Do You Need That Gatorade? Marathon Training Week 4

Shelby Bottoms

Week 4 in my marathon training lead-up! Truth is I’m just looking for a reason to blog every week to remind people I’m raising money for Pablove while training for the 2012 LA Marathon. I’m over $700 from three blog posts with about 12 weeks to go. Any help getting to my goal of $2012 is appreciated. Click here to donate any amount.

Hopefully there will be some tidbits in these blog posts that help you with your training of any kind or length. I know I’ve already got a ton of value from the feedback people have left in the comments. If you have something to share please don’t be shy.

Hello from a plane home from Nashville, TN. This morning’s run was INCREDIBLE, probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever had the pleasure of running, but more on that later…

Thanks to a comment Mike Hughes left here on the blog I’ve just discovered Ben Greenfield’s podcast and have been catching up on lots of episodes over the past couple of weeks. Some are definitely better than others but there’s a ton of great info there, particularly from Ben himself who I find to be more knowledgeable than most of his guests. This morning was an exception to that rule, though. I listened to a great interview with the man who wrote what is widely referred to as the definitive (and certainly heaviest) book about running, South African Dr. Tim Noakes, author of The Lore of Running. I commonly use Tim’s book as a free-weight/sleep-aid and pick it up whenever I want to fall asleep quickly. Not that it’s boring, it’s not, it’s just DENSE, more a physiology text than a “how to run” book.

On Ben’s show this morning Dr. Noakes was giving a preview of a new book he has coming out next year where he uses science to dispel the (he says) Gatorade-created myth that we need many liters of sugary, salty sports drink during exercise. He says the science doesn’t point to the need to hydrate ahead of being thirsty nor does it point to a need for more salt as you sweat. His advice: drink to thirst, no more, no less, and water is fine (he also says if your body is used to a salty sports drink you shouldn’t go cold turkey, wean). This typically amounts to 12-18oz of liquid per hour, not the 40oz the Gatorade Science Foundation recommends. Shocking.

You can listen to the entire podcast here.

Tim also mentioned that at 62 he’s running as fast as he was in his early 40s, a turnaround he attributes to adopting the Paleo Diet.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, this past week was a marathon travel week, from home in Los Angeles to New York City to SF to home to Nashville. Each stop was full of meetings and on top of it we had a crazy end-of-year crush of a work week. I still had to cover approximately 35 miles on foot over that time to keep up with training. It wasn’t easy to fit it in, but thanks to some help from friends I got it done and enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday and Tuesday: New York City

I stayed mid-town near 30th and Madison. I landed around midnight and by the time I collected my bag and headed into the city it was after 2am ET before I got to sleep. Still, I set the alarm for 6am ET (3am PT — OUCH) to get an easy 3 miler in. I headed east in the dark, searching for the path along the eastern coastline. It wasn’t easy to get all the way there but eventually I found the entrance along 25th street. Not exactly scenic, especially in the dark. But, three miles done: check.

The crazy thing was noting how easy it is to get in way more steps in NYC than I get back home. I went from meeting to meeting all day, walking when I had time instead of taking the subway. At the end of the day I’d logged more than 25,000 steps. On a non-run day in LA I come in more around 5,000, daily goal is 10,000 and even on a run day in LA I’m only around 15,000. It was a good reminder a walking commute is plenty to get a minimum level of physical activity and burn 500 or so calories.

Day two called for a seven mile run so I headed to the West Side Highway for what is by all accounts a much nicer run path. Tis true. Not only is it a better run but I finally got a peek at the skate park at Chelesa Piers. Looks damn fun. Only problem, the weather went from no rain to light rain to steady rain while I was out. Not terrible, though. Fine run. Check.

Wednesday, Northern California

I woke up Wednesday morning in Northern California and headed out for a short 3-miler. The hotel recommended a running path and I found it but also found it was pitch black at 6am. I ran along it for a bit but it really didn’t seem like the smartest place to be all alone in the dark so I bailed and ran along a street instead. Funny part was it was colder in Northern California than it was in NYC this early December.

