Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Curse of Plantar Fasciitis / Marathoning Part II: Nutrition

Injury #4 this year came this week:  Plantar fasciitis (revisited).  If you came here looking for a solution, I really can't give much advise on how to deal with this, other than the usual: rest, ice, and ibuprofen.

The weird thing is I didn't run once this week since I am recovering from another injury.  I was walking around the office and felt a twinge of pain on the ball of my right foot.  When the pain lingered on into the next day, and the next... I knew exactly what it was.  This is the same side where my achilles started flaring up around mile 21 of Ridge to Bridge.  This probably isn't a coincidence, but how I developed a foot injury NOT running is beyond me.  Maybe I need some new shoes to wear at work (I go through about 5-6 pairs of running shoes a year, but almost never replace my non-running shoes...)

So my Uwharrie preparation start is delayed yet another week.  In the meantime, my training is either on a bike or elliptical.  At this point, Uwharrie is destined to be a glorified long, hard training run assuming I am running again in December (i.e. maybe more like 4 hour pace, versus close to 3...)

Umstead Marathon sign-up is November 28th.  I was hoping to have that be my peak race this spring, but that's looking to shape up to be a tune-up for a 50K sometime in April or May at this rate.  I'm committed to trying something 'over-distance' this spring, but given all the difficulty I have staying healthy, I'm not so sure that's the best idea... but I can't seem to get geared up for any other races in that timeframe other than a really long race (the widely advertised Tar Heel 10 Miler or a road marathon aren't too inspiring for me right now).  I'd rather walk/jog a 50K on a trail right now than try to hammer out another road race.  

The trails and longer distances are where I still feel like I have the most room to improve, and where I have a long list of 'bucket races' I'd like to do.  The problem is there are so many in such a tight period of time in the year (essentially October/November and February/March/April) and missing a whole season like I did last year means most of them will have to wait again until the following year.

Eno River State Park:  where I first learned trail running 10+ years ago

This all being said, cross-training isn't too mind numbing (yet).  Each of the past 3 Saturdays, I've enjoyed bike rides down the ATT watching the fall colors progress each week in an emphatic display of yellows, oranges, and reds.  The trail isn't as busy as it was in the summer or early fall, and in the late afternoon, I often have long stretches of the trail to myself (with an occasional group of deer crossing by).  

This is my favorite time of year to be outside, and seeing the seasons change is another reminder that another year is passing and drawing to a close.  Around the holidays my work tends to slow down some; after a really busy summer and fall, this will be a welcome break.  I was hoping to be back to peak training by my "Christmas break" (when I use all the vacation I did not have a chance to use during the year), this year hopefully I'll at least be back to running by then since this is the best time to get in some long runs on days other than Saturdays and Sundays.

The ATT is now paved from New Hope Church all the way up to Massey Chapel in South Durham (good for biking, some gravel left for running)
Dirt section of ATT in Western Wake County, outskirts of Cary


As I mentally prepare myself for the idea of longer races, I'm hoping what I learned training for and during Ridge to Bridge are a good jumping off point.  I've heard ultra-marathons described as 'eating contests' more than races.  As my recent performance in the Taco Bell Challenge indicated, I'm always down for a good eating contest.  I have no problem downing Krispy Kremes or even beer mid-run, so bring it on.  

For the first 13 years I ran, including the first 3 marathons, I never did understand the concept of eating while on a run.  When training for and running 5Ks and 10Ks, this indeed is a foreign concept, and unnecessary.  This mentality also explains why I hit a 'wall' hard in each of those first 3 marathons.  It wasn't until the 4th that this started to click some, but really not until this most recent one that I feel like I really got the idea.

Early in my marathon training cycle this summer, I tried a 'paleo' or 'caveman' diet (eat only what a caveman would eat/drink, only exception allowed was beer).  The limitations were driving me crazy and my runs were really tough.  It was a good experiment because it taught me it just didn't work, and it was entertaining to my non-runner friends to say I was on a 'caveman' diet.  Runners need carbs... it's that profoundly obvious.

When I later started hitting the 50 mile plus training weeks, I found I was hungry ALL THE TIME.  I kept a stash of almonds on me at all times, to help with this.  I even tried eating them when I was on my long runs, which was fine during breaks.  As it turns out, they don't upset my stomach at all during runs (unlike GUs).  Unfortunately, they are really hard to chew when you are going sub-7 pace, so I had to find an alternate solution.  As it turns out, a banana went down much easier and didn't try to come back up, although transporting was a little tricky.

Runners tend to be very particular about their food and dieting, but in summary here is what I found worked for me.  What works for me may not work for you.  Especially if you detest beets.  I at first found them a bit of an acquired taste, but if you're hungry enough as I often was training, you'll learn to love just about anything.

Breakfasts (weekdays, not before runs):

Canned beets and sliced almond mix
Canned spinach or a fried tomato and some sort of bean (kidney, black beans, fat free refried)
Hard boiled egg whites
Water, green tea, and black coffee (1/2 caff)

Before long runs

Apple OR Banana
Canned beets
Low calorie gatorade

(morning of marathon PR - cottonseed, dried cranberries, and canned beets, half a banana, low calorie Gatorade, an assortment of B vitamins)

During marathon

GU Chomps (caffeine free), half a banana (kept in a small ziplock bag in short pocket), saltstick caps, took Gatorade at every aid station and stopped to make sure I actually got a good swallow, versus rushing through.  This was also how I washed down the GU Chomps and S-caps

After runs

Lactose/fat free milk with whey protein
See breakfast above, although sometimes included some chicken sausage or turkey bacon


Spinach salads with..
Beets, Roast chicken OR tuna, Sliced almonds, Hard boiled egg whites, Chick peas, Cucumbers, and Balsamic vinegar
Salted almonds and a banana


Grapes and almonds with honey
Udi's bread with honey or peanut butter
Lots of sugar free gum


Generally avoided meals that were too carb heavy, but would have Barilla Plus pasta sometimes the night before some of my longer runs; usually a good portion of lean meat and lots of vegetables.  

The night before Ridge to Bridge I had a salad with balsamic dressing, chicken parmesan without the melted cheese on top, a Sierra Nevada, and a slice of chocolate cake.


I haven't been too inspired by much new music this year, but I recently discovered this album from Yeasayer, a band I had heard of, but hadn't paid much attention to.  Given I'm a fan of LCD Soundsystem and Cut Copy, it's no surprise this was in my wheelhouse.  This will be on my running playlist rotation... as soon as I am back running.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, do I *hate* PF. I had it for over a year and a half and it finally disappeared last year. Hope you recover well!