Fueling and Rest


Workout – oh, friends, you already know the answer to this.  nothing.  no workout.  all rest and peace and quiet and lazy days here this week.  that’s completely not true.  truth be told – there is no such thing as rest in this mommy world of mine.  everyday is kind of like a mini tornado, whirling wildly through life.  or maybe it’s just Luke that is the mini tornado.  and adorable, lovable, you just want to smother with kisses kind of tornado.  either way – rest eludes me.  when I need it the most.  rest eluded me last night from the hours of 1-3am when the mini tornado decided not to sleep but to scream like a banchi for God only knows why.  the one week where I had grand plans of going to bed promptly at 9pm and not waking a moment before 6am.  not happening.  but I’m staying out of the gym.  like a good taper-er.

I’m really excited for this marathon.  really.  it’s not just because I get to stay in a hotel.  alone.  without children to get ready for bed.  without children to wake me.  or people to make breakfast for.  It’s a mini 12 hour vacation with a 26.2 miler tacked on the end.  I’ll do that for a night of peace and quiet.  whatever it takes.  I can’t think of anything more fun to do on a Saturday morning.  especially since I missed 2 of my 3 planned 20+ milers.  and I’m not going to think about that little hiccup in the training plan anymore. I love my dear children to pieces and I will love them more when I see them at the starting line on Saturday morning.  We were all going to drive to the race Saturday morning.  I put the kibosh on that pretty quickly after it was mentioned.  It’s almost a 2 hour drive and there’s a lot of bathroom business that has to happen before a race.  I do not need to be sitting in a car for 2 hours before I run.  hotel reservation was made.  exciting. 

There is so much anticipation that goes into a race, of any length.  at least for me.  It’s exciting to see what is going to come of all of the training and running (and 3 weeks of cross training and not running).  and then to finish and have this moment of it’s done.  now what the heck am I going to do.  regroup and start training for the next one.  exhilarating.  more exhilarating if I run the race I want to run and can move on to another goal time.  that would be fantastic.

As much as I have missed running these past few weeks, tapering is conducive to certain activities.  Like showering in the morning and not walking around like a sweaty monster.  that’s fun.  I feel like a human being this week.  I’m finding clothes I didn’t realize I had.  hidden behind my sweaty running skirts and tanks.  I’m going to TJ Maxx and finding things I didn’t know I needed but will be a welcome part of the shoe family.

iphone pics 612

and I even fit into a 9 1/2 .  that’s exciting.

It’s also conducive to stalking McMillan again.  and playing the mental game of I’m going to PR big time…nope, not gonna happen…I’m going to hit my goal time…nope, not in a million yearsstay positive and think happy thoughts and you can do anything you put your mind to even if your shins are being pissy…fun.

Tapering gives me time to think about the logistics of the race.  this usually leaves me stressed and uncertain, but I actually haven’t given it much thought yet and don’t feel too stressed.  and that is kind of starting to make me anxious.  It’s Tuesday night and I don’t have a clue as to what my plan is for things like fuel and which sneakers I should wear.  more importantly, which lululemon skirt I should showcase. 

there’s this one…speed skirt

hartford marathon

I don’t know why it looks like I am walking here…I really am running a marathon and not pretending to be a celebrity waving to my adoring fans 

or this skirt….

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or this one….

marathon skirt

big, important decisions.  give me 36 hours and I will be a stressball.

Let’s talk about FUEL

I had two marathons last fall.  October and November.  I fueled two completely different ways during both races, and had a far better outcome at the second race.  4 weeks after the first one.  I took 6 minutes off my time.  and didn’t run in between.  Here’s what I did…

Race #1 – I relied on Hammer Gel, apple cinnamon flavor and sport beans. The only thing I could tolerate at the time.  I got to a point where I would literally gag as soon as I started taking any gu.  I took the hammer gel at miles 4.5, 13 and 18, and couldn’t keep the last one down at mile 22.  I took the sport beans at mile 9.  Those things are just a pain for me to take while running.  I can’t chew them and run at the same time.  same with the chomps and candy, all that fun stuff.  I will choke.  or aspirate them into my lungs.  it’s not pretty.  and I really need to drink a lot of water to wash them down, which isn’t always accessible – not as much with the gu’s and gels.  I did stop at most water stations to drink a dixie cup of water.  I wanted to die at the end of this race.  might be a slight exaggeration.  but I was pretty miserable.  I was sick to my stomach and spent most of the rest of the day in the bathroom or passed out on the couch, nauseous.  so attractive.  I couldn’t eat or drink anything all day.   Finish time – 3:17 

Race #2 – very similar course to Race #1.  I wanted nothing to do with Gu’s or hammer gels.  They were offering cytomax on the course.  That’s what I did.  I choked down 1 gel at mile 4 or 5.  and then took a cup of cytomax and a water everytime it was at an aid station.  I did not get hungry.  and I did not hit the wall as bad as I did in the disaster that happened the month before.  I finished and ate so much food just because I could.  I was on cloud 9.  I felt great and drove the 5 hours home about an hour after I finished.  Finish time – 3:11 

I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick with a fueling plan similar to Race #2.  I don’t think I am able to consume the water that my body needs to flush those gu’s through my system.  It is better for me to get the energy through liquid form, if I can.  That way my stomach is not all sorts of angry from that gel sitting in it and not getting used properly.  Gansett marathon offers Gatorade on the course.  sounds good to me.

