I can't even remember when I started focusing on putting protein in my mouth every time I was eating a carbohydrate. Now I realize I should have been thinking about this the other way around: whenever I'm eating a protein I need to ensure I'm also biting into a carb.
I learned this the other night when I was meeting with sports nutritionist Sue James, who's working with me on my fuel and hydration plan as I begin my marathon training. Simply put, we need carbs to synthesize protein, and protein synthesis is essentially the creation of new muscle tissue that is damaged or lost during exercise.
Carbs also fuel your body with glycogen and glycogen stores in your liver and muscles. Glycogen readily converts to glucose and is used as an immediate source of energy during exercise. Glycogen is such a clutch fuel source and depleting glycogen stores in the muscle can have a significant effect on performance. If you don't replenish glycogen stores immediately with carbohydrates the body will find other ways to make glucose - the liver will break down fat and protein, for example, but this doesn't happen quickly, so you can push through at that point but not for long and not without pain. For more information on this, check out TrainingPeaks' The Importance of Carbohydrates and Glycogen for Athletes.
Sue looked at my food journal and made simple adjustments to get me started and to help with my long run tomorrow morning. I told her I've been hitting a wall between 8 and 10 miles, making it super difficult for me to visualize crossing a finish line at 26 miles at any point in the future.
For tomorrow's run, Sue wants me to weigh myself both before and after the run; the weight should be the same. If it's not, for every 1 pound lost, Sue wants me to take in 16 oz of water.
I told her when I was at the beach in Long Island I started to have the same kind of glute pain that I had months ago. I am so bummed and dismayed to be dealing with this again. My doctor prescribed physical therapy and I've got an appointment scheduled with a new therapist since Katie Taraban from Elite Physical Therapy in Georgetown moved to California.
In the meantime, Sue thinks the issue with my glutes and hamstrings could be related to hydration. I probably did not drink nearly as much water as I usually do when I was at the beach, so she might have a point.
She recommended I use a fuel belt for my run tomorrow and to somehow keep the water as cold as possible. She said cold water absorbs more quickly and more efficiently than warm water. I've got water chilling in the fridge for the morning and I'll see if I can handle the jiggling of ice cubes around my waist. I don't even want to think about the swishing around in my belly or the whole bathroom thing. Sue said running while properly hydrated takes practice. I would say that's an understatement.
Each of the 2 bottles that came with the belt holds 8 ounces so I'll need to re-fuel using the fountain at the 5-mile mark at Fletcher's Cove. Since I'm planning on running 12 tomorrow, I'll re-fuel at five and continue heading to Georgetown another mile before turning back. There's another fountain at the Maryland - DC line, which is about 3.5 miles from Bethesda, so that'll be another pit stop. This will be my second run going down toward Georgetown and then back up. The whole way back is slightly uphill and I'm using the experience to toughen up.
Pre-workout - freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee with milk
Workout (1 hr): 16 oz water
Post workout: 12 oz water
Lunch: 16 oz water
Dinner: 16 oz water
Long runs: 12 oz water every 4 miles
Pre-workout (1 hr): banana; on long runs, add bagel or toast with peanut butter
Breakfast: Protein (egg, egg white, cottage cheese, greek yogurt), whole grain bread or english muffin; papaya (my preferred fruit)
Lunch: Veggies (kale salad; salad greens, avocado, sweet potato), protein (grilled chicken, fish, tofu, shrimp), whole grain bread; berries
Dinner: Protein (fish, chicken, lean meat); whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, bulgar), veggies (grilled brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, whatever)
Snacks: Trail mix (use cereal instead of nuts since I seem to be having a skin reaction to nuts) or apple with peanut butter or cottage cheese and fruit or greek yogurt and fruit
Long runs: 13 mini Swedish fish every 4 miles; that's three snack-size bags of fish and a ton of stuff to eat while I'm running. On past long runs, I usually ate about 6 or 7 large fish per 10 miles. I'm planning to try this tomorrow but sheesh that's a lot of fish.
When I talked with Sue about protein powder supplements, she suggested I refrain from using these because they are dehydrating. I told her I was using the vanilla casein protein powder as dessert before bedtime a few nights a week. Ok but be sure to have a carb with it, she said. Kind of defeats the purpose of substituting protein powder for dessert but I get it.
See you next time!