Back to Back Half Marathons

This challenge of running two half marathons in one weekend was certainly a learning event and an experiment. This post is about what I did leading up to the back to back races and also what foods I ate (and should have ate) between the two races.

Back to back race prep

Leading up to this double half marathon weekend I took some measures, also because I was going for a specific goal on the first half.

My training had been going well, and I was familiar with the course for the Livermore half so I thought it could be a PB so I wanted to do whatever might give me an advantage. This included:

  • Sitting at work and standing rarely (I stand most of the time, typically)
  • Stretching my legs (hams, glutes, calves, hip flexor) at my cube 3x/day and put Kinesio tape on my calves to loosen them
  • I fueled properly the day before
  • Two days before I restricted (not sure if that was a benefit)
  • Observed two days of no running leading up to the first half
  • In the evenings on the two days of rest, I stayed off my feet as much as possible
  • Ensured plenty of rest leading up to the half
  • No drinking alcohol the week prior
  • Drank plenty of water (thanks to nuun!) the two days leading up to the races
  • I took a low dose of magnesium 

Fueling in-between back to back half marathons

Fueling is important when running a half marathon, but what if you are running two halfs within a 25 hour time period? It takes 24-48 hours for food to be stored as glycogen for muscle use so basically you have to start eating during your run or right after! But at the same time you don’t want to be full for the race the next day. The goal is to eat simple, low-fiber carbs (high-glycemic index), which convert quickly to energy in between the two half marathons.

What I ate in between my back to back half marathons (Sat: Livermore and Sun: RnR SF)

Here’s a listing of what I ate after crossing the finish line of the first half marathon and before I went to bed. You can see what I ate the morning of the second half marathon on my RnR SF race report.

  • 1/2 Kind bar (I couldn’t finish it because my body was not interested in that right after the hard effort)
  • Banana
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • French Fries
  • Purity Peach drink
  • Kidz Clif Protein bar (peanut butter)
  • 1/2 package Pro Bar Bolt without caffeine
  • 1/2 kids clif chocolate chip bar
  • Corn bread with a little butter and strawberry jam
  • Zucchini bread with a little butter
  • Homemade Oat bars
  • Carbonated water with real lemon juice and splenda

What I learned through all of this is that next time I will plan a little better regarding fueling between back to back half marathons. (And yes, there may be a next time! I’m training for my first full marathon in Sept.) Here is a sampling of what I learned through this:

  • I didn’t eat even close to 2000-2600 calories between the finish line and the start of the next race.
  • I wasn’t hungry at 3:30am before race #2 but by the time I got to the starting corral I was starving and my tummy was audibly rumbling. I was concerned about putting more gels (sugary substances) in my stomach and whether it would hold up (it did!).
  • I didn’t plan ahead of time the list of simple, low-fiber, high glycemic index carbs that I should eat, so I just went with what I felt like eating, which wasn’t much.

Items that were on hand in my house that could have been part of the fueling plan:

  • Apple sauce
  • Oranges
  • Craisins
  • Kidz Clif bars
  • Recovery powder drinks
  • Blueberry smoothie
  • Rice
  • Candy: skittles, starbursts
  • Gluten Free Bread
  • Tator Tots

March Marathon Madness

What happens when I see a half marathon opportunity on my birthday?

I honestly haven’t thought much about my birthday plans. I frequently do a bowling party but this year that is not an option. So I had resigned to a low key 33rd birth year dinner with Luv. That was until my birth-date flashed before my eyes when I scoped out a new half marathon in the Bay Area organized by, none other than, the US Half organizers.

“Wow, an inaugural half that takes place around or on my birthday!” I could hear, smell and see the years to come that I would run this race.

It’s not the most convenient to get to (1+ hr drive/commute) but that’s not stopping me, in fact, it has solidified my once low key birthday (and future birthdays!) to having the possibility for a grand birth-weekend!

Did I mention this half marathon is in wine country and has a beer check at mile 11?

After a quick conversation with Luv, I signed up and have now increased the number of March half marathons to three.

2014 Foot-Races

Some ladies I follow on twitter (@fitfluential, @happyfitmama, and @RunningEscapade) signed up for a 14 in 2014 challenge. I’m intrigued.

I’ve already committed myself to five long distance races this year, so an additional nine 5Ks should be easy to squeeze in… also they are providing four virtual races, which would be something new.

SunRiseThe first race of the year, for me, was actually today. It was a brisk morning but the sun was coming up as I walked to the start line, a perfect day for a 10 mile race. I chatted with folks along the route and said thank you to the many many police-persons and volunteers.

Foster City 10 Miler

I started plotting out 1 race per month, thinking I could do 12 in 2014, but perhaps 14 in 2014 is doable. It’s a lot of dough to shell out ($600+), so checking into the virtual runs may be a good idea. I will ponder some more, though doing the Thanksgiving to New Years Eve 35 day Runners World Holiday Running streak was a lot of fun.