The Runner’s Body, put out by Runner’s World magazine, has some interesting things to say about fueling.  It is pretty common knowledge that carbohydrates are the #1 source of fuel for our muscles for exercise and running.  mainly because it is easily accessible and easily converted into usable energy.  When the glucose runs out, it’s pretty tough for your body to keep going.  and the glucose does run out.  too quickly for an event like a marathon.  But, if your body were able to use fat as fuel, there is virtually a limitless supply of energy in your body, even the leanest of elite marathon runners.  The only problem is that fat is not as easily accessible or as easily converted into energy for the muscles to use.  that is unless we train our bodies to use fat, then it can become more readily available for use as fuel for running.  Endurance training and High fat diets are two strategies The Runner’s Body talks about to help your body adapt to using fat as energy. 

Both of these strategies require time and training for your body to adapt and learn how to fuel with fat.  I’m in no position to run a race using that energy system, at this point in my training.  but, it is a direction I would like to head – especially with ultra events on the horizon.  I am going to expound upon the ‘fat for fuel’ strategy in another post – I just thought it was interesting to note that carbs and gu’s and gels may not be the be all and end all for race fueling.  It interests me because I really don’t tolerate the sugary sweet gus and drinks very well along a marathon course.

And it is now my bedtime.  that’s all the nonsense I could pull out of my brain.  And if you are still with me after this utterly boring and rambling post – I thank you.  bear with me this week.  I’ll try to keep things as coherent as possible. 

I have a run planned for tomorrow.  I’m not sure what kind, how long, or where, but I’m planning on it being fantastic and uplifting and a shiny, sparkly, happy kind of pre-race run.


What do you like to use for fuel during long runs?

Have you ever used the McMillan calculator?

What is your favorite pre-race meal?

How are your workouts/runs going this week?

About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

7 responses »

  1. I also love going to marathons because it means resting kid free at the hotel. Enjoy it! I only fuel for runs longer than 15 miles and then I use Carb boom gels. The vanilla orange and apple flavors have worked well for me without upsetting my stomach.

    I LOVE the McMillan calculator. I stalk it pre marathon :).

    Pre race I eat a light dinner (but huge lunch) of anything really. I only avoid dairy and fiber pre race.

    Still resting my torn calf. Have a great race! Will be cheering for you!!

    • Thanks for the well wishes! I hope your calf is healing up nicely. I think I’m going to go see a sports doc after this race just to make sure I don’t have anything major going on with this right leg! Have a great day!!

  2. I would love to hear more about this using fat as fuel theory…it makes sense. I only run half marathons, but have never taken a GU, only a shot block or two. This year I’m changing it up and going to try gels, because like you said, it’s hard to chew while attempting to run fast.

    • I had never really taken anything for my half marathons, and even then it would be half a gu at mile 8. Last spring I took a Gu at mile 4, 9 and I think part of one at 11- I think it really made a difference taking them and getting them in early. I will definitely talk more about fat as fuel in another post- its very interesting!

  3. I have so much to say!!…
    ~we could be race outfit TWINS!
    I have all 3 of these skirts and LOVE the new marathon kick’n shorts in the third one (my mom just sent me a Lulu package for my birthday) I ran in it yesterday and laughed because the skirt part just flies up the entire time 🙂 <–no complaints on showing a little leg!
    ~Your training pre-injury was SO solid I have not doubt you CAN and WILL rock this Marathon…I firmly stand by the idea that everything happens for a reason, maybe this injury came along at the perfect time to aid your TAPER, who knows how many miles you would be stompin' down if you felt 100% (and I know you WILL feel 100% come race morning) a night alone in a hotel is going to help you feel SO SO good!
    ~FUEL during distance races is UGHHH to me…Gu's and shot-blocks give me side-aches…and I hate to drink while racing! I have been reading so many reviews about fasted training, adding in higher fat, then low fat and on and on ideas about how to train your body to "make it's own fuel"…I've be playing around with it since February, I'll have to email you because thats a crazy amount of word-age 🙂
    …no I don't ever look at McMillan's pacing chart, I don't want him messing with my mental game!
    I'm already cheering for you for this weekend!! keep up the taper, and don't stress!

    • You’re awesome:) the vote of confidence helps A LOT!!! Thank you!! You know, those silly little ‘phantom pains’ start creeping in and it adds to the stress of having not run for a few weeks- but I’m excited! I would love to hear your thoughts on fat for fuel- I only know what I’ve learned from The Runners Body – but I know that I do not require a ton of fuel or fluid for long runs- especially in mild weather. I didn’t use any fuel for any long runs in training, so that was my start in teaching my body to use fat, as well as slowing down the long run pace. I have also increased the healthy fats in my diet- I’m excited to learn more about it and implement it into any ultra marathons I do. I hope your training and crazy busy life is going well!!! And there is nothing better than a whole lulu package! My mom got me a gift card to there for my bday…yours is coming up, or already passed- either way, happy birthday!! Have a great day!! xo


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