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1st Marathon/1st Whole30 and Travel tips?


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I'm hoping this will reach other fellow runners..

A little back ground before I ask my questions.. I'm on day 25 of the w30 and 36 days away from running in my first marathon in NYC. My weekly runs have been a little hard for me during my whole30, but I think it's a little because of the change in weather. I finally pushed past 14 miles this last weekend and ran 16. It went well though the last 2 miles were definitely a challenge. I plan on running at least 16 again tomorrow and hoping it will be easier this time. I ran 4 miles this morning and it felt different than any of my runs over the last month. It was faster, I felt like I could run forever. My legs were only a little tired, my endurance never let me down. I'm starting to think the "magical" feeling I was feeling on day 18 is now finally affecting my athletic ability, which is very encouraging for my long run tomorrow. I have a co-worker who is also participating in the marathon with me who is on day 26 today and he said his last 2 runs this week have been powerful. He was struggling with an injury and hadn't ran in a few months so he's really feeling the magic.

I'm planning on staying Paleo after the whole30 until the marathon is over, and hopefully for a long time after that, but for sure until the marathon. I think my body is finally adjusting to my new routine and I don't want to mess with that now with trying to reintroduce foods.

For my long runs this last 2 weekends I've packed a whole30 complaint larabar in my pocket of my running pants as my emergency food for if I got hungry. I ate it when I stopped at mile 12 even though I wasn't feeling hungry yet and I think it triggered my metabolism, because at mile 14 I was so hungry I was nauseous and I also had very bad side ache. I have a very sensitive stomach when it comes to my runs. Partly, probably because I'm very tiny (5'4 108-112lbs i'm guessing, haven't weighed myself since july) and very little body fat and I can feel anything I put in my body on my runs. Even water seems to give me side aches so I try to have very little during my runs. For my weekly 6-7mile runs, I eat a banana as soon as I wake up and drink a bottle of water, about 45 mins later I go for my run and I'm fine. If I wait any longer I get really hungry which makes my run hard. I don't think larabars are my answer, but it was the one thing I could find that fit in the pocket of my running pants that would be filling enough, but not too filling to hurt my stomach if I absolutely needed some food.

So long winded.. i'm curious any ideas people have for food during a run for someone who doesn't need much and doesn't want to have to carry much?

Lastly, I'm traveling from Seattle to New York for the marathon and staying in a small room with 4 other fellow marathoners without a kitchen. I want to be able to plan my meal ahead of time for the morning. Last weekend before my long run I had a sweet potato, broccoli and chicken breast and I'd like to do something similar before New york, but am worried without a microwave, fridge it's going to make it hard to have these things prepped and ready.

Has anyone traveled for a marathon with these types of restrictions? What did you do for food?

Sorry for my rambling, just really curious on advice for a first time marathoner and first time whole30'er, Thanks!!

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First off best wishes for the race! How exciting! :D

I think the problem with the Larabar may have been that it has quite a bit of nuts in it and therefore contain a fair amount of fat as well as protein. Now obviously on the Whole30 program you want to eat a lot of good quality fat and protein and the idea is to teach your body how to utilize and break down fats (into carbs) and use it for energy. The problem is that in the middle of a strenuous athletic event (like a marathon or long training run) your body can't break down the fat and protein that you're eating and make use of it. Most of the blood supply that your digestive system would use to break it down is sent to the skeletal muscles, heart, and lungs that need it to keep moving.

So basically the best thing to do DURING the race would be to have something like dates or some other portable, natural carbohydrate source that your body can break down. (Essentially a natural alternative to GU/energy gel/chews.) Bananas are great too but obviously not as portable though they may offer them on the course. I love using my little fuel belt (like a small, light fanny pack) to bring my keys etc on my runs and used it last fall for my marathon and was able to carry a bunch of fuel without feeling the weight of it.

Will eating a high sugar energy source during your run(s) set you back in terms of teaching your body how to use fat as it's preferred energy source? Maybe a bit, but I'm guessing you don't want to sacrifice your marathon performance because of that.

Re the pre run prep, what you're planning on bringing sounds good, especially because you've eaten them before. I recommend cooking the foods and then freezing them and bringing them in a little cooler/lunch bag with one or two solid ice packs. Then they'll be sure to stay cool until you're ready to eat them. Also just in case, scope out the grocery store, quick serve healthy cafe options in the area around where you're staying so that if you need a quick meal, or Whole30 friendly fresh snacks you can get them easily.

Best wishes! :D

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Hi Jess,

I'm on day 29 of my Whole 30 and have also been training for a marathon (Nike Women's Oct 14th in San Francisco). I know I've struggled a little bit to find the right fuel for my runs during the past month (sadly it doesn't sound like my training has been going quite as well as yours...I think I may have been overtraining between running and cross fit). I also tried Larabars during my long runs and found that while they were effective, they were a little heavy for me. I really like the applesauce mashers (from Trader Joes) for my runs, particularly the apple/banana and apple/berry ones. They're also quite yummy if you freeze them the night before and and then let them thaw during your run. I also tried a "That's It" bar during my long run this morning and seemed to tolerate it pretty well. http://www.thatsitfruit.com All the bars consist of is dried fruit and they're super portable.

As for pre-run fuel, I'm going to have a similar issue in San Francisco. I plan on buying pre-made hard boiled eggs at a local grocery store and a couple of bananas and almond butter once I arrive in SF. It's not as creative as I would be if I were home before the race, but I've tried this breakfast out a few times and have tolerated it fairly well. You might also want to try baby food....which while the thought doesn't seem exciting, it's usually pretty palatable and gentle on the stomach.

Good luck in NYC!

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Thanks guys!! I brought 3 dates along for my 16 mile run this last weekend and ate them at mile 10, 12 and 14. They didn't hurt my stomach and gave me a little bit of a sugar rush I think I needed to finish. For my pre-run I ate sweet potatoes, kale, green beans and carrots with 2 eggs about 2 hours before my run and it was perfect. didn't get a side ache and kept me full until the end. I only struggled with not having enough water, it's hard for to me find the balance, but I know the marathon won't be an issue since there are a lot of water stations. For this weekend's run i'm going to try those new happy tot pouches (http://www.happybabyfood.com/ourproducts?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=37&category_id=10) and see how that helps. I don't want to rely on the GU or gatorade during the run so I'm hoping the happy tots are exactly what I need.

I'm going to take your advice on packaging sweet potatoes, I have no problem eating cold sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli so I think that's what I'll bring on the airplane and bought hard boiled eggs is not a bad idea either. I'll have to try those this week and see how my stomach handles them.

thanks for the advice! and good luck on your marathon in SF!

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