Tuckered Out

Weekly Mileage: 35.25

Surprisingly, I’m not that sore… I am, however, plumb tuckered out… And although it’s a “good” tuckered out, I just can’t help thinking that I really need to work more on nutrition during the days leading up to and immediately after my long runs. With my next long run in two weeks at 16 miles, it’s time to get serious about eating practice. Yesterday after the run I could literally have eaten continuously all day. It felt like as soon as I put something in my mouth it turned to vapor. I know that some of this is normal, after all, I did just burn through over 2000 calories. But I wonder if there are better things to eat in that first meal after a big run (in general, such as more protein or carbs, etc.) to help in recovery and keep me from staring down every crumb with bad intent.

I don’t know whether I just didn’t pay attention to it last time or I’m obsessing over it too much this time, but I just guess I didn’t fully realize the depth to which you have to “train” for a marathon. And I’m not even CONSIDERING the running part of it. The discipline goes so deep and covers so many levels that it is actually kind of a relief to get out on the trail and run! I am finding that I have to “manage” other aspects of my life far more than I thought I would. Things like when to eat, how much to eat (am I eating enough?) and what to eat (and when to eat it). Re-training my body to go to the bathroom at certain times (yes, you can do this) like BEFORE your long runs. Otherwise the natural pounding and jumping up and down can make your long runs “unpleasant”… if you know what I mean. I have become an unwilling expert on “wicking fabrics” and ponder things like is there such a thing as Coolmax underwear? That would be nice…

Anyway, the point of all this is that when you train for 5Ks it’s all about speed. You are almost anaerobic the entire time if you are pushing it. So your training really focuses on running and your planning is really focused on the individual exercise. Marathon training involves so many things OUTSIDE of running. In a 5K, you can put on your commemorative race shirt, pin on your number and be done with the race before you really break a sweat. In a marathon, you would never do that. The shirt you wear should have been researched and tested over months of training. Why? Because you will live in it for the next 2-5 hours. Chafing, rubbing, scratchy fabric or even the wrong color (black shirt on a hot day, anyone?) can not only cause you discomfort but actually cause you to step off the course and not finish the race because your shirt made you bleed. Speaking of which, some bandaids stick MUCH better than others… do you know which ones? Unfortunately, I do. And don’t even get me started on shorts, undies or socks. It’s AMAZING how important these things become when you are on an unsupported 18 mile run. It’s a long way back to the truck if everything isn’t perfect.

Now… that’s just the outside. Anyone who has run a distance over a mile has had their stomach make “that” noise at some point. It’s usually the only warning you get that eating Mexican food the night before your run probably wasn’t a good idea. Do you know what foods do that to you? For a marathoner, especially a first timer, things like the “Carbo dinner” the night before your marathon are things to be avoided unless you have been eating the exact same thing (or very close to it) for the last 2 months so you know what it does to you. Also, do you know how much water you can drink so that you are hydrated, but not “sloshy”? Can you drink sports drinks during your run or do they upset your tummy? You know you need to put calories back in your body DURING the race, right? What can you take? Gu? Hammer Gel? Gummy runners (Clif Blox)? Bananas? Pizza? I watched an elite cyclist work out on this BRUTAL hill (5 miles long, 7-12% grade), doing repeated sprints to the top. His reward at the top? Mountain Dew (which I would barf right back up all over my $5000 bike… if I had one)…

I guess it’s just far more involved than I thought it was (if you do it right). I’m not complaining… It actually adds to the experience and it’s kinda fun. It’s just that, with all the system checks, wardrobe management, meal planning and all the other stuff that goes into marathon training, sometimes it seems like the run is the easy part…

…sometimes…

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