I’ll admit as I entered the second last week of training, it was with more excitement than usual. Why? Because I decided to conduct an experiment!
First of all, just let me say… You should never try anything brand new as you approach race day. Don’t wear brand new shoes on race day, don’t try food you’ve never eaten for dinner the night before you race, don’t introduce any new fitness regimes into your schedule race week. And don’t try upping your diet to 65% fat for 10 days in the last 13 days before race day rolls around.
So… I decided to go directly against my own advice, directly against all conventional warnings. Why? I really need to see if this works and apparently I missed the ball in experimenting with it before one of my half-marathons in May or June. It’s a time crunch kind of thing. Plus, in my reading and researching I have been totally won over to the benefits. And I’ve already experimented with carb-depleted training and eat a lot of fat anyway…
Anyways, it’s happening.
Monday morning rolls around and with great excitement I cook up breakfast. No oatmeal, no granola, no chocolate cherry berry smoothie bowl (omg, I live for that, seriously)… it’s eggs, veggies and avocado cooked up in coconut oil and organic butter. Snack time brings me almonds. Lunch is a salad with chicken, pumpkin seeds, avocado again and a dressing rich in olive oil. Snack time rolls around… And I don’t want any more nuts. Or seeds. Or fat. In fact, I’m tired of this diet already. I want carbs. But I’m hungry so I eat handfuls upon handfuls of pumpkin seeds.
As you can see it got old fast. And it got worse. Monday evening I went out to run my tempo run with the group. The pumpkin seeds jumped up and down in my tummy. My energy petered out quickly. I was not happy with my paces (but I knew to expect this, so wasn’t surprised). In reality, my run was actually great, all things considered. But it’s always hard to see it that way though when everyone is passing you.
Bound and determined, I continued my experiment. Never have I spent so much time in the kitchen each morning. Never have I eaten so many eggs and avocado! And nuts and seeds for that matter. A drop in energy was absolutely to be expected and workouts were supposed to feel harder than usual. Par for the course. It was all playing out exactly as expected.
Wednesday’s track workout was mile repeats. My coach stood there on the track and called my times out as I rounded the corner each 400m. They didn’t make sense to me. Oh great, was my brain going too? The brain is fuelled by carbs after all. He praised me after I finished up those 5 repeats, saying I looked better and was faster than two weeks ago. So I went home and checked it out. Unfortunately there was no change in pace. However, I was still buoyed by the fact my form might have actually improved, ha. It’s likely because I’m leaner than two weeks ago.
Near the end of the week I was becoming used to this new feeling – of feeling full (of calories) yet hungry (for carbs). Of feeling strong (muscles) yet weak (no carbs fuelling me).
Saturday’s run was 14km and was likely the toughest of the week. Honestly. I stopped 12 times. I’d stop and just stand there. Talk myself into going again. And go. Twice was to have a sip of water from the water fountain I was passing. But really it was an excuse to stop. Anything to make it stop!
Then an odd thing happened. Sunday morning rolled around and after quite the sleep in (what can I say, you need more sleep when fat-loading?), I went out for my 17km run. My last long run before race day. Would be nice if this felt good, but I knew better than to be hopeful. As I set out, 17km loomed large and long in front of me.
I played a game with myself. Told myself that I’d already run 25km and had only 17km to go to reach the finish line of my marathon. I pretended it was race day and brought myself through the race. I counted down each km as if I’d already clocked 25 – at 5km in I was saying to myself 30km down, only 12km to go. At 11km in I thought wow, I’m at 36km now… This is where I usually bonk, but look how strong I am!
Oddly enough, I had an extraordinarily strong run – exactly 17.2km (of course I ran the 0.2km at the end). And wouldn’t you know it, I crossed my imaginary finish line of my imaginary marathon in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Hubby listened to my awesome race recap with amusement. “You know you didn’t really run 25km before the 17km, right?”.
Haha. Yah… I knew. But let me tell you, whatever mind games I played with myself, I am now convinced that those last 17.2km of my marathon are going to no problem at all!!
Whatever it takes, right 😉
And so now I enter the final week. Six more days and it’s race day. This fat-loading experiment lasts another 3 days. I totally think it’s working and it’s really not so bad after all. But still… I am really so very darn excited for Thursday to roll around so I can start my 3 carb-loading days!!! And even more excited to find out how it all plays out…
- Dec 30 to Jan 5 – 50km (actual – 57km)
- Jan 6 to 12 – 60km (actual – 63km)
- Jan 13 to 19 – 60km (actual – 63km)
- Jan 20 to 26 – 75km (actual – 77km)
- Jan 27 to Feb 2 – 105km (actual – 108km)
- Feb 3 to 9 – 90km (actual – 90km)
- Feb 10 to 16 – 75km (actual – 75km)
- Feb 17 to 24 – 105km (actual – 100km)
- Feb 25 to Mar 2 – 135km (actual – 135km)
- Mar 3 to 9 – 120km (actual – 105km)
- Mar 10 to 16 – 135km (actual 110km)
- Mar 17 to 23 – 150km (actual 83km)
- Mar 24 to 30 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km – no pace runs)
- Mar 31 to Apr 6 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km, nailed my pace runs)
- Apr 7 to 13 – 105km, with specific pace runs (actual 75km, got sick in the middle, but nailed all my pace runs)
- Apr 14 to 20 – 135km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km, nailed my pace runs)
- Apr 21 to 27 – 70km, with specific pace run and The Vancouver Sun Run 10km race (actual 48km, good pace run, race = 45:43)
- Apr 28 to May 4 – 105km, with specific pace runs and The BMO Half (actual 74km, race = 1:40:40)
- May 5 to 11 – 150km, with specific pace runs (actual = 58km, with pace run)
- May 12 to 18 – 135km, with specific pace runs (actual = 89km, with pace run)
- May 19 to 25 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual = 128, with pace run)
- May 26 to June 1 – 150km, with specific pace runs (actual = 94km, with pace run)
- June 2 to 8 – 135km, with Whistler Half (actual 64km, race = 1:45:11)
- June 9 to 15 – 105km, with specific pace runs (actual 82km, no pace runs)
- June 16 to 22 – 150km, with Seattle Half (actual 69km, race = 1:41:08)
- June 23 to 29 – 120km (amended to 150 by coach Carey), with specific pace runs (actual 151km, with pace run)
- June 30 to July 6 – 105km (amended to 120-125 by coach Carey), with specific pace runs (actual 123km, with Wed track run & Sat M pace run)
- July 7 to 13 – 105km (amended to 115-120 by coach Carey), with specific pace runs (actual 120km, with Mon & Thurs tempos)
- July 14 to 20 – taper week, 90km, with specific pace runs (actual 92km, with Mon tempo and Wed track)
- July 21 to 27 – final taper week