I’m glad to announce that on Friday I ran my last long run in preparation for the Rotterdam Marathon- 22.5 miles in 3 hours and 21 minutes. It felt great, great because I finished the run feeling like I could go on (never met the wall), great because I shaved 10 minutes off my time compared to my last 22-23 mile run, and great because I finally got my blood sugar right.
During my first long runs in the course of this training, I experienced lows after 2-2.5 hours of running. At first, I didn’t understand the signs of the low, which presented with my heart rate suddenly shooting up. (The only way to get the heart rate under control was to slow down dramatically). Then I realized the heart rate spike was connected to my blood sugar dropping. I think the same thing happened to me during the Tiberias Marathon, although I can’t be sure. The problem with going low during a run is that you only realize it once it’s happened and once you’re there, you’re going to feel the effects of the low even if you eat something to get your BS back up.
So I am very relieved after managing to run both of my last long runs (20 miles and 22.5 miles) without having any lows during the runs. My heart rate didn’t go crazy and there were no walls to be found.
I made a few changes that seemed to do the trick. First, I started to eat early in the run so my blood sugar never had the opportunity to go low. I ate my first snack (I’ve replaced the traditional gels that made me feel sick with high fat halva which breaks down slowly) 15 minutes into the run and then had another every 30 minutes. I also increased the amount of carbohydrates I ate during the run, especially during the last hour and a half. It’s true that my runs have become sort of a timed picnic, but you can’t argue with results. I have to thank Yafit, my dietician, for all the help and guidance in finding this correct formula.
I still haven’t lost any weight, but it may still happen (three weeks to go until the marathon).
Now, as I’m beginning to taper down towards the marathon, I’m going to run much so my body is rested before the race. It’s not as if I’ll stop running altogether, but the longest run I have before the marathon is only 11 miles.
The change is not easy. After months of intense training suddenly holding back is a little frustrating. Rationally I know this is the not the case and everyone has a 2-3 week taper period prior to a marathon. But I can’t help worrying that I will find myself out of shape when I get to the starting line.
Stretching Update: I didn’t stretch before my last long run. It didn’t make a difference in the way I felt. I had a good run but I can’t say it would have been better or worse had I stretched.