Nate’s Carb Adventure for His First Marathon

Nate is signed up to race Fargo this year.  He held out on the marathon distance, but the combination of having to answer the question “Have you run a marathon” with “no”, (answer really was: well, I have run the marathon distance as a training run for skiing, but no, not technically… which is WAAAY too long of an answer and people would get bored of him half way through the explanation) and the fact that his Dad signed up for Fargo to celebrate his 60th birthday (and heck, if he is SIXTY…).  My brother also decided to run Fargo as his first marathon (age 22).  Nate decided he just had to join everyone and at least give it a try.

His original goal was 3:15-20 and he asked me to sketch out a plan for the hard workouts.  Soon he asked me to fill in the entire workout plan.  Not going to lie, this is the first time he’s ever asked  for a daily plan (I’ve been telling him he should write out a nordic ski plan for, well, forever) – and I was SUPER impressed with how well he followed it.  There were evenings where he would get home late and I’d ask him what he needed to do.  He’d respond, “Well, my plan says 9 miles – so 9 it is!”.  You know how it is when you’re tired, and it’s late – the last thing you want to do is a run that will conclude around 10 at night.  But he’d never talk about shortening it, switching days, etc.  He also didn’t drag his feet – he’d just hit the pavement.

There were sometimes that he’d be a little too beat up and I’d re-arrange the plan.  It’s not easy to turn ski legs into marathon legs within a matter of about 6-8 weeks.  But other than that, I think he can say he followed the plan to a “T”.

It was also fun to do some of our workouts together.  In fact, the last tempo workout we did he kept up with me for the last repeat.

After the Boston bombings, Nate declared that he wanted to hit a Boston qualifier.  It’s 3:05 for men.  This will take a huge day for him, but I am all about shooting for huge goals.

So, now that we’re the week of the race,  I asked him if he wanted  to try my carb-depletion and loading regimine.  He shrugged his shoulders and said “Why not? I’ll need every last advantage I can get!”.  Normally I wouldn’t recommend this for first-time marathoners, as the first marathon should just be about seeing where you’re at and the experience in general (you can start pulling out all of the stops for the second, third, etc).  But, he will need every advantage he can get – and plus, I just wanted to experiment. Hehehe, evil coach :).

Just wait until the next training cycle… bwa-hahahaha!

I’m curious to see how a larger guy who burns pretty “hot” (i.e. not my pathetic metabolism) responds.  2 days in, and here are the results:

  • Day 1:  Great.  Egg scrambles, lettuce wraps, and burgers.  He even substituted diet coke for coke (big deal for him).  Nothing really to note.
  • Day 2:  
    • AM: Received text: “Wow – this carb depletion thing hit me! Head is very foggy this morning”.  Apparently, as the day went on, things got better.  But he did say that at the start of the day he was a little worried about coming at someone with a dental handpiece and being shaky :).
    • PM: After a burger, side salad and 2-3 chicken breasts (not sure how many he devoured), he longingly opens the fridge.  “I just want sugar!”.  20 minutes later he opens the pantry and cries out to the dog that he really wants marshmallows (really, no other sugar in the house).
  • Day 3: tomorrow, so nothing to note yet.  He has my typical short tempo workout scheduled for the early AM.  Should be interesting, I’m sure :).  Stay tuned!
  • Day 4-6: carb-loading.  He is excited to have a coke 🙂

I’m also doing the depletion/loading, but I’ve found the more that I’ve done this, the less the depletion phase affects me.  My breathing today was a little more labored than usual, but not bad.  It usually takes me until the end of the third day to really feel much (although my first adventure, here, I reacted pretty strongly).

Onward to Fargo!

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  1. At the end of the first day of depletion, I get weepy and panicy, but then it's clear sailing. Funny how everyone gets hit differently.

  2. Weepy and panicy… interesting. But I guess I'd expect nothing less from you! Ha. How long before you feel completely drained in the legs? Guess I was a little surprised at how absolutely drained Nate was after the workout the morning of the 3rd day. His legs still feel drained and slow… will be interesting to see how his legs come around. Hopefully I didn't coach him into doing something dumb!

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