Hi, I'm training for the NYC Marathon in Nov (my first) and after my last two long runs (11 and 13 miles) I found I was pretty drained the rest of the day. I putter around the house, read, nap, go out and grab lunch/dinner, but that's about it. I'm afraid that as my Sat morning runs get progressively longer I'll be completely wiped out afterward. Could this be diet related, that is, is it possible I'm not eating enough carbs or something? I feel great while I'm running. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
It is possible that your diet may have something to do with your feeling of lethargy post-run, but as you didn't mention what you were eating/not eating it's tough to say. If you've been cutting calories the week before the race your bodies glycogen stores will be depleted and there'll be very little "gas in the tank" at the end of the run.
One other thing I wonder about is your hydration status. Are you drinking before and during your run? How much? What? Rule of thumb is try and get 16 oz of a sports drink in you an hour prior to race time. In other words, finish the drink @ 7A for an 8A start. On a longer race, such as the one for which you're training, be sure to drink during the race as well. The wonderful volunteers will be offering you beverages every 2-3 miles. Remember, however, that hydration is like eating. You can't make up on race day for what you didn't do beforehand. Keep an eye on your fluid intake, especially in the week prior to a long run.
The final thing to remember is that running more than 10 miles is something the vast majority of people you meet on the street, have never, will never, and have no desire, to do. It's a long way! As long as you're not totally shattered for a week or two, you may just be getting used to it. Sorry I've rambled so long, but it's a case of "been there, done that". All the best with your running. You will succeed.
Thanks for the advice! I've been following the NYRR training plan which has a nutrition component. I'm eating no more than 1665 calories a day (in an effort to lose a few pounds), but I'm eating a well-balanced diet. The only daily requirements I have trouble meeting are Potassium and Magnesium. Carbs, protein, fiber, vitamins are all good.
As for hydration, I've just started drinking water with these last two long runs. During yesterday's 13 miler I consumed a pint of water, I could have drank more, but it's all I had; time to get a bigger bottle! And I haven't been drinking prior to running. I've been eating two hours prior, but not drinking. I feel good today (one day later), but yesterday I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I'm glad I posed the question because my friends (who do not run) were saying it seemed perfectly normal to be lethargic after 13 miles. Thanks for advice and the words of encouragment.
Just a thought, from everything that I have read marathon training and weight loss should not be attempted together. Check Runners World and other sources to verify. When you run you burn about 100 calories or more per mile (Amby Burfoot wrote an article that you can look up for more details). For a 10 mile run you are probably burning at least 1000 calories. If you are only eating 1600 calories then you will have very little energy left for anything else. Also, you will build up muscle from marathon training which may leave you surprosed on the scale. My advice would be to train for the martahon then focus on weight loss when it is over. Good luck ot you at NYC, I hope to run it sometime in the future.
I'm also new to long runs, and the first few that were over 9 miles left me pretty drained also. However, drinking more (get a 20oz bottle! - stash a replacement somewhere along your route. I run a 5-mile loop and pick up a new bottle after the first loop) helps a lot - especially if you use a sports drink instead of just water.
Re the weight loss/training debate. You have to exercise to lose weight, so it might as well be your race training that you count as your exercise. There is no rule that you can't do both at once. However, I do agree that on your long run day you will need to up your calories. I found that I actually lose more weight if I eat more the day before my long run (say 200-300 extra calories) and after the run itself - say 400-500 more calories. This balances off the extra burn from the long run without destroying the dieting goals. I also found that planning this extra food meant I ate good food - the first few long runs I found myself with junk food cravings because I didn't plan extra into the day's food plan.
Sorry this is so long - hope it is helpful! --Carol
Thank you both (Carolcrc and hahn_don) for the advice. Most days I feel good and properly nourished, but it's been hard to stay at/under 1665 after a long run. I'm definitely going to add calories before (200-300) and after (up to 500) the long runs, drink more water and incorporate a sports drink into my running. Up to now, my longest distances have been 1/2 marathons and I've never drank anything. I've always been afraid that drinking before and during a run would give me cramps and I didn't want to risk it. I definitely see the light now. Training for a marathon is completely new to me and I'm learning more every day.
As for dieting, this is my first attempt at monitoring caloric intake in nearly 17 years (which is why I need to start, the old metabolism isn't what it used to be). I had an eating disorder in my late teens/early 20's and since recovering I've stayed away from counting calories (which is what started the whole mess in the first place). Running has always kept me is pretty decent shape, but now I want to kick it up a notch and see what the old bod can do. I really want to cross the finish line in good form and have a great time in the process and I want to train smart, which is why I really appreciate the advice. Thanks again.
