First off, I greatly appreciate all your heartfelt comments on my last post when I ranted a bit about my stress levels.  It really helped to read through your suggestions and personal experiences with stress, so thank you!!

But today, I have something on my mind, and it's not stress - it's pure excitement!!!
Yep, my half marathon is only a week away!  I'm literally about to bubble over with excitement (is it wierd that I'm referencing oatmeal to convey my excitement?).  As you might know or have guessed, the last week (or sometimes longer) of training before a marathon/half marathon is extra special.  So I thought I would share my plan of action for the next seven days, including my fueling plan during the half marathon.

In terms of running, I'm planning on doing my final long run tomorrow (the actual distance I go will depend on how I'm feeling, but I'm thinking 10 or 11 miles).  I definitely will try very hard not to push myself too much on this run so I don't ware myself out.  That's the last thing I want!  Monday will be off from running as always, and then Tuesday: 4 miles, Wednesday: 3 miles, and Thursday: 2 miles.  All of these runs will hopefully be light, slower runs - again, just to keep me in shape and not tire me out.  I have my core body class Monday and Wednesday, but I've already talked to my instructor, and I'm going to be extra careful to not push myself when we do our legs portion of the workout. (Side note: I'm super sore from our intense leg workout this past Wednesday, and I'm kind of loving it.  Maybe I could get into strength workouts if I was able to always do them with other people?!  Funny, I though I was an introvert exerciser. :P)

Now the food aspect of next week is where this bad boy starts to get interesting.  First, starting today, I am embarking on a week long caffeine fast.  The reason for this is that it is supposed to enhance the effect of caffeine come race day.  Now I'm not a coffee drinker, so this isn't a huge deal for me, but I will be avoiding chocolate which, I'm not going to lie, is kind of going to suck.  Oh the things I put myself through for the sake of running... Seriously, it is going to be the hardest part of training.  Ten mile runs?  No big deal.  No chocolate?  What am I doing with my life?!

The second big change is that beginning tomorrow after my long run, I will attempt a five day fat load.  I say attempt because it is recommended that you do a three day fat loading trial run earlier in your training to see if your body can handle it, but I never got around to doing that.  I know, I know, shame on me!  So I'll be easing myself into it and see how it goes.  I'm supposed to get 65% of my calories from fat so maybe I'll start with about 50% and see how it goes, or even just be conscious of eating extra amounts of fat.  It's just an experiment after all!  Supposedly, fat loading increases the body's use of fat as fuel and decreases its reliance on carbs.  That way the day of carb loading before the race has more effect because your body won't immediately use the carbs, will save more for the next day, and won't deplete you glycerin stores as quickly during the actual run.  Or something to that effect.  Foods recommended for the fat load that I will be consuming are Greek yogurt, avocados, nuts, and cheese.  Obviously my diet will include other things as well, but these are foods with a large number of their calories coming from fat.  The most exciting part was that I had to go to the grocery store to get some avocados and yogurt - I was reunited with my love once more.  And obviously couldn't stick to just the avocados and yogurt...
Bananas (the were only 19 cents each so I had to stock up!), carrots, avocados, cucumber, coconut oil spray, all-purpose seasoning, olives (another food that gets a lot of its calories from fat), egg whites, Greek Yogurt (I tub of full fat and a tub of 2% as well as some flavored ones for after the fat load), eggplant hummus, tomato and basil hummus, whole grain bread, and dried cranberries.

The day before the half marathon is going to be all about the carbs.  It is recommended to have 10g per kg of body weight so I will need to consume over 500g of carbs.  I'm going to lie, I don't think this will be easy. With the fat load, I'm not too worried if I can't reach the full 65%, but I know that carbs really do enhance running performance from personal experience, so I'm really going to try to get in as much as I can.  I already get a fair amount of carbs on a day-to-day basis, and I have no fear of them, but I don't think I ever come close to that much!  I'm thinking of supplementing a couple meal with orange juice and having bananas as snacks in addition to carb heavy meals.  Any tips on how to get extra carbs would be appreciated!

My pre-run dinner, however, I know exactly what it's going to be.  It's the same meal that I've had before my previous two long runs, and so far it's given me lots of energy and settled well.  Here's the name of the game:
White rice + corn + chickpeas + soy sauce (because I've also read positive things about sodium loading), broccoli, and an orange or orange juice depending on what's available.

There are a few reasons for this meal.  Most importantly, high carbs.  It is also recommended to have low fiber and protein in pre-run meals, but I find that I need both of those for my food to settle properly.  The other is that due to being at the mercy of the cafeteria, I need to be sure that I have a meal I know they will have every night so that I can be confident in my food choice pre-race night.  Best to stick to the tried and true!

