Marathon Nutrition Training Tip #2
Running Pace Impacts Carbohydrate Nutrition

Is your running pace impacting your training?

"There is no way to success in our art but to take off your coat, grind paint, and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

The previous marathon nutrition training tip tackled "taking off your coat." Moving on, what does sports nutrition have to do with the part of this quote about "grind and work"?

Marathon training takes work...grinding out the miles, pushing beyond your limits.

How do you do this?

  • Start with a running pace that is right for you.
    This allows your body to use the carbohydrates in your body efficiently. Running too fast reduces your oxygen intake, causing your muscles to "drain" the carbs too quickly. You'll be faster for the moment, but may not make the distance. Running at YOUR pace still uses carbs, but now in a better ratio of carb to fat. This allows some of your stored carbs (glyocgen) to fuel you in those later miles. However, after 18 or 20 miles, even at a good pace, most of your carb stores are gone. Taking in carbs as sports drinks or carb supplements is important for the fuel needs at that time to compliment the body's use of fat and minimize the breakdown of muscle for fuel.

  • It is okay to push your limits at times (pushing your running pace). That's easily done if you're just doing a few miles, but when you get into longer distances the goal is to finish the run. If this is your first marathon, you may want to focus on pacing in the distance runs and hold off on speed training this time around.

    How hard do you push?

  • Well, how hard have you worked to have the fuel you need? Carbs such as grains, fruits, veggies, lowfat milk and yogurt, sports drinks, carb supplements and nutrition bars are the body's preferred source of fuel for running. You have to eat them to use them. You have to buy them to eat them.

  • A simple way to test your limits is evaluating how you feel in those last few miles and the rest of the day. If you are tired at the end of the long run, but recover and can resume a normal schedule...yeah! You've likely fueled well and burned fuel at the right running pace. If you're tired at the end of the long run and are "out for the count" the rest of the day...well, either you didn't fuel/hydrate well and/or you pushed too hard. If you feel great at the end of the long run and are ready for more... hmmmmmm...maybe you could push your limits next time (or maybe you just found your "happy pace").


  • Today's everyday sports nutrition for marathon training tip:
    Go through your cabinets and fridge. Do you have enough carbs available for meals and snacks so you can eat the fuel needed to grind out those miles? Also, pay attention to your pace on your next run...are you at a happy pace in your running life?

    Are you ready for Tip #3 based on Emerson's quote: "All day and every day" --do I ever get a break from nutrition for marathon training?

    Check out all the marathon training nutrition blogs.

    Contact me with questions about running pace and carbs.



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