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Ok I'm 3 1/2 weeks out from my race. And I'm starting to stress already<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> I'm trying to think of things I can do to improve my chances of doing well on race day. Generally I eat healthy-no meat but fish/eggs, yogurt, whole grains and lots of fruit and some veggies. Probably 75-80% of my diet is healthy. The rest is bad-chocolate, pretzels, ice cream, more chocolate<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> Generally this works well for me. My weight is fine and I'm healthy. Would there be any benefit on race day to replacing my "junk" with more nutritionally dense foods. I'm talking no junk until after the race. This would be so hard to do but I'm willingly to try it if people think it would make a difference. Thanks.
 

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Interesting question.<br><br>
Generally speaking, I think that you should use the fueling concepts/methods that got you through your training. If it worked to get you through your long runs and long quality workouts, then it should work for you on race day. This late in the training cycle is probably not the time to start experimenting with new methods.<br><br>
In my experience, it took me several marathon races to get an understanding of the carb-load and hydration. Early-on in my marathon career, I was really under-loading (even when I thought I was over-loading,) which resulted in my inability to run at full capacity.<br><br>
Regarding junk food...sure, replacing the junk with a healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protien can do nothing but help you. But IMO, an effective carb-load in the 48-72 hours prior to race can have a more dramatic impact on the outcome of your race.<br><br>
You should feel relaxed as possible you approach race day. If eliminating all junk food would cause a level of stress or unhappiness, then I do not suggest going cold turkey!<br><br>
Good luck with the taper and best of luck as you approach the race.
 

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Somebody pointed me to this article earlier this year when I was going through marathon prep and this really helped me:<br><a href="http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/rununiv/marathonprep.htm" target="_blank">http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/rununiv/marathonprep.htm</a><br><br>
Also, there's other information in the nutrition section of the mcmillan site.<br><br>
Good luck.<br>
Tim
 

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I followed this for my past two marathons. It was very hard to eat so much more than I usually eat, and in the most recent one, I retained a lot of water from the carbohydrate increase which affected my running. Even with drinking extra fluids. My lower legs were pretty swollen and felt horrible/stiff.<br><br>
I know it works great for others, though. I will be at a loss next time I carbo-load. Not eating enough = hitting the wall, but true carbo-loading seems to give me water retention problems.<br><br>
Can a person practice carbo-loading before a long run? It seems like you can't really get a dress rehearsal for it, since you only do one run of the marathon distance in most programs.<br><br><b>kruss</b> -- is this your first marathon? If not, what did you do last time and how did it work? If it is your first, I'd suggest not making any drastic changes to your diet and then doing the carbo loading race week. I know some runners who perform great regardless of what they eat, and others who adhere to stricter eating plans because they feel it helps performance.
 

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I agree with what SGH said. In addition, two other things.<br><br>
If you go and train for another marathon, you could try a Cyclic Ketogenic Diet as a way of practicing a carb-load.<br><br>
You should be shoving a lot of carbs in your gut the last few days. If they are "healthy" and have a lot of fiber in them you'll spend a lot of time in the potty during the race.<br><br>
But as far as all the other nutrition needs (other than carbs) prior to the race? It's small stuff: don't sweat the small stuff.
 

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I tried to follow it, but I probably didn't get as much in as is laid out there. I did do a min-carbo load dress rehersal as part of my 22 mile run weekend. On the fluid consumption, I did have to pee like 4 times before the race started and had to stop again in the 1st mile. Then, I had to stop once more just past the 13 mile marker. But I didn't bonk.
 

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I just focus on hydration and carbs in the days prior to the race. The day before i drink a lot of water and gatorade. Do not drink too much water, or you can cause some mild hyponaetremia before the race even starts! The night before i like something with lots of carbs- pasta, rice, bread, etc. Then usually before bed i eat something small, like a powerbar (i think Hal Higdon recommended this).<br><br>
When i get up (usually way before the race) i have some coffee to "get the system moving" and a plain bagel.
 

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meri, how would you change your methods if you were racing marathons? You go a lot farther, but get to eat more in your events!
 

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Is that the carb depletion followed by loading, or something else?
 

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One more thing and then I'll shut up. I'm not much of a drinker anyway, but I generally don't drink alcohol 1-2 weeks out from a marathon. I don't think there are any nutritional benefits to this (except possibly in the couple days before, depending on overall hydration), it's more of a mental thing.
 

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Pretty much the same. It is the race nutrition that varies more.
 

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For me, there is a difference in nutrition tactics for ultras vs. marathons.<br><br>
I like the "blocks" for their ease of transportability and lack of mess, however, I cannot chew/digest them while running at marathon race pace. Thus, I use gels for the necessary carb replacement.<br><br>
Touching on the alcohol subject, I maintain that if I am sufficiently hydrated that 1-2 beers the night before race does not hinder performance. I feel it helps to relax and assists with falling asleep. In the big picture though, I cannot make a case to promote alcohol consumption as a measure to improve race performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the advice and information. I think I'll try and limit my "junk" but not cut it out completely. For my long runs I have not done a lot of carb loading but I guess I need to rethink what I'm going to do for the race. SGH's experience makes me a little nervous so I'm just going to have to do what I think is best. For my next marathon (assuming I survive this one) I can learn from what I do wrong this time! I'll chalk this up to a learning experience and pray a lot<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Hmm, maybe I should try that next time! But, would need to practice before each long run, of course.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
I definitely wasn't trying to say that alcohol limits performance for everyone. Someone who is more of a regular drinker than I am and who makes sure to hydrate to offset alcohol's dehydrating properties shouldn't feel much effect, if any.<br><br>
kruss -- I seem to be especially prone to water retention generally, so you'll probably be OK. One thing that I think would be helpful is to increase the carb-rich foods you eat regularly rather than experimenting with new things. If I remember, last time around I chose a few "foreign" items knowing how sick I was going to be of carbs over the couple days, which could have also been part of the problem.
 
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