Breakfast will be another tried and true classic - bread with peanut butter and a banana.  Again, pre-run meals are suggested to be low in fiber and protein, but this breakfast has a great record of sitting well in my stomach and fueling me through runs.  If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

During the race, I will be fueling with these:
These were recommended to me by Brittany, and I love them!  They're soooo tasty, and I do notice a little difference when I use them.  I will be starting the half with half a pack and then having another half pack every four miles (except for possibly at mile 12 since I'll almost be finished).  At leas that's my plan.  I'm willing to deviate if necessary!  But it worked well in my simulator run.  Supposedly you need at least 30g of carbs per hour to get any effect from them so this will give me at least 36g per hour (if I don't do anything at mile 12).  I mostly just wanted to make sure I did them at an even mile number because there will only be water stations every two miles.

Now, let's talk about times.  Honestly, I have now time "goal."  My only goal is to finish it, which I really don't think will be a problems as my longer runs have gone pretty well.  That being said, I think I can finish in 2:15.  Again if it takes me two and a half hours, so be it!  But I think the 2:15 is reasonable.

Note: the information about the food aspects of the final week come from Matt Fitzgerald's The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition.


If you have actually managed to stick with me through this, congrats!  I think that was the longest post I have every written!  But writing it has made even more excited.  I still can't get over the notion that in a week, I will be a half marathoner!  At the same time, I'm also a bit sad that it's almost ever... but then I can start training for another one. ;-)

Thank you all for your love and support through this experience!  It truly means the world to me. <3
 


Comments

09/21/2013 18:22

Woohoo! So excited for you:) you have it all planned out so good! When I ran one I just went with whatever haha. You'll do great! And I really like how well you explained everything. Made perfect sense!

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09/21/2013 20:20

It feels like it was yesterday that you first made the decision to this- and its so soon! I really admire all your logic and methods put in place to ensure your properly ready for it- you really need to be commended!

It grinds my gears seeing some bloggers fuelling techniques for marathons.... Anyway I'm intrigued to see how the fat loading goes but more importantly, you absolutely blitzing it!

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I am running my first half marathon (Nike Women's half in San Fran -oohh the hills!) in about a month and I have never even heard of any of these techniques (except the carb loading), but now I feel like I should look more into them haha! This is such a great post - good luck with your run! Also I just found your blog and I love it -looking forward to hearing more!

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09/22/2013 19:58

Good luck!! You can do it!! :D

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09/22/2013 20:38

I think I could probably live off fat loading lol...Sounds like you've got a great plan of action. Wishing you the best of luck Alex! Keep us posted on race day :)

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09/22/2013 21:05

Look at you with everything all organized and planned out :) I could never consider running even a half marathon so I always am impressed with those who not only run, but plan it all out to run them well! I'll be cheering for you from afar come race day :)

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Wow!! Fat loading? Never heard of that... well basically bc I don't do marathons lol. Sounds super interesting and fun, food wise! Good luck with it and just in case, good luck on your marathon! :)

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I am super impressed at how prepared you are! So excited for you and it sounds like you're going to do amazing, good luck on race day!

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09/23/2013 12:40

You have all your stuff down packed! I'm so excited for you and I know you're going to do great. Being that it's 9:39 am and I still haven't had anything to eat, I'm staring at all your healthy snacks and wanting to just graze all day.

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09/23/2013 15:21

I really like hearing about how you go about planning your pre-race fueling. Quite interesting! I think peanut butter, banana and bread is like 99% of bloggers' breakfast on the day of races. Lol.

Good luck and make sure to report back on how you feel with all of those fat/carb loading stages :)

Oh... and report back on how you do with the race too of course ;)

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I would consider myself an introvert when it comes to exercising but I really enjoy group fitness classes. You don't necessarily have to interact with one another yet you can feed off the energy of others.

Good luck on your half! That nutrition plan sounds a little crazy but as long as you are getting healthy fats (which it looks like you are) than it isn't so bad.

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09/24/2013 05:37

Not leaving anything to chance, sounds like you're all over the meal planning :P

You'll do great! Have fun, enjoy yourself and run like a boss :)

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09/24/2013 15:49

AHHH IT'S HERE!! THE TIME HAS COME! I cannot believe it's almost half time. I AM SO EXCITED!! I am also super jazzed you love the shot bloks, they are my favorite!! You are going to rock this race so hard, and your food plan sounds PERFECT! CARBS and water baby!

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09/24/2013 21:08

You are going to have a blast at this half :)! For a minute I thought you were going to be running the marathon because you posted the logo, haha.

And that pre-run dinner? What can beat the power of chickpeas, broccoli and rice?! :D

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09/25/2013 08:30

I am SO excited for you Alex! I can't believe your race is so close. That's seriously so exciting!! I could totally deal with some fat loading. I mean loads of peanut butter? I'm in! Your pre race fuel and schedule is perfect! You're going to do amazing!

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09/25/2013 08:40

i'm so glad you posted this because i've been wondering about 'carb loading' pre-race too. i've never done a race before and have no idea how to carb load so this really helps!

good luck with your race!!

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09/25/2013 20:37

Giving up chocolate? waaaat?????
Just wanted to wish you all the best during your race!
Your prerace dinner looks so good, I think I wanna have it for dinner myself - even though am not doing a half marathon tomorrow morning :)
Good luck lady and cannot wait to hear all about it!

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