Eating the Burn Series: Long Run Day

eating the burn

I ran 20 miles yesterday so I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at what I ate and drank in the name of science and my humble quest to investigate whether I’m consuming enough energy while marathon training.

Windy, wet and wintery. Hat & gloves kept me company 🙂

I’m not gonna sugar coat it. The 20 miles was a struggle challenging. It was a dark, completely overcast day and I wasn’t feeling full of beans when I left the house at 10:30am so my start point was admittedly somewhat lacking. No matter. I’m the type of runner who, foolishly or otherwise, if the schedule says the long run this week is to be 20 miles, then that’s what I do. Too bad if you’re cranky and not in the mood. Don’t misunderstand me here- I’m not bragging about how hardcore I am, I’m just really stubborn about it and no matter how much I might not be in the mood to run, it’s a million times better than having to think about the fact that I didn’t run for the rest of the day. It’s a weird head thing.

Of course, I got into the run once I was out there (after around the 8 mile point…) and did alright for the second 8-9 miles, but then I more or less bonked. Miles 18,19 and 20 were fairly pathetic and I was solely focused on just getting it done and being finished. The relief when my Garmin beeped at me at mile 20 was euphoric. Just not my best day. I think most runners probably experience this phenomenon where despite an appropriate meal the evening before, a good night’s sleep and sensible prep, you just sometimes have days where you don’t feel it. Or at least, I hope I’m not the only one….! Having said that, Garmin tells me that I clocked the 20 miles in 3.05, which is actually not that bad, for me, so go figure!

I stretched, foam-rolled and downed a litre of water immediately after regaining the feeling in my feet. I should have had a recovery smoothie but I had neglected to the prep before I left and all I wanted to do after I’d had a drink was get into a hot shower and into some warm clothes. This was naughty and stupid. Next week, I’ll be better prepared.

So, after confessing to what I didn’t do, here’s a rundown of what I did put into my face yesterday post long-run:

9am: Hot cross bun and flora light. Glenisk fat free blueberry greek yogurt.

2pm: Wholegrain toasted sandwich, flame-grilled mini chicken fillets, low fat cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, fat-free mayo and pesto. 1 large cafetiere of coffee (don’t judge me) and 1 litre of water.

3pm: Maltesers (37g bag)

5pm: Wholegrain sandwich, tuna, sweetcorn, fat-free mayo, lettuce, tomato. More water (1L).

8pm: Fillet steak, chickpeas with chilli and garlic, spinach, green beans and butternut squash. Mars ice-cream bar for dessert. Mmm.

10pm: Giant bowl of berries, banana, apple, greek yogurt and trail mix.

11pm: Bowl of honeydew melon and a raisin and biscuit yorkie.

And the science bit:

Meal: Kcals Carb Sugar Protein Fat Sat Fat Fibre
Brekkie 320 49.6g 28.6g 16.6g 5.7g 0.8g
Lunch 529


44.4g 7.9 50.2g 18.7g 7.5g 6.7g
Snack 187 22.8g 19.2g 3g 9.2g 5.6g ?
2nd Lunch 341 50g 10.6g 27.1g 4.5g 1.4g 8g
Dinner 792 74.5g 40.2g 60.6g 27.2g 13.1g 16.4g
Supper 586 92.2g 59.5g 26.45g 11.9g 5.6g 10.1g
Snack 108














Now, I deliberately ate like a horse on Sunday. I definitely do not eat like this every day. Having done the biology mathematics in my last post, which kicked off this little investigation, I estimated that my body in V out on Sunday would go something like this:

  • I weigh 59.19 kg @ 21.1% Body Fat (12.48 kg) = Lean Body Mass (Fat Free Mass) is 46.7 kg;
  • According to what I established in my last post, the body needs between 25-40 kcal per kg of Lean Body Mass (which is 1395-2092 kcals) daily in order to perform its basic functions (pumping blood, etc);
  • Estimated calories burned off during 20 mile run =   1897 kcal;
  • 1395 (Basic needs) + 1897 (extra energy used during run) = 3292 kcal I should be consuming on this day.

Add it all up and I ate/drank 3148 kcals on Sunday, which works out at about 27 kcal per kg LBM, which I think is fine.

Now, seems to me that that is a LOT of food and being the one who swallowed it all, I can actually attest to this. I’m not complaining. Just an observation. Do other people eat like this?

But that’s what the mathematics is telling me and because I decided to be an amateur marathon-training-eating-mathematician test dummy, this is what I do now. I eat. I run. I do this.

Next post in the Eating the Burn Series will be looking at the breakdown of what I’m eating V the types of foods and drinks I should be consuming during marathon training. Carbs, fats, lucozade, bacon… they’ll all be there!

Do you find that you eat a lot on long run training days?

Do you deliberately eat more or do you find that you have to consciously make an effort to get more food into you?

Do these calculations seem right to you or have you done your own maths?

Love to hear your thoughts!


5 thoughts on “Eating the Burn Series: Long Run Day

    1. Thanks Anika. There’s a lot of detail, which can be quite off-putting but actually when you break it all down, it seems that without paying proper attention, you could be hitting way off the mark. And you’re right, it really is important!


  1. Looks like you did well on eating, at least from the looks of it. It was interesting to see what you ate all day and again do the calculations like last time. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Nice 20-miler! Yes, we all have days when we just don’t feel it.

    For me, it’s funny, but as I move into “training mode,” I naturally start to eat healthier. I think my body gravitates towards what it needs. Granted, I still reserve some good calories for beer, snacks, and chocolate 😀
    Very cool to see your fuel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, it wasn’t my best ever run but it’s always pretty satisfying to finish a 20 miler anyway! I tend to be a bit the same craving healthier, wholesome foods when the miles start to stack up & that’s one craving I’m happy to follow!


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