If I’ve learned anything from social media/fitness accounts, it’s that people want to know WHAT you are doing and HOW you are doing it! So here’s a peek at what I’m up to.
I’m currently prepping for my fourth half marathon which takes place this October.
While I’m no pro, I do have a pretty good system for getting ready to complete a long run. This prep starts the night before where I usually have a larger dinner, drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol), and get a good night’s sleep.
No matter what type of activity you do, the actual working out part is only half the battle. You must eat to perform well, and diet is a HUGE factor in your success. It has taken me a long time to figure out what my body responds best to, and how to effectively train myself. The following outline is what works for me, but each person is different and will have their own system of eating/training for a big run. Personally I need carbs, and lots of them, to successfully run 15, 20+ kilometers at any given time. I average about 200 grams of carbs per day, and will add to that on my long run days depending on the distance covered.
So, after saying all that, what does my long run day LOOK like? Let’s say it’s a Sunday and I’m preparing to run 20K, here’s my day:
Early Wake Up: (Normally around 6am) and drink 2 cups of water.
Breakfast: (2 Hours Pre-Run) I keep this meal focused on carbohydrates and protein with minimal fats. Typical macro breakdown of 40-50g Carb/ 0-7g Fat/ 20-30g Protein. Think protein pancakes, french toast, or English muffin with nut butter. I’ll also have a hot cup of tea with this meal.
1 Hour Pre-Run: Finish 1-2 more cups of water and I’m now cut off (Too much too soon before running will result in me ducking into the woods to pee and I don’t have time for that haha!)
30 Minutes Pre-Run: Warm up and Stretch. I usually do some glute activation moves (hip thrusts and single leg thrusts), hip openers/mobility (leg swings, piriformis stretch, hip flexor stretches, etc.) and maybe add some jump rope to get my heart rate going.
15 Minutes Pre-Run: Time to suit up, pee five times (minimum, not kidding!), and give myself a short pep talk before heading out the door.
I allot the next 2 hours for my run with time to walk and do light stretches at the end. I usually have water with me on my belt, and some energy chews to have along the way if I feel like I’m getting tired.
~~Now to refuel~~
Immediately Post Run: Water, Coffee, and Snack. This is usually something high in carbohydrates, low in fat (macro breakdown of 40-60g Carb/ 0-10g fat/ 10-15g Protein). I prefer donuts, cookies, energy bars, etc. They may sound like “unhealthy” foods, but at this point, giving my body simple carbs is perfect to start restoring my glycogen levels, and having something with a higher sugar content is pretty much perfect for that.
20 Minutes Post-Run: Stretching begins. I spend roughly 30 minutes foam rolling and working on my hips and flexors. I add more moves from my pre-run stretch with longer holds and more reps. If I have an area that is particularly more painful I’ll take extra time to ice it and work out the knots.
1.5-2 Hours post run: After some rest and cleanup I’m ready for a meal! This is when I start to add more fats to my day. (Macro breakdown is roughly 40-50g Carb/ 10-15g Fat/ 30-40g Protein). If I didn’t have pancakes earlier, I have them now and add some nut butter. Otherwise I’ll do a lean protein with vegetables, a wrap with cheese, or scrambled eggs with vegetables.
Mid-day Snack: Usually a protein bar with coffee. I’ll pretty much just eat what I feel like at this point and keep it higher in protein, moderate fat and carbs (approximately 20-30g Carb/ 10g Fat/ 20-30g Protein).
Dinner: Depending how the day goes I’ll typically mimic my lunch and have stir fry with lean meat, loaded sweet potatoes, flat bread pizza, etc. If I struggled a lot, am extremely tired, or just want a break, take out is at the top of my list and I’ll eat whatever I want 🙂 This meal is usually high in carbs and fat (roughly 50-60g Carb/ 30g Fat/ 30g Protein), and I simply don’t worry about it. The body needs to be replenished from such a huge energy expenditure, and I don’t want to starve it in any way by withholding food and liquids it wants/needs.
Night Snack: I always have a snack before bed. I go by how I feel and what my body wants. Normally it’s moderate carbs (20g) and fat (10-15g) through having some cereal with nut butter, pretzels, or popcorn.
And that wraps it up! The numbers shown are simply guidelines I use, and in most cases I just make sure to drink lots of water, hit my minimum protein goal, and give myself lots to eat throughout the day. Extra stretching and foam rolling will be done in the evening if I feel it’s needed (which it usually is), and follow it up with another good sleep.
‘Til next time…