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Following GU’s nutrition planner can help you perform your best

You train for months to chase your 13.1-mile PR at 3M Half Marathon. All of your hard work leads up to Sunday, January 23rd. GU Energy Labs, the Official Energy Gel and Chew of 3M Half Marathon, is here to help you perform your best! Their products are scientifically proven to give you the energy you need. Their on-course Nutrition Station will be near Mile 7.

GU will provide the following flavors of gels and chews on course: Salted Caramel (35 mg of caffeine) , Tri-Berry (35 mg of caffeine), Campfire S’mores (no caffeine) Chews Flavors: Strawberry Energy Chews & WatermelonEnergy Chews (no caffeine).

All aid stations will be stocked with water and Strawberry Lemonade nuun to keep you hydrated on course.

But it is not all about race day. What you do in the days leading up can also impact your performance on the course. Below we will provide some tips and information that you can do before the race.

Fueling Before Running a Half Marathon

During the week before you run a half marathon, you need to focus on both hydration and providing sufficient energy/fueling.  Your calorie intake will be higher than usual and you will increase your carb load. It is also important that you hydrate in the week leading up to race day. You can supplement your water intake with nuun hydration to make sure you are getting the electrolytes your body needs to be sufficiently hydrated come race morning.

When you combine carbohydrate loading and tapering your workouts, you can store more energy in your muscles which will give you more energy sources during your event.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that carb-loading begins one week before the event with another additional increase 1-3 days out. ” Increase your carbohydrate intake to about 8 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Cut back on foods higher in fat to compensate for the extra carbohydrate-rich foods. Also, scale back your training for three to four days before the event. The combination of eating more carbohydrates and tapering activity appears to boost muscle glycogen stores.

For most athletes, 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily is right for general training. (Note that 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.) Endurance athletes may need up to 12 grams per kilogram.”10 Low carb hit SvV | Voedingscentrum | Flickr

To give you an idea of carb counts, these foods have 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • One slice of bread
  • One 6-inch tortilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 medium baked potato or sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • One small apple
  • Two tangerines
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups green beans
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or yogurt

On race morning you will want to rise early so that you can eat at least 2-3 hours before your start time. This will allow you to digest and not have a heavy stomach. Oversleep? Don’t panic, go with a lighter meal with supplemented liquid or gel carbs.

On Course Fueling Advice & Half Marathon Nutrition Planner

Image of GU Energy Labs' half marathon nutrition plan. GU is the Official Energy Gel and Chew of the 3M Half Marathon. Click on this image to download the nutrition plan that can help you perform your best on race day.Here are some tips for making sure you’re giving your body what it needs so you perform your best on race day. Planning what to eat during a race can be overwhelming. With so many variables, it’s hard to determine what the “right” answer is for you. When deciding what to eat and drink, we think it’s helpful to break it down by looking at the nutrients your body needs.

A successful nutrition plan takes into account the number of calories your system can handle in an hour. It should also factor in your body’s need for electrolytes, amino acids, water, and protein. When thinking about your nutritional need for a race or training session, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Every day is different. For example, body size, air temperature, activity type, intensity, and personal preference will affect your nutritional needs.

That’s why we recommend mixing and matching products to find out what works for you. For example, if you prefer to drink your calories, you can bottle up your fuel using ROCTANE Energy Drink. We developed a half marathon Nutrition Planner to help you dial in your plan for race day. We all know things can change on race day, but it helps to start with a plan! Download the Nutrition Planner and follow the steps below.

Here’s how to use our Nutrition Planner

  1. Pick your goal finishing time and find out what your average pace will be
  2. Use the table to determine your total nutritional need for the event
  3. Mix and match your favorite products and flavors, then calculate your totals
  4. Make sure your plan meets your body’s demand for each nutritional element

Veteran runners provide important tips for beginner half marathoners

People register for half marathons for all sorts of reasons. Some sign up because they want the sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing their first finish line. Others because they want to prove something to themselves or others. While the motives to start running may differ, one thing remains true: everyone is a beginner at some point! Completing your first 13.1-miler is an experience you won’t forget. Beginner half marathoners looking for advice have come to the right place. We collected the advice for beginner half marathoners that’s beneficial, thoughtful, insightful, and worth a read! Pro tip: if some terms are unfamiliar then become familiar with them!

Nutrition and hydration

  • Make sure your nutrition/hydration plan accounts for race-day temperatures.
  • Stop drinking about an hour before the start.
  • Stop at the aid stations before you think you need to. Some experienced runners will talk about how getting a little dehydrated is totally fine – and it is. But for your first half marathon, you risk more by letting yourself get behind on hydration than overdoing it.
  • Practice eating nutrition and drinking hydration during training. Experiment to find what works best for you. Make sure your stomach tolerates it. You might deal with some things better than others!

Training

  • Consistency in training.
  • If you trained well, then you’ve done everything that’s within your control. 
  • When running up and down hills, shorten your stride. Study the maps. Run the tangents.

