Run training made easy: an interview with fitness trainer and nutrition coach Julia Rittner, part 2

FROGBLOG: Julia, from your expe­ri­ence as a nutri­tion coach, what should run­ners pay atten­tion to on the last few days before the run, imme­di­ate­ly before the run and dur­ing the half marathon itself?

Julia Rit­tner: On the last few days before the race you should have a high car­bo­hy­drate diet. The car­bo­hy­drate reserves can be replen­ished, par­tic­u­lar­ly on the day before the run, but please do so 24 hours before the race itself. I always advise my ath­letes to avoid fibre rich food on the day before the race and eat less veg­eta­bles, let­tuce or nuts, so as to reduce the bur­den on the gas­troin­testi­nal tract and give it less diges­tive work to do.

Julia Rittner, Portrait Willingen

Fit­ness train­er and nutri­tion coach Julia Rit­tner

On the morn­ing of the race, an ade­quate amount of car­bo­hy­drates should be eat­en 3 hours before the start – prefer­ably eas­i­ly digestible car­bo­hy­drates and few­er whole ones, accord­ing to expe­ri­ence. I know that dur­ing train­ing each run­ner has already test­ed his or her opti­mum break­fast before a long run. Many swear by soaked rolled oats with hon­ey or toast with hon­ey or jam. An hour or even 30 min­utes before the start, accord­ing to expe­ri­ence, they also eat a small ener­gy bar, a ripe banana or anoth­er small slice of toast and hon­ey. Flu­id intake dur­ing the race is crit­i­cal so they do not wait to feel thirsty but head straight for each refresh­ment sta­tion to take on more flu­id! One thing I strong­ly advise them to test dur­ing train­ing is nutri­tion while run­ning. The gas­troin­testi­nal tract is high­ly sen­si­tive dur­ing stren­u­ous exer­cise and there is some nutri­tion that it does not nec­es­sar­i­ly tol­er­ate. After 60 min­utes the car­bo­hy­drate reserves are emp­ty and a car­bo­hy­drate gel, a bar or a ripe banana, accord­ing to expe­ri­ence, can pro­vide ener­gy for the sec­ond half of the race. But it must always be accom­pa­nied by flu­id intake.

Julia Rittner_Fuß

FROGBLOG: Now for appar­el – what kind
of run­ning gear do you advise our run­ners to wear on 11 May in Mainz? What in
par­tic­u­lar do you think they should they keep in mind?

Julia Rit­tner: It is very impor­tant not to start exper­i­ment­ing on race day! The run­ning shoes and all the cloth­ing are famil­iar and have been tried out over a longer run, and the nutri­tion dur­ing the race should hold no sur­pris­es, either. At the start we should feel almost a bit too light­ly dressed, because over-warm clothes can have a dis­turb­ing effect once the body is at run­ning tem­per­a­ture and
there is a risk of over­heat­ing. We will have to wait until race day in Mainz to see what vari­ant is best – we have already found the event equal­ly enjoy­able in inces­sant rain and in blis­ter­ing heat.

FROGBLOG: Per­haps it is more than non-run­ners can com­pre­hend, but can one get hooked on run­ning?

Julia Rit­tner: The body releas­es more Endor­phins dur­ing sport­ing activ­i­ties, so we auto­mat­i­cal­ly receive endoge­nous feel-good hor­mones that nat­u­ral­ly increase our sense of well-being. If the lev­el is high, a state of pseu­do-intox­i­ca­tion can be reached: we are on a vir­tu­al high and total­ly light-head­ed! Then we can eas­i­ly get a bit addict­ed, with the deter­min­ing fac­tor being the dose – if used in mod­er­a­tion, indi­vid­u­al­ly and for health-ori­ent­ed pur­pos­es, move­ment is a Mag­ic bul­let for achiev­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal health!

Julia Rittner_Lauf Wbn

FROGBLOG: And final­ly, how is your own prepa­ra­tion for the Mainz half marathon going? What goals have you set your­self?

Julia Rit­tner: I am enjoy­ing doing light prepa­ra­tion as part of my reg­u­lar train­ing and on the day itself I will rel­ish every kilo­me­tre, as I did last year, relaxed and hap­py to be part of a
fan­tas­tic team!

Thank you, Julia, for your sug­ges­tions and for your per­son­al impres­sions and expe­ri­ences.

With con­tin­ued run train­ing and thanks to your advice, the Mainz Marathon is bound to be an event that pleas­es every­one. We hope you con­tin­ue to enjoy your train­ing and wish you lots of fun on 11 May with the ENERGETIX run­ning team!

You can find more infor­ma­tion from and about Julia Rit­tner at