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The Plans

Sharon Madigan - Month Four Plan

So the longer runs are now very much a part of your schedule. You should be starting to see your overall quantity of food increasing and it is crucial that you are getting your timing right when it comes to pre and post runs.

The key thing to remember when it comes to what YOU should be doing is that one size does not fit all when it comes to eating and drinking for YOUR training. It will be essential that. The key will be looking at when you do pre and post your training sessions and then fitting this in along with your family and work commitments. In the main most of the general public who are not running or training do consume too many carbohydrates especially from refined sugars and along with this fat intake is also too high. Yes, you can take some tips from some of the professional athletes out there but their lifestyle and training routine are very different to yours. They may train in the morning / mid-afternoon so not eating lots of carbohydrate food at that time should be fine. You may do all your training in the evenings after work so avoiding carbohydrate foods after training will compromise your recovery if you have done a plus one hour run. You also need to factor in your occupation. Most full time athletes are exactly this; training is their full time job. If you have a labour intensive job and are training, then think about it also.

I have included some pre and post breakfast ideas in this month’s plans. Many people aim to do their longer runs in the morning but if its later in the day these can still be used as snack ideas at other times. Trial the breakfast of choice for race day on pre longer runs in this phase. You are now starting to plan how race day will look and you should be really comfortable with your food intakes. Make sure you are recovering well after sessions. This is not the time to skimp on carbohydrate intake. The aim on longer run days is 1g Carbs per kg of body weight per hour. So if you are out for 1:30 and you at 70kg then you need to be introducing some carbs into your run. This can be done easily through fluids or some people will find that they prefer other options such as gels or even jellies. Again start small and work up to these quantities.

As the weather is “hopefully” getting warmer it is important to work out what fluid losses are. A weight pre and post the long run and account for your fluid intake. So if your 70kg pre and 69kg after and you consumed 1l fluids your usual losses are 2litres. The weather will have an effect on this so at the end of Oct it may not be as warm as September. The reason that this is also really important is that you will use carbs at a much faster rate if you are dehydrated. That means that fatigue will set in quicker. Fluid gives you a great way of mixing carbs in during your run. It helps to uptake fluids into the system as well. Some people can over do the fluid intake and slow themselves down due to extra weight. Practice to find the amount that suits you best which may vary depending on the temperature.

During a really warm day (which might be race day), it has been shown that pre cooling to reduce body temperature prior to exercise can improve performance. Ice drinks or is a very practical way of during this for most athletes. Other alternatives could be slushies (yes they also give carbs but watch the freeze brain!) or ice lollies pre and / or post. By cooling you down internally this can help your ability to work in the heat.

In practical terms if you’re sitting at a desk now start to ensure that you’re drinking regularly through the day. It requires some practice and we also need to get used to going to the toilet more frequently. It’s one of the reasons that people don’t drink enough. Remember if you’re thirsty that’s a late sign of dehydration. So get in there before you get to that stage.

Getting into routine is the key and also remembering that increased training will mean that volumes of food will be increasing over time.

Download the template below:

Download the plans here

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