REASONS TO LOVE ULTRAMARATHONS #74:
It’s actually a good thing to GAIN a little weight before the race.
Last time I wrote about how my plan for Saturday’s 50-mile race is different from running shorter races (up to and including standard marathons). But what about the week before – the final taper, rest, and fueling for the race?
My training this week has been light – only six miles running and ten miles on the bike. As a result I’ve been feeling restless, compounded by the incredibly beautiful weather I’ve had to look at out my office window. How restless? Bad enough that I’ve given up caffeine until Sunday, which means none of my favorite coffee, and those who know me well appreciate what kind of sacrifice that is. Friday night’s fun 5K will likely save me from bouncing off the walls. That, and the 4 a.m. wakeup call Saturday morning.
My diet is also very different this week. Normally, I eat lots of leafy stuff, whole-grain bread, and lean protein, balanced out with healthy doses of dark chocolate and ice cream. But pre-race is all about loading up the muscles and liver with glycogen, the main fuel used in running – and that requires carbs. Lots of carbs.
I had the feeling that gaining a little weight just before the race would be helpful, and this article here bears that out. In fact, proper carbo-loading also results in more water stored in the body, another helpful thing for a long distance run. And fiber is out, since it can lead to certain biological issues during the race.
So how do I get there? Bagels with marmalade, bananas, cookies, and juice are on the menu – even white bread (gasp!) is okay. Too easy, right? Actually, no. I’m trying my best, but this extra eating to gain weight isn’t easy for me. I feel a bit bloated rather than satiated, and don’t really enjoy the food. (When I get this distilled into a pill, I will be happy to share it with the world for a reasonable price.)
I’m also trying to get in more rest to soften the blow of having to get up before any civilized creature should have to, especially on a Saturday. This means getting to bed earlier than usual – which is, actually, about now. Gotta go.
P.S. I know this post didn’t include any photos – really couldn’t think of any relevant subjects. So here’s a few from tonight’s bike ride, where I checked out the latest with the Border-to-Border trail running through Dexter.