Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hydration & Carbohydrate Advice from McMillan Running - 3 days to go...
McMillan Running provide the following advice on what you should eat and drink over the last 3 days before the Marathon. For the Cork Marathon, this is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the three days prior to your race, you'll need to consume 0.5-0.7 ounces of fluid per day per pound of body weight. Shoot for 75-100 ounces daily, consuming an 8 ounce glass at regular intervals. The way I do it is to set the timer function on my sports watch for 1:00:00; and, every time the alarm sounds, I drink 8 ounces.This strategy: 1) ensures that you drink enough without having to really think about it and 2) provides constant intake instead of realizing you are behind and chugging to catch up. What the latter means is that you will not have to jump up and take a leak every 20 minutes. If you drink more water less frequently (i.e., chug a 16 ounce glass every two hours), you'll be forcing the body to "pass" on the available fluid because it cannot absorb it. If you need an analogy, it's like what a farmer wants when his crops are dry: six hours of light, steady rain that provides a gallon per square meter rather than a 15 minute downpour of the same volume that ends up washing into the lake. Stop drinking water about two (2) hours before you hit the sack to reduce the need to whiz during the night.
Carbohydrate Intake
In the two days prior to your race, you'll want to focus on carbohydrate consumption: it will be 70% of your diet. Even 5K racers need to focus on this, as training can leave the body in a carbohydrate-depleted state that may take a few days to fully re-stock. Research shows that the optimal intake is four to five grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day. For me, at 150 pounds, that’s 600 or so grams of carbohydrates.NOTICE: That’s almost 2500 calories in carbohydrates alone! So, you have to be careful to not just eat more. You are changing the composition of your diet, not the quantity. You’ll need to pay attention to keeping your “bad” fat intake moderate to prevent unwanted weight gain. I recommend you keep a food diary of some sort to make sure you a) eat enough carbohydrates and b) don't over-eat. I typically eat at 7:00 AM, (9:30 AM snack), NOON, (2:30PM snack), 5:00PM, and (7:30PM snack) the days preceding a marathon. That way, I can evenly distribute the intake over the course of the day. If you try to consume the volume of carbohydrates you need at only three meals, you'll barf (or at least feel like it). Your in-between meal snacks (times in parentheses) are a good time for a shake, smoothie or some other liquid carbohydrate source. Also, stock up on healthy nutrition bars and fruits that you know will not cause you gastrointestinal problems. Bananas are usually a safe bet; plus, they have lots of good potassium.Our rule is that in the last three days prior to a marathon, you should never get hungry. This would indicate low blood sugar and your carbohydrate stores would be used to replace this blood sugar. This is not what we want when we’re trying to store--not immediately use--carbohydrates. In the last three days, keep food with you at all times. You may get stuck in traffic or have delays in your travel to the race. This will make sure that you don’t get stuck without food. And, the same goes for fluids!"

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