What’s Your Fuel Plan?

Chi26.2 Week 8 / NYC26.2 Week 5 / Nap26.2 Week 4 (June 29rd, 2014)



It's not who we are that holds us back


Hi Team – the training plans for this week for each target marathon are as follows:


Chicago Marathon Week 8 Training Plan.

Plan Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total
Novice 4 5 R or XT 5 Rest 11 R or XT 24
Beginner 4 6 R or XT 5 Rest 12 R or XT 27
Intermediate 4 7 R or XT 6-7 Rest 14 R or XT 31-32


NYC Marathon Week 5 Training Plan.

Plan Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total
Novice 3 5 R or XT 4-5 Rest 9 R or XT 21-22
Beginner 3 5 R or XT 5 Rest 9 R or XT 22
Intermediate 3 6 R or XT 6 Rest 10 R or XT 25


Naperville Marathon Week 4 Training Plan.

Plan Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total
Novice 3 5 R or XT 4 Rest 8 R or XT 20
Beginner 3 5 R or XT 4-5 Rest 8 R or XT 20-21
Intermediate 3 6 R or XT 5 Rest 9 R or XT 23

Recall R or XT refers to a Rest day or Cross-Train for ~30 minutes. This involves Yoga, swimming, weights, cycling stretching etc.


Going forward the weekly runs will not change much for the novice and beginner plans and generally will remain between a max. of 5 to 6 miles.

The exception being for the Intermediate plan where the mid-week runs will slowly progress to between 8 to 10 miles.

However, over the next 10 weeks the most significant change will be the steady increase in the Long Run distance – again the key workout to prepare for your Marathon.


Continue to set priorities in your weekly schedule to balance family, work and make every effort to get in your training runs.

Oh about those runs – I thought I’d provide a couple of links to why we all should run >80% of our miles at an easy pace in order to be faster and stronger come time for the marathon.

Most runners run too fast too often and run the risk of injury that could side-line them from getting to the start line on race day.

I’d recommend you review the two articles.

This is the number one challenge I have with runners training for a marathon.

Most people think they need to run their long runs at goal pace or faster. Even the very best experienced marathon runners slow their pace down so they are stronger and faster come race day.






By the way these two web sites are a great resource for training tips and I encourage you to explore these sites for articles of interest to you.

So what is the training tip of the week?

Well last week I re-emphasized the need to practice a food plan before and after long runs, and, I provided some thoughts on recovery, shoes and strategies to avoid chaffing.

This week, I would like you to begin to develop your fuel plan for the marathon and to start to experiment with various fueling strategies now – so that you know what works for you come race day. Why?



drinking runnerYou cannot run the entire marathon on water alone. Recall, we all have sufficient glycogen or energy stores in our bodies to sustain running for approximate 90 min.

Depending on whatever pace you run that may be between 8 to 10 or 11 miles.

The marathon is more than 2-3 times that distance and will require you to sustain being on your feet from 3.5 to 5.5 hours. Therefore you will want to take in some form of fuel during the race.


Some people are ok with Gatorade or the energy drink supplied at the various water stations on the race course and generally you may consume this at every or alternating water station.

Check your particular marathon to review what product will be provided – some races may Gatorade bottlehave Gatorade or a Powerade product. I highly recommend you practice taking the exact same product and flavor in during your long run to test if you like the product, if not, or as an alternative, you may want to experiment with an alternative fuel source to sustain you during your long runs. Once again what works for one runner may not be ideal for the next.




There are a variety of energy supplements other than Gatorade or Powerade out there. Over the years I have experimented with GU’s, cliff bloks, chews and a various Gel products. I recommend you visit a local running store and pick up a number of different products to test. Please read the labels carefully – some products contain caffeine – that you may or may not want to consume. Also be mindful of the recommended intake – typically these are 90 – 110 cal servings per package – but note that one sleeve of Cliff Bloks with six cubes contains two servings of 100 calories and therefore is the equivalent of two Gu or Hammer gels packages. There are a tremendous number of flavors to try. The key is to test these to see which textures and flavors you like during your run. Some products like Hammer Gels are made with natural honey and these may be more appealing to you than others based on your dietary needs.


Ok the options are endless. Now what to do?

If you recall most half marathons distribute gels at about mile 8, to help the runner finish the 13.1 miles.

However, during the marathon you need to take in energy more frequently. As a general rule of thumb you will want to consume one gel or energy supplement every 45-50 min.


As an example I will share with you what I did for a number of marathons and also what I have done during my last 4-5 marathons. In the past, I would consume two Cliff Blok Black Cherry cubes every 40 min during my Long Runs – oh and Gualso during my marathon just prior to entering a water station. I preferred this because I could take smaller amounts more frequently than a GU or gel package and I liked chewing the Blok like a gummy bear and chasing it with water.


However, more recently I have switched to a Power Bar product that has the texture of apple sauce that doesn’t require it to be chased with water. These are more cumbersome to carry but I now like this better as I don’t have to rely on water stations on the course and I can take a single serving exactly every 5 miles during my long runs and marathon. I continue to practice this during all my long training runs so my body learns to adapt and know what to expect during my runs.


The point of going through this is to get you to start thinking about what your preferred strategy will be. You need time to work this out. If your long runs are between 9 -12 miles then consume one gel/serving mid- run to test. As your long run increases to 14-16 and then to 20 miles, try one serving every 5 to 6 miles. Be mindful of how you feel 10 – 15 min after taking in the fuel. If it upsets your stomach – you can try once again but this is a signal to switch products.


Once last comment – Never chase the energy gel/supplement with Gatorade or Powerade – these typically do not mix well. Use only water to mix with whatever gel you consume. You can still consume 1-2 oz of Gatorade at an alternating water stations between gel intake. Generally I do not rely on the race course energy supplement and only take water on the course when I am thirsty.


You may be thinking why to do this so now many weeks out from the marathon. I can’t stress this more – come race day most of you will run for between 3.5 to 5.5 hours to complete the marathon. To accomplish this you will need to supply your body with energy in addition to the water on the course to stay hydrated. Working out your strategy now over the next ten weeks with prepared you for race day. Do you want to rely on the Gatorade supplied or other do you prefer an alternative product.


All of this fits into developing a plan to be ready and capable of finishing the marathon come race day.

Stick to the training plan and work on your race day fuel plan.

If you have any questions, or, if you would like specific recommendations to try, please sent me an email.


I hope all of this will help you build confidence in yourself to be ready and capable of completing your marathon.


Work hard – your training will pay off.

Happy Running!


Posted on: No Comments

Leave a Reply