I had never craved Peanut M&M’s so much in my life. I’d go to the grocery store, buy a “sharing size” bag of the candy, and eat it in about 10 minutes. I did this several times per week. It was a wonderful time, but it was also tough on my body.
This was how I spent the first three weeks training for my marathon. I felt hungry and incredibly exhausted. I didn’t pay much attention to fueling my body.
It wasn’t until a tough 7-mile run that I decided to make a change. During this run, I reached a point where I really struggled. I felt like I was dragging more than usual — both mentally and physically. A long distance run is never easy, but this was different. For the first time, I felt like my body was trying to tell me something.
When I got home, I did a lot of research and talked to friends who finished marathons. They had all different tips and techniques, but one topic was constantly revisited: nutrition. I realized I wasn’t fueling myself strategically. Marathon training is hard on the body, and I wasn’t making it any easier for myself by eating carelessly.
Since then, I’ve developed a morning running routine that’s more beneficial for my body. (Disclaimer: I’m not an expert in nutrition, and this is all from personal experience)
On long distance running days, I wake up 30 minutes ahead of time, eat a piece of toast, and do some dynamic stretches. I pack some mid-run food (like Gu, chews, or frozen grapes) and stick a water bottle in my mailbox. Then, I lace up my shoes and run. About one hour into the run, I’ll have a snack and drink some water.
After I finish running, I immediately rehydrate with water with Nuun dissolvable electrolytes. I also make a healthy smoothie packed with nutrients to help my body recover.
Since making these changes, my body feels balanced and restored. I ran 9 miles recently, and I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. It wasn’t easy, but it didn’t feel impossible like before. I’m amazed at how small changes can have such a dramatic effect.
These lessons in learning to take care of myself run parallel to marathon training itself. There is a lot to learn and study, but I can’t do it all in one day. It takes time and effort.
Persistence. Faith. Self-love. Patience. And most of all, an unwavering commitment to become a better version of myself.