Monday, September 8, 2008

Take One...

After talking with Bob last week and reading the recent posts by Wes I realized even more that I must address the nutrition strategies during these next 4 weeks of long runs to get my game plan down for MMTR. Thanks guys!

Some may recall that I had tons of stomach issues last year and now this year I have had none. In truth I have not had any because I take in very little calories during my long runs and as a result my body really does not have to work at processing anything. Stupid strategy. Now that I am getting into even longer long runs I cannot run on nothing and the bonking is raring it’s nasty head towards the last few miles each week.

This past Saturday I staged a plan and packed my cooler with what would be “take one” of my planning. My plan was to continue with alternating my liquids from water to cytomax as I always have. This has worked well for me so I saw no need to change it. What would be different it that after our first loop I would take in a high calorie protein drink with tons of potassium. Very much like the boost or ensure but not so much of a milk based product.

So here is how it unfolded….
With loop one completed I drank half of the bottle. The stop was rather quick and before you knew it we were back on the trail. It took about 2 or 3 miles for the trouble to really begin. Cramping grew stronger and stronger until I had to stop and walk for a minute. Not knowing what would happen I decided to run as much as possible to get back to the car. Let me just say that it was not enjoyable and I was more nauseated than anything upon our return to the car. After more than a 15 minute pit stop I was able to get a ton of water down and even managed to get to crackers down.

It was at this point that I decided to finish my last 10 miles on the roads in the State park rather than on the trails. I felt like I had more control of my pace and it kept me somewhat closer to the car. I did not get up at 5:15am in the morning to ditch my long run only to have to make it up the next day. Again… not the best long run but the miles were done.

Now I am working on “take two” for this weekend’s 24 mile run. Three more weeks to try and get my game plan down.



Wes said...

A couple of things. One, make sure you are getting enough water. You should be getting in 20-24 oz of water per hour (plus a sports drink). I know that's a lot, but your body sends water to your stomach to help in digestion, and that causing cramping.

You also, never want to put more than 2-300 calories into your stomach at a time. This is all your body can absorb in 20-30 minutes of running. Now, you don't weigh as much as I do, so your mileage might vary, but you need to be careful of having to many carbs in your stomach. This will make you nauseous and your stomach upset. You may need to eat more often, but fewer calories while you are running.

All of this stuff is what my coach tells me. I'm no expert as I'm still trying to figure this crap out myself :-)

Way to persevere on your long run!! Cramps be damned!!!!

Marcy said...

OMG I can feel your pain. Oh gawd nutrition on the go is the WORST. I'm like a poop pirate over here (Wow, I probably should not have said that out loud) because I eat so bad and all the wrong things :-X

Hang in there Robin, you'll get this baby nailed down ;-)

Anonymous said...

I too try to take in as little as possible to prevent stomach issues. I have been getting better and working on it. It is definitely trial and error. At least you have some time to test things out.

Great attitude with finishing the long run too!

Runner Mom said...

Bless your heart! I am so sorry! Wes has some pretty good advice that I may need to try as well. You will do it!!

Love ya,

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted about this. For the first time ever, I'm starting to get stomach cramps on my long runs. ugh!

Good luck - I bet you will nail it before the big day :-)

ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, I too used to be someone who did most of their long runs on nothing much but water. Even ran my first marathon pretty much that way with the exception of a little Gatorade. But I'm sure it wouldn't for an ultra and esp. not the one you're planning to do.

I've found that figuring out the nutrition part for longer races to be much more difficult than doing the distance training. But it's actually more than just finding what your stomach to handle. It's also training your stomach to handle things it needs. There are things that I couldn't stomach at first that I can now. There are also some things that I still can't.

Keep working on it!

teacherwoman said...

Good luck with figuring out the proper nutrition. I haven't done miles like that before, so I am sure I would be of no help! Wes, however, sounds like he knows his sh*t. I would take his advice! :)

Mendy said...

Hope you figure it out, Robin. That sucks about your tummy issues last weekened. I think your strategy sounds like you've thought it out a lot.

See Zanne Run said...

oh girl. you gotta eat. you can't be going into these things on a calorie deficit. that's how yours truly wound up in an ambulance at mile 22 of a marathon.

stay hydrated & try adding coconut water to your regime. more potassium than a banana - all natural, no added sugars or stuff you can't pronounce. (if you dont like coconut - no worries, it doesnt taste like it) it's usually recommended to fend off stomach & ibs issues and my husband swears it staves off muscle cramps on his long bike rides.

larabars. clementines. heed. real food.

J~Mom said...

I hope take two goes better!! You are so smart to practice it!

SLB said...

Ok this might turn in the longest comment in Blogger history but here goes. Building out on what everyone has said. You need to consume 200-300 calories per hour, you body simply can’t digest any more than that and keep moving. As you muscle glycogen is used up roughly 18-20 miles in you body will start to shut down non essential functions, digestion is one of them – that’s why liquids are easier to stomach, excuse the pun, than solids.

You can double dip on your fuel; sports drink and gel for examples rather than water and a gel/food. I find mixing up different sports drinks is easier on the palate, 10 hours of Perpetuem just about killed mine and I was craving something fresh, for me Sprite at the Aid Stations was working and when I reached my drop bag I had a cool bag with some Amino Vital (Lemon/Lime) which cleaned my mouth out.

You also need to consider your electrolytes, I use Endurolye tablets but you can use powder otherwise look at Alcer products, to much water while you’re sweating will dilute the remaining electrolytes in your system, upset the balance and make you feel at best wonky at worst like a bag of crap!

The other thing you’ll encounter is real food, if it works for you go for it; personally I found the things that hit the spot were Pringles, plain M&Ms and the potato/salt thing but only in moderation.

You could also consider the liquid food route, I had one Ensure every 10 miles, in fact at one AS I had two and that made me feel a bit queasy for an hour or so, but it’s a very easy way of getting calories into your system.

Obviously there are multiple schools of thought; think Karl Meltzer who has three gels and hour every hour for 24 hours! And Karno who has a pizza delivered halfway round. You need to find what works for you and the practicing will help. Check out Monique Ryan’s book, I know Wes put it back on the shelf but it’s a great resource and order Don Allison’s book of of UltraRunner Magazine again a great resource.

I know you’ll figure it out. ;-)

Jarrett said...

Thanks for this. It will give me something more to think about while I train for a marathon.

I guess I never really thought about liquid calories. That's a pretty good idea.

Anonymous said...

I have the same trouble as you know. Drinking a protein shake I imagine very hard. how about something dry? that works much better for me. Eat a cliff bar, or Kashi bar. Also, this might sound really unhealthy, but for me drinking coke instead of any energy drinks works great. Also, I am thinking more and more that some people might not need calories as much as others. If pretzels, water and coke works, why change it? But that's just me.

Keep us posted!