Mentality

  • Start now ignoring that voice in your head that will tell you, this is hard, you can’t do it, you’re too old, it hurts, you can try again another race. You have to push through believing in your training and your determination and perseverance!
  • Bad patches will pass if you just distract yourself for a bit.
  • Don’t get stressed if you are a little boxed in early on.
  • Smile at all the cameras, thank as many volunteers as you can, high five all the people that put their hand out, take in all the scenery and enjoy every bit of it – YOU’RE RUNNING A HALF MARATHON!

Logistics

  • Body-glide, don’t forget it. 
  • Cotton is not your friend. 
  • However long you anticipate your half marathon will take to finish, multiply it by 2.5. Then make sure your playlist is that long, especially if you want warm-up tunes at the start line. There’s something weirdly demoralizing about your playlist starting over again when you thought it was long enough. 
  • If you feel a blister forming look for an aid station and add some vaseline or moleskin (if available).

Pacing

  • If you feel like you need to walk you need to slow down.
  • Run at your target pace, do not get sucked into running faster because of the rush you get from the other runners/crowd. 
  • Don’t go out too fast! The secret to a fast half marathon is a negative split (meaning you run the second half of your race faster than the first half). Patience! 
  • Go slow, start slow, and ignore the pressure to pick up your pace just because you’re doing well. 
  • Do not set a time goal for your first half marathon.
  • If you don’t think you’re going too slow, you’re going too fast.

And the most common advice we heard for beginner half marathoners?

Nothing. New. On. Race. Day!

7 different ways your training can create the healthier lifestyle you want

Half marathons are extremely popular within the running community. Every day, more people start running as a way to create a healthier lifestyle. Consistency is key if half marathon training is to become a factor in reaching your goal of having a healthier lifestyle. Even if you spend 12-18 weeks training, the consistency of your training plan will naturally lead you to a healthier lifestyle. Yes, you have to hydrate, get enough sleep, and eat right. That’s what will fuel your body during training. Doing that effectively will provide you with what you need during your half marathon training and factor into your healthier lifestyle. Below are 7 different ways training for 13.1 miles can create the healthier lifestyle you want.

Improve cardiovascular capacity

Your stamina will improve as your mileage increases.

Your cardiovascular capacity will become more efficient as your miles increase during your training. Cardiovascular capacity is basically your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. This is vital to your growth as a runner! As your body gets better at this, you’ll be able to cover longer distances. During your build-up, that tough 6-mile run will become just another number during your longer runs down the road. Building up your stamina coincides with your increase in mileage, which will help on race day.

Burn calories

Once you get into the groove and start covering long distances regularly, your body’s metabolism rate will improve. New runners also burn more calories than veteran runners because they’re working harder. Don’t forget to fuel your body with a well-balanced diet and regularly hydrate. Burning calories is directly linked to the next benefit, weight loss. But you have to burn more than you take in! That’s why eating healthy foods and hydrating effectively is the foundation to a healthier lifestyle.

Lose weight

You’ll lose weight during your training if you follow your plan and eat healthily.

If you eat properly, hydrate effectively, and stick to your training plan, weight loss will occur. This could also help you become a better and more efficient runner. The less weight you run with, the easier it will be for your body to run. Some runners actually do the opposite and wear weighted vests. This makes their run or workout more difficult, helping them become stronger. Your metabolism, a balanced diet, and consistent routine are all crucial to losing weight and establishing a healthier lifestyle. 

Create structure

Finding the right balance in one’s life isn’t simple these days, especially with work, family, friends, travel, and leading a healthier lifestyle. Once you decide to train for a half marathon, you’ll need to fit that into your busy schedule. Figure out what works best for you, build your routine, and you’ll develop a natural schedule. All you need to do is be smart and tweak your lifestyle around this schedule. If you’re a morning person, knock out your run before work. Skip that happy hour and fast food and eat a healthy meal and go to bed early instead. If you have kids, take them with you. All of these little changes will create your training structure.

Better your mental health

Running can reduce your stress and anxiety levels.

Life, work, kids, unnecessary drama, and uncontrollable external factors can all increase stress and anxiety. This could lead to poor eating, drinking too much, and a lack of sleep. Running helps reduce stress and anxiety which in turn helps you stay on track. Solidifying your routine, strengthening your body, and eating well can make you fit and improve your mental health. Think of it as a cycle

  • you build a routine, eat right, and sleep well so you can train
  • your training can help reduce stress and anxiety
  • you reduce stress and anxiety so you can stay on track
  • repeat!

Join the running community

There are running groups and clubs just about everywhere. Some are free, some charge a monthly fee for coaching and training. Give them a try until you find the one(s) that work best for you. They could help dictate your schedule, introduce you to new people, and get advice from veteran runners. As you get more comfortable, you’ll meet new people and slowly become a part of your running community.

Boost immunity

Better metabolism, improved stamina, and increased lung capacity are health benefits that can lead to an improved immune system. This could help your body recover from runs faster, make you less susceptible to illness, and further your healthier lifestyle. If you’re sick you won’t be able to run or workout until you’re better. Having an immune system that’s in tip-top shape will keep you on track and in your healthier lifestyle routine.

Running has many benefits that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Settle on your routine and stick with it. Eat right, hydrate effectively, and get enough sleep. All of these actions are connected to your training and can lead to a healthier lifestyle. All of this can benefit your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.