I had my longest run ever yesterday – 27 miles! Getting to that point has taken a much greater focus on ultra training nutrition and doing all the “extras” besides running that are needed to make me ready.
I thought I was doing pretty good on the nutrition front, but after watching a couple webinars from my coach, it made me think that I still have quite a bit of work to do. I have been doing pretty well with breakfast, but tend to like to sauté things quite a bit (such fried eggs, fried veggies in an omelet). The more mileage I put on, the more those types of things tend to make my stomach queasy. This morning’s day-after-the-longest-run breakfast accomplished the healthy fat, protein, and veggies I need without the excessive frying. I was out of bread, so took the opportunity to go to Panera for fresh bread. Those bagels were calling my name but instead I stuck with the bread 🙂 I still felt a little queasy later, so it must be both the greasy stuff and the eggs that are bothering my stomach. I still have a few more weeks to iron out my non-long run/race nutrition.
My coach recommends 150-300g carbs and 300-500 cals for your pre-race meal. My race will be at night but since I’m so used to a pre-race breakfast, I’ll be having breakfast for my late dinner. I’ve never paid attention to the carb and calorie amounts of my breakfast so I recorded it all down last weekend for my Saturday & Sunday morning long runs. Looks like oatmeal is still the winner. I had oatmeal (quaker whole oats, 1/2 cup) made with 1/2 cup almond coconut milk, a handful of tart cherries and dark chocolate chips, 1 banana, 1 T walnuts, and a cup of coffee. This worked out to be about 560 calories but only 89g carb. Yesterday before my 27 mile run I switched regular milk for the coconut milk and 1 T almond butter for the walnuts. I felt GREAT during my run.
Don’t forget that the night before a long run/race is just as important to your race day nutrition. Last weekend was a typical back to back but with some high mileage (target 4 hours Saturday and 2.5hrs Sunday). We went out for dinner Saturday night and I had flautas. Bad idea. Nothing against flautas, they’re fantastic actually. But flautas the night before a long run or race? Just don’t do it! My breakfast was something that I had eaten before previous long runs with no issues, but let’s just say that about 5 miles into my run I was seriously regretting my decision to run the back country roads. Shortly after that 5 mile mark I actually called my husband to pick me up. I had NEVER had to do that before but that’s how bad I felt. I ended up having to finish my “run” on the elliptical machine at home.
On the run, I had also been trying to go longer without fuel – waiting up to an hour or so before I have a gel. I thought that by running at a true easy pace that maybe I was going to start burning fat for fuel. So I had to switch my mindset into realizing that I need to fuel more often. During a race, it should be about every 1/2 hour. Although I don’t really have to do that for a training run, I wanted to practice that for a few long runs to see how different I would feel. The difference is very noticeable. I am NOT fat adaptive lol!
The Longest Run
The weather had forecasted rain with possible thunder and lightening. Great. I almost chickened out and postponed to the next weekend, but rallied and reasoned that I had run a marathon in light rain before so I could tough this one out. Lucky me, the rain held out. The heat didn’t unfortunately (86 degrees by the finish) but I will chalk that up to good training for my race, which goes until 11am in the middle of July. I ran at a park that had a 1.5mile loop, to practice how I would handle my race which is on a .97 mile loop.
I started the day at an early 4:45 am, had my breakfast of Oatmeal and coffee, and got all the “stuff” (see earlier picture) ready for my run. I started the run by 7:00am with my hydration pack filled to about 40 oz water and 2 scoops of Nuun Performance, carrying a Stroopwafel and some gels. I had my 1st gel at 45 minutes and had my watch beep at me every 1/2 hour after that, running for the 1st 2 1/2 hours before going back to my car. At around 9:30 I ditched the pack and filled a small water bottle with ice cold water from a cooler I had in my trunk, picked up some more fuel, and put a baggie of ice in my hat. Then I started my next set of loops, running about 4 loops before making another car trip. Surprisingly the time seemed to pass quickly and I wasn’t even bored like I thought I would be due doing so many loops. At the 4 hour mark my husband brought the kids to the park to set up an aid station table for my last few loops. LOVED this!
Besides gels I also had 2 stroopwafels and a banana to try and get used to chewing food during a run. Overall my pace was better than I had planned and even in the heat I felt great. I definitely plan to use this same nutrition plan – maybe with the addition of some broth and more ice packs for the daylight hours – for my race. My goal was to run 27 miles so that I would feel confident in my ultra knowing that I can run farther than a marathon. I ran 5:12:43, making it the longest run for me in both time and distance. I am feeling SO ready for race day!