Yesterday afternoon, I made an experiment with regards to food/nutrition strategy in my running workouts. The primary purpose was to find out where exactly would I need to replenish my food intake during a half-marathon distance run.
Thirty minutes before my 21K run, I ate one plate of Pancit Canton and drank one glass of water with it. After a short warm-up and stretching exercise, I started my run. It was already dark as I started my run at 6:00 PM. I did my run at the 7K loop inside Camp Aguinaldo. My first two kilometers averaged a pace of 5:47 mins/km until I was able to lower the pace up to 5:30 mins/km until I reached my first water pit stop after completing one loop.
On my second loop, I was still maintaining an average pace of 5:30-5:34 mins/km and I was in my strongest run for the night during the 2nd loop. However, after taking my 2nd water pit stop at the end of the 2nd loop, I started to slow down despite the fact that I was running faster on the downhill portions of the route. I finished my 3-loop run inside the camp in 2 hours & 26 seconds. I just simply ran too slow on my last three kilometers. I ended my run with an average pace of 5:42 mins/km.
After the run, I ate one sports bar and drank the remaining water I had which is about half liter. After some cool down and stretching exercises, I did not feel any soreness on my legs.
With this particular workout, I found out that I could eat a heavy snack at least 30 minutes before starting my workout and I felt strong in my run. If not for the darkness in some portions of the route, I could have increased my pace and have more confidence on the landing of my feet on the ground. Although the roads inside the camp are well-paved, there are portions that are not even or flat.
In addition, there is a need for me to replenish my nutrition and take some food before I hit the 14-Kilometer mark or maybe after running for 12 kilometers. A Sports Bar and/or Sports Gel would be a good source for this but I need to experiment it on my next run. I will try also to bring some fresh fruit/banana and find out if I could still maintain my speed during my running workouts.
With regards to water/hydration, I have already trained my body to sustain my average pace within the duration of at least 30 minutes without taking any water. In some of my running workouts, I did not have any problems with hydration within a distance of 7-10 kilometers. However, my workouts were done early in the morning or early in the evening.
If you are preparing for a race, you have to train your body on matters pertaining on the food you are taking in during the race. Remember that “solid” food is the source of your power and energy needed to finish the race.