In April thousands of runners will take on the Boston Marathon many for the first time. Fiteeza is focused on a special newbie marathoner Bridget Nelson, our social media guru. Each week check back here for updates on her training progress and find how she is sleeping, what she is eating and her strategy for pacing herself through Hopkinton and attacking Heartbreak Hill.
Whether you're a Fitness Pro who trains endurance athletes or you are considering training to compete like one, Fiteeza is highlighting Bridget's journey to give you an insider's view of her experience. Give us a shout out if there is a specific question you want us to ask Bridget or if you have any sage advice.
How many days per week do you run during your training? Does that represent an increase for you?
Single digits are left in my training for Boston Marathon - only 9 to go! My current training plan from my coach has me running 3 days a week: I do a speed track session, treadmill class with hills and sprints culminating in my Saturday Long run. Thankfully before I was given the opportunity to run the marathon I was always doing 2 running days a week so I just had to add in the long run, plus some extra miles!
What time of day do you run? Do you ever alter your schedule due to other commitments?
I prefer to run in the morning - it sets my day up and I feel accomplished. Knowing that training is vital to have a successful race, I’ve already been adjusting my schedule to prioritize my training days from running to cross training. I find that if I don’t put working out first, I might not get it done and I don’t want to sabotage myself. So far, I’ve been fortunate in that my schedule of training doesn’t overlap with anything, except sleeping in on the weekend since by 9am on Saturday i’m out for my long run!
On those early runs, what do you eat before heading out?
Early in the year, I started making an effort to reduce eating added sugars. Since I started training I only let myself have added sugars once a week and I’ve noticed a difference. The day before my long run, I eat simple, clean meals and it makes a huge difference on the long runs. My go-to breakfast right now is a smoothie: frozen mango, banana, 2 cups raw kale, coconut water, and a scoop of organic whey collagen powder. I immediately start feeling energized, full, and ready to take on the day!
Are you training alone? If not, are any of your training runs done alone?
Nearly every bit of my training has been training in groups. I take cross training classes and run with running groups. My first 10 mile training run I did by myself. The, I joined up with the running community called The Heartbreakers. They do weekly track workouts and long runs on Saturdays (when my long runs are planned). It’s made a huge difference in my running. I am genuinely looking forward to the long runs where I have a group around me because we encourage one another.
Which training style do you prefer, alone or with a partner? When you run alone do you listen to music?
I don’t know if I have a favorite, alone vs a group. I do know that when my miles increase above 15 a group, or even just one person around me, makes all the difference. Running in a group helps me feed off others energy and we all keep pushing each other to go a tiny bit further.
I’ve been trying to get used to running sans music because on race day I just want to soak it all in. For my past half-marathons, I always completed my longer training runs alone. Alone and with loud, sing along music!
When running with music, I always like a mix of pop, classic rock and even oldies. For a few races, I planned my playlist according to where I would be on the course. This was to ensure that when I was hitting my wall songs would play that I just had to rock out to. I’ll admit those songs most recently have been ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by JT and ‘X Gone Give it to you’. One is a happy feel good song and the other just makes me feel like a badass when singing the lyrics. Music is a great motivator for me when I’m alone on a run. For this marathon training I’m letting my body tell me what it wants whether that’s music or not.
What does your diet look like now compared to your non-training diet? Do you eat a pre/post run snack? Do you drink water or sports beverages during runs?
Food is fuel. It’s essential to my training. I keep to eating clean about 80% of the time. I think my diet is more consistent while training because I can immediately feel when I eat unhealthy or inconsistent meals. If I have a lot of sugar or processed food I can feel it for sure. This past long run, I had all new foods and not what I usually consume before a run and I didn't feel as strong as I did the past few long runs.
My meals have become fairly basic: I have the same kale/mango smoothie for breakfast (frozen mango, kale, banana, coconut water, whey protein). My lunches and dinners are usually a combination of baked or grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and veggies.
My pre/post run snacks are very similar: Pre run I have been eating the same granola and banana with almond milk. It's delicious and keeps me feeling full and satisfied. During my longer runs, I pack homemade banana chips and salt chews to eat during the run to keep me fueled. I usually just stick to water because of the snacks I have during the run so I don't drink sports beverages.
Post run, I focus heavily on drinking water and replacing electrolytes. I usually have a few more salt chews. Then within the hour of running I have been eating a mix of carbs, protein, and fats plus some guac - aka enchiladas at a local Mexican place since it hits the spot and fills me up!