Thursday, Santa Monica, CA

Thursday morning I was back home and since the Higdon program I chose for this training plan called for hill training I ran to the beach then hit my favorite hill in Santa Monica (Pearl Street between Lincoln and 12th in Santa Monica) for some uphill sprints.

Thankfully Friday was a rest day because I was up all night Thursday working with Topspin pals Bob, Paul, Shamal, and Brian (I love you mans) and only managed a couple hour nap rather than a night’s sleep.

Saturday and Sunday, Nashille, TN

Saturday called for six miles at marathon pace which I did from where I was staying with friends (thanks for hosting, Shelly, Jeff, and Emmylou!) in East Nashville into a gorgeous park called Shelby Bottoms.

Sunday was long run day (13 miles) so at sun-up I retraced my steps into Shelby Bottoms and just kept on going. Around mile four I found a foot bridge heading east over the river. The view from the bridge was stunning. The sun was just peeking over the horizon and the river was filled with fog while the sky was otherwise clear. So here floating in a river lined with tall trees on each side were wispy billows of fluffy beautifulness. It was an incredible run worthy of a photo and a two page spread in some running magazine. Also, just like in NYC, I managed a run past the local skate park which looks fun and worthy of a visit. The only downside: it was *cold* in Nashville this weekend, particularly at dawn, in the high 20s F. My hands froze on Saturday’s run so I hit a running store and picked up some two-layer mittens from Saucony. I fared much better during the hour and forty-five minutes I was on the trail this morning but still came back with frozen fingers.

Now I’m doing the opposite of stretching, sitting in a seat on a plane, headed for home. Tonight is Kid Rock at The Malibu Inn (!) and tomorrow I’m on a 6am flight again… Are the holidays here yet?

Reminder: You can follow along with my training at RunKeeper here and donate to my Pablove fundraising page here.

Question of the day: How am I going to get my running workouts in when I head to Mammoth between Xmas and NYE? Bundle up and hit the streets or find a treadmill? I’m wondering how my speed training will fare at altitude…

In the Nashville spirit I offer you this great short documentary of the esteemed Johnny Corndawg marathon training on tour (thanks Jeff Colvin for turning me on to both Johnny and this video):

Oh one more thing. I finally looked up the results of the 10-miler I ran in Nashville a month ago. Results here. Note that while I won the 35-39 age group I wouldn’t have won either 40-44 or 45-49! That was a fun and beautiful local race competing directly with a huge Rock N Roll Half Marathon on the same day. I’d highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading and supporting. See you on the road.



  1. Bill_T wrote:

    My son’s tier hockey coaches to a man say no gatorade or other “sports drinks” on the bench. Only water and plenty of it. They recommend hydrating beginning 7-8 hours before a match and then constantly during shift breaks. A gatorade afterwards if you want some sugar replacement, but nothing beats good old water.

  2. emi wrote:

    it’s really like you imply, many runners get better with age. Anders just came back from finishing Beirut Marathon at 2.59, his best time so far.

    you should come run geta marathon with him in åland! it’s likely the world’s smallest marathon, but they have their own mascot, a running goat in scarf, hat, mittens and running shoes. Only 5-6 people usually run it. It’s always on a sunday. Since the local minister is one of the few runners, the day starts off in church with sermon, the minister then rips off his ecclesiastical clothing to reveal what’s underneath: running gear to suit the chilling Baltic winter. then everyone’s off.

    December 9th. Come.

  3. emi wrote:

    And that’s December 9th of next year so you’ve got a whole year to train.

  4. Anders Frostenson wrote:

    Love the Tim Noakes book! Especially the pic of DR Noakes himself on the inner sleeve. Looks raving mad, just like I picture a man capable of writing such a book.
    Just did Beirut Marathon in november. Big recommend //Anders (Emi´s)

  5. iancr wrote:

    Hi Anders! Agreed, he seems mad in a perfect sort of way.

    Funny you mention Beirut today, I just read about it in Runners World yesterday. Sounds like an eye opener of a marathon!

  6. iancr wrote:

    2:59 is excellent! I’m aiming for more like 3:10 for LA. Anders, want to come pace me for CIM next year? We could run åland after!

  7. Emi wrote:

    You might be too young to run 3.10.

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