I read an interesting article in my daily Runner’s World email today. The topic was concerning mid-run nutrition, particularly for first-time long distance runs. I found the article particularly insightful and truthful in that everyone has to find what works for their own digestive tract. This point is visually driven home by the memories of all the multiple porta-potties lined up at every race – believe it or not, a constant reminder of the importance of nutrition.
The article suggested trying a variety of different items to find what works for you. Some runners find it difficult to chew, swallow and run all at the same time. Another visual, when the failure of coordinating all of these activities brings a smile to my face. I can see where it can be a bit of a challenge. The importance lies not only in what works for your stomach, but that you can also maneuver while keeping the gait going.
I started my half-marathon day at 3:00 a.m. I was hungry, but too nervous to eat. Tips from the “experts” floated to my mind with a twist. They said if you normally drink coffee, then it’s fine to have a cup-o-coffee early on race day. My interpretation was a diet coke and a bagel. Lesson one, eating a dry bagel and a flat diet coke are items to boldly and firmly strike off my list.
Belt material, not what the thing is made of, but rather what to include. I must admit, I sure was feeling rather smart having carefully packed gummy bears and gel packs. The problem was that the zippered opening was in the back, making it difficult to access without stopping, unhooking, twisting it around and digging past the plastic baggies to find the “right stuff”. Note to self for future races, easier access and absolutely never try a gel pack for the first time on a long race. Don’t believe me? Give it whirl. You might learn like I did.
Did any of it work? I must say, while my own gel packs and gummy bears were a little challenging, I did find that slowly sucking on the gel packs followed by swigs of water were lifesavers when the leg cramps started about mid run. No worries though, I have time to run, test and play to find the right race nutrition snack for me.