you, when did you start working with a coach? Once you started getting more competitive? Is your coach a nutrionist as well?

Laurel said...

I can't drink Gatorade alone. I have to grab a water and a Gatorade and mix it, then drink. Sometimes I would dump a lot of the Gatorade out first. I have a bad stomach too and this little trick has helped me out.

See Zanne Run said...

thanks SLB! ... am thinking that while i hate the thought of a fuel belt .. i may need one! will check out your links ... thanks for visiting!

amanda - i started working with a coach - who happens to be a good friend who has run over 18 marathons - after i ran my 3rd half marathon two years ago & was high as a kite from my pr ... decided then & there i wanted to do a marathon but would need help. and while he's not an official nutritionist - he's a veritable font of running knowledge - my running guru so to speak. i just do what he says. which really needs to now also include reading every word of any reading material he gives me. he had provided me with a couple of nutrition books - but sadly, since i was only concerned with WHAT went in - i only paid attention the the types of foods i should be eating & the ways to cook them. i didn't really pay any attention to all the chapters on calories in / training expected out thing ... even though you have a coach, some things need to be figured out the hard way. lesson learned. what coach says works ... and i'm willing to bet anything that the stuff he gives me to read is meant to be read fully & that works too. i'm still a work in progress. am hoping i have all the pieces together now!

Cynthia said...

also, and i may have told you this, ask jen hess for some ideas since this is all she does (coach marathoners and is a nutritionist) she might have some tips.

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