Nine weeks to go till the marathon and Charlotte is STAAAARVVIINNG!
Name: Charlotte Thomas
Marathon History: Brighton Marathon 2012, 3.46
Goal: sub 3.45
What I learnt this week: Running is much more fun without a cold.
Are you marathon training? Are you hungry? Because I am, I’m absolutely bloody starving.
One of my happy memories of marathon training last year was the ability to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, yet keep losing weight. In fact, it got to the point where I was actively trying to keep the pounds on. Aaaahh, those halycyon days.
This year though, until the past fortnight, I hadn’t been feeling hungry. It was a bit disappointing. Then I started hitting the 14, 15, 16 mile training runs. Wham, ravenous. And not just the day of the long run either but for two, three even four days after. I wake up hungry, I leave meetings because my stomach’s grumbling, if I haven’t eaten in the past hour I get grumpy, surly and fantasise about eating my companion’s head. I have become a teenage boy.
And I haven’t lost any weight either. This is because my food choices tend to be those of a teenage boy too. Being constantly hungry is a time-consuming business, if you’re out and about and hunger strikes it’s all too easy to pop to the shop for salt and vinegar square crisps and a big bar of Green & Blacks. Post long run I tend to go straight to Sainsbury’s where the apres-run hunger monster means I buy lots of easy to tear into snacks and quick cook meals offering a speedy calorie hit – fruit loaf, cereal bars, potato waffles and spaghetti hoops, err more chocolate and crisps. Basically, crap.
Hitting race weight
Stupid isn’t it. Especially because I actually want to lose 5lbs before race day. I’m not overweight but according to a feature in January’s Runner’s World my optimal race weight is 8 stone and with training going the way it is I need all the help I can get. (Sorry, they haven’t put this feature online yet I checked.)
All this crap eating madness is going to end though. This week I went to a marathon training day at Nuffield Health’s swanky City Fitness and Wellbeing Centre. There were talks about reducing injury risk, running faster and, the one that really struck home, nutrition.
Nutritional therapist Abigail Seward gave a very interesting chat about nutrition for runners. As she said, optimum performance isn’t possible without optimum health and you need to fuel your body to run and stay healthy through your day-to-day diet. Plus, eat the right kind of foods in the right amounts and you shouldn’t feel so hungry all the time. Here’s a handy pyramid to help you out with that.
All very sensible but what about when post-run hunger strikes (sound like a breakfast cereal advert there don’t I?) and only a bag of chips will do?
Apparently the reason you get so goddam ravenous after a long run is that for 1.5 to two hours your body runs off both its glycogen and fat stores. After two hours your glycogen stores deplete meaning you can feel weak and tired – ie hitting the wall. On longer runs energy gels and drinks should help keep your levels higher.
And when you finish, instead of reaching for the crisps and chocolate (or fry up) try and eat a healthy snack instead, ideally within 45 minutes. The snack should include protein for muscle repair, starchy carbs to replenish glycogen stores and vegetables or fruit for antioxidants and fibre. Some of Abigail’s suggestions include:
Post-run fuel ideas
- A wholegrain bagel with peanut butter and a banana.
- A smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit, natural yoghurt and chia seeds.
- Porridge and raisins or a handful of trail mix and a glass of fruit juice.
Sound good don’t they. Just a shame pickled onion Space Raiders didn’t make the cut.
Oooh, I got new trainers this week. Nike Flyknit Lunar1+. Expensive beasts but I love them. Was a bit worried they were a bit of a ‘fashion’ shoe but running guru Sam ensured me he’d been running in his for a couple of weeks and was a big fan. Light and bouncy. Superb.
Weekly training statistics: 33 miles/53.1km
40 min spin session at Cyclebeat
5 mile tempo hill session at SRC
7 mile easy run
1.5 mile jog, 6 x hill sprints (1.5 mile), 1.5 mile jog
16.5 mile run slow
Read Charlotte’s previous marathon training blogs here