Just one more thought on hydration - if you aren't used to drinking sports drinks, start by cutting it about half/half with water. You can gradually work up to full-strength. This will lessen the chances of stomach upset/cramps. Also, you may find some flavors work better for you than others - I find the Gatorade "Rain" flavors seem milder (except the tangerine, but that's probably a personal preference).
My personal rule of thumb is to carry fluids if I'm going to be running over an hour or if it is over 80 degrees out (even if I'm just doing a short run). So far, it's worked pretty well for me.
Check your running pace. You should be running slower than marathon pace on your long runs. You feel great while you are running because of the endorphines created. Are you stiff the day after? If so you clearly are running to fast. Also keep hydrated. Also how many miles per week are you running? You may want to check but Long runs likely should not be more than say 20 -25% of your total weekly mileage.
I doubt that diet has anything to do with your exhaustion. You are likely tired because you are racing, not training on your long runs.
I love the endorphin rush. Sometimes when I run I feel pure, unbridled joy. When I share that with most people they look at me like I'm crazy.
Now that you mention it I'm probably running a bit too fast during my log runs. If I go too slow for too long I get bored. I always start out slow, but then I gradually pick up the pace. When I catch myself I slow down, but sometimes I'm not even aware of it until I look at my heart monitor. I need to pay attention. My mileage seems to be in line.
No soreness except for random aches, but so far the aches have been going away within day or two. I think my issues are hydration and pace.
Fortunately, I've always liked gatorade, but felt it wasn't necessary since I wasn't an athlete. I admit, it's exciting to have to think and act in new ways. I feel like I can finally say I'm a runner even though I've collected many T-shirts and logged thousands of miles. There's definitely more to a marathon than lacing up the Mizunos and heading out.
There are some very good books on the market such as Jack Daniels book, Lore of Running by Noakes, etc. Both are advanced and Daniels gives you great insight into very serious running. The program works.
Yes anyone who puts shoes on and runs is a runner and an athelete. It is just as hard if you are running world class or just locally if you take the sport seriously.
I have tremendeous respect for all levels. It takes heart, soul and persistence to succeed.
So why not go for it!
I know what you mean about the "pure joy" of running. It doesn't happen every time, but when I get "in the zone" it is like meditation in motion and a wonderful life-affirming experience.
I live with a very competitive high school athlete, so I too have had problems visualizing myself as an athlete, because I'm just running - not racing. (Plus, she says I jog, not run because I'm slow!). But in the last year, especially since I've started to go beyond the local 5K's, I've been re-defining that view of myself to include being an athelete - and all the training/nutrition/lifestyle changes that are necessary to support it.
Let us know if slowing down, hydrating and eating a little more helps with your next long run! --Carol
Now that I've got some new tricks in my bag I'm excited and ready to run long (is it Sat yet??). Thank you! As for the nutrition and lifestyle changes, I knew I'd have to make some adjustments (originally i was thinking pretty small), but every minor accomplishment leads to a greater commitment. I have to share: yesterday I ran my normal hill run for the first time in a few weeks (w/ H2O this time) and for the first time ever my heart monitor didn't start beeping until well into the second half of the run. I flew up the first few hills. I know if I wasn't training for this marathon my running would have remained status quo, which is not bad, but this is better than I imagined.
That's great! The first time I took water on a long run I couldn't believe the difference it made... even just rinsing my mouth out and spitting made me feel a lot better.
Isn't it great to see visible improvement? I'm only training for a 1/2 marathon, but the move up in the long runs and increase on the mid-week runs makes me feel like I've jumped to a whole new level of fitness. My short runs now are a lot faster (and longer) than they were a year ago, when I was struggling to get to 3 miles...
Great to read that your run went so well. I am sure that you will meet your running goal for NYC. One of my favorite things about running is that there is so much to learn and try that it keeps things fresh even on the same old routes that we run day after day. The way I am training for the half-marathon that I am running on Sept 16 is completely different than the training I did for a half earlier this year. I'm looking forward to seeing which way works better for me. That helps keep me motivated through all the weeks of training that we endure.
You're right, there is a lot to learn. Now I want to go back and re-read all my back issues of Runners World and figure out just what a tempo run and Farteck (sp?) run are all about (or are they the same thing??). Until very recently I thought it was all much to do about nothing. I'd mix up my runs, but always stayed within my comfort zone. But you're right, my same old routes are looking pretty fresh and new again, and the long runs are forcing me to run in entirely new places. For whatever reason, this too seems to be boosting my confidence (doesn't take much these days).
What half marathons are you both running? And are you using any particular training programs?