I picked up a copy of this book a while ago and finally got around to read it. As I read it I was looking for tips for changes that I could make to my training that could potentially help me avoid hitting the wall in the last 10 km of a marathon. Having read it I know have a list of a few things to try out.
Obviously from the title the focus of the book is on nutrition and fuelling for marathons and half-marathons. Matt Fitzgerald offers some new ideas both in terms of overall nutrition but also race day fuelling. The goal is to help readers avoid hitting the wall late into a race.
The first tip offerred by Fitzgerald is to get lean. By that he means getting down to your ideal race weight. He offers some tips on how to determine what your ideal race weight is. The big takeaway for me here was not so much the idea of getting lean because it stands to reason that being lighter will help you go faster. For me what caught my attention was his suggestion that it is normal to gain weight, within reason, after a big race. The idea is that if you keep that gain within reason it won’t be difficult to get back down to your ideal race weight when you start another training cycle.
The next aspect I thought was important was within regards to overall nutrition. Fitzgerald does not a our avoiding any foods. What he does do is ranking food in the following order: vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish/lean meat, whole grains, dairy, refined grains fat meat, sweets, fried food. What you want to do here is eat more of the first 6 groups while limiting the last 4.
A new idea I plan to try during my next cycle is that of doing a marathon simulator, 26.2 km at marathon pace, 3 or 4 weeks before my next marathon. I’ve added mileage at race pace during my longs runs in the past but never as much as this idea recommends. The idea here is to get in a long run at race pace that is enough mileage for a long run but not too much mileage that it will take you a few days to recover from.
The final idea that caught my interest in the book was the idea of increasing your intake of fat, healthy fats, before you start your carb load. The recommendation is to Increase your fat intake during last 2 weeks of training (10 days then 3 day carb load). The goal is to get 65% of your intake from fat (avocados, cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, whole milk, salmon, Caesar salad). I plan to try this on a shorter scale before a half-marathon this fall to see how I react to it.
If you are looking for a new approach to your training and nutrition I recommend reading this book. It also has some training plans at the end to help guide you through your training.