But today, I have something on my mind, and it's not stress - it's pure excitement!!!
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...
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:
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:
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