Half marathons have become very popular lately, creating a challenge hard enough for those not quite ready (or want to) for a full marathon or triathlon. For people just beginning or those looking for better performance, this article is for you. Dietary preparation for long distance running starts a few days before the start of the race, and will be even more beneficial during your weeks in training. Here is your checklist:
- Adequate rest before the race, usually 2-3 days
- Consistent 7-8 hour sleep schedule of waking up early
- Roughly 100-150 grams of carbohydrates (root vegetables, fruit, white rice) each day for 2 days leading up to the race
- A tried and true breakfast before running without acid reflux, nausea or bonking
- A hydration schedule with electrolytes or just water
- A post-workout shake or meal and supplements for repair
What does 100-150 grams of PaleoEdge carbohydrates look like?
1 sweet potato or yukon gold potato: 20 grams
1 banana: 24 grams
Organic Food Bar Protein: 33 grams
1/2 cup blueberries: 11 grams
4 ounces squash: 12 grams
Total= 100 grams
Add these two:
16 ounces coconut water: 16 grams
1.5 oz. raisins OR 5 dates OR 3 dried figs: estimated 34 grams
Total: 150 grams
*There will also be miscellaneous carbs from other foods. Make sure that you consume adequate protein and healthy fat with each meal.
What Should I Eat for Breakfast Before a Half-Marathon?
Everybody is different when it comes to what works best before a run. If you are nervous, then you want to be especially careful not to eat anything too heavy. Generally there are 5 options I recommend. Try each one out and stick with the same one that works for you each time before you run. Give yourself between 1-2 hours before running. If it is hot, sip on your electrolyte drink up until the run.
#2 Smoothie with 8 ounces coconut water and Pure Power Protein.
#4 Banana with almond or sunflower seed butter, 8 ounces of Hammer Heed
#5 Eggs with yams/sweet potatoes. This is for the high burner with an iron clad digestion. Eggs can cause nausea for many and shouldn’t be consumed less than 2 hours before running.
What Supplements Should I Take During Training?
I recommend the following:
Your adaptogen of choice for running. Increases your tolerance to stress, increases stamina, preventions hypoxia, increases free radical protection, improves lung, kidney and adrenal function, speeds recovery… need I say more?
If you find yourself getting leg cramps, you are not getting enough magnesium. I have found that a combination of citrate and malate is the best form of magnesium for muscles. There are many habits that significantly deplete magnesium levels including coffee, alcohol, tea, exercise and stress. A study of 24 individuals found malic acid along with 300 mg magnesium taken two times daily provided significant support in measurements of tenderness and discomfort. It promotes better heart health, glucose control, and the conversion of B6 to its active form for better energy production.
What Supplements Should I Take Before the Half Marathon?
For an early morning race, it is best to keep it simple for your digestion. I recommend cutting the supplements down to just cordyceps and magnesium, then replenishing post-race with your other vitamins.
How Should I Hydrate During the Race?
This will range based on the heat, your sweat loss and the amount of effort being exerted. The rule of thumb is to hydrate every 20-30 minutes, and if you are feeling thirsty, you are getting dehydrated and not drinking enough. Drinks that use fructose or sucrose have a higher incidence of causing cramps during a long distance run, so stay away from cheap, chemically laden, sugary sports drinks. Unless you want to be that guy on the side of the race with a brilliant blue sports drink mustache holding his hamstring and calf. During the actual race, you may only have access to water around each 2 mile mark in the beginning, then more frequent stops during the end.
The 4 Minute Run, 1 Minute Rest Pace
If you are like me and come from a sprinting background, a consistent jogging pace can be challenging and frustrating to maintain. I started wondering if I could actually run a faster mile pace by doing a faster jog /walk pace, mainly because I was so bad at keeping a solid pace over the 2 mile mark. Some of you have probably seen these people constantly passing you and then falling behind as you keep a nice steady pace (they probably drive you crazy, so I apologize in advance for possibly putting more on the road). I experimented with a fast jog/walk pace, and it turns out that I feel like I can go a lot faster, it prevents muscle fatigue and keeps my lungs strong. It’s just like taking breaks in-between sets of body weight or weight training. It turns out that there is an approach being used that has you run for 4 minutes and rest for 1 minute. Something to think about, but if you have trained like I have my whole life, this might be a better approach for you to reach your goal.
Pose or Chi Running
If you are having trouble with shin splints or knee/hip problems, you should check out Chi running.
Good luck and let me know how you did!