An Auckland based Dietitian (dietician) (West Auckland). Specialising in Diet for Sport, Diabetes, recovery, training nutrition and weightloss.
So I had finally managed to do what felt like a good solid week of running. I had clocked up a total of 62km and my long run on the sunday had been 26km on trail. It felt good. But at this stage I realised I needed to really make sure I was hydrating right. The days were hot and I was sweating alot out on the trail. The Long run days were the ones to trial anything I was going to do on race day, so I needed to start. After consulting some of my text books and looking at the current research out. I figured water alone would not be enough for long training days and not for the event itself which can take any where between 8 and a half to 15 hours of running. So I opted for a powdered electrolyte drink, that I could make up at home. Next I needed to figure out my sweat rate . So during the week when I ran , I weighed myself, then ran for an hour, then when home, weighed myself again. What I found was for me, at that time of year in that heat, I would lose about 1kg weight. This equates to about 1 litre of fluid. So roughly my sweat rate was 1 litre per hour. So this is what I needed to replace to prevent dehydrating to much. It doesn't take much dehydration to effect performance so its something I really wanted to stay on top of. With the loss of fluid through sweat comes the loss of electrolytes. This is why over long runs its a good idea to use an electrolyte drink. Trialling theses drinks during long runs is important, to make sure your stomach will not get upset and that the flavour wont become un-palatable over time.
The bonus of using an electrolyte drink is it has Carbohydrates . And this can contribute to your overall need for carbohydrate during those long runs. Its a double whammy.
I didn't get a chance in week 4 to try out my hydration strategy because I went away with my oldest daughters for a 3 day weekend ( I did surf a lot though so put that down as cross training) . In week 4 I managed to run a total of 19.5km, well under what the plan had set out. But its extremely tricky training with work commitments and family commitments.
Training for any endurance event means lots of hours by your self. Like most sport its a selfish pursuit and sometimes the training has to give a little while you delicately balance life. Its about here That Ill throw in these additional bits of info , My wife had also entered the 34km Hillary event with no running background at all. On top of this, we have 2 babies (under 1 and a half years) and 4 older kids. Both me and my wife are self employed. Life is busy......there was always going to be compromises in the training.
Week 5 came round , and although I went up north to celebrate My fathers birthday , I managed to run 74km total with a long run of 40km on trail. I managed to use my strategy , I carried a bottle and had a back pack with a bladder that could hold 3 litres. I re fuelled at a Tap around half way through my run. I didn't fade or collapse , so I deemed it a success.
Ill also add in here, I saw this training as an opportunity to reduce my weight. At the start of training I had weighed about 95kg. Which I didn't mind, but my surfboard was no longer holding me above water and a few of my favourite jeans were a lil tight! Plus something I noted was if your lighter you can run faster to a point. Plus it has a lot less impact on your joints. Now by week 5 I was 87.6kg! I had my hydration sorted, My long runs were going well and my weight had come down. Th Hillary was looking achievable at this point. Going into week 6 of training, life was getting even busier as it was only 2 weeks till xmas . I only ran twice that week one 18km run mid week and my biggest run ever at that point of 46km ! I did run out of fluid on the 46km, so I drank out of the streams. My time for the 46km was good. Things were going well and xmas was coming. I was injury free and running that 46km was a huge psychological boost for myself. I really felt like I could run this 80km event. It was time for me to get on top of my nutrition for the long runs and the race . My next blog will cover my nutrition strategies.