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.
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.
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!
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
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 www.julia-rittner-sports.de