Countdown to Marine Corps: 4 DAYS!

That’s right. The marathon is this weekend! I don’t exactly know how to feel about this one…right now I would have to say it’s a weird combination of nervous and excited. I have been fairly consistent with my training, but I don’t feel as prepared as I did for my previous two marathons. I guess that’s what happens when you get married, honeymoon, buy a home, work full-time, and go to grad school full-time 🙂

So now it’s the all-important week-before-the-marathon and I’m trying to make all the right decisions in the days leading up to my dabbling into the always-intimidating world of 26.2. This means being smart about my workouts, watching what I eat, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

My workouts this week are all low-key and are designed only to keep my legs loose and active. I ran 3 easy miles on Monday and I’ll do the same today and Friday. I’m not trying to run as fast as I can. Not even close. Just reminding my body what running feels like and trying to prepare it for Sunday. Hopefully it holds up!

What about getting the right fuel for your body? You have to eat right before running any distance, but definitely before a marathon. The night before one of my long training runs I didn’t eat enough and I barely made it through my run. Nutrition is the key and I think a lot of people aren’t sure exactly how best to prepare in the week before the marathon. Obviously everyone is different, so the most important bit of advice is to do what works best for you. For example, I knew someone who told me she always eats General Tso’s chicken the night before all her races, no matter the distance. If I tried that, I wouldn’t be able to make it past mile one, so do what works for you!

You tend to get the best results from carbo-loading if you start about 36 hours before the race start, so that means I should start on Friday night. And no, that doesn’t mean stuffing my face with fettuccine alfredo like Michael Scott!

It means eating a good balance of whole wheat pasta and other whole grains (like quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, etc.) to build up my glycogen stores which will give me as much energy as possible on Sunday. I’ll also be mixing in some lean proteins (like chicken breast or shrimp), a veggie, and a fruit or a Greek yogurt for dessert. It’s basically my normal diet, but I’ll have larger portions of the carbs than I usually do. Rule of thumb, as Mal says, is don’t eat anything “controversial” 🙂

So drinking enough water and getting enough sleep are pretty self-explanatory and I won’t bore you with an explanation on how to really stay hydrated and hit your REMs. I’ll leave that up to you.

What tips do you have for preparing for a marathon? Any readers running Marine Corps this weekend? Comment and share your success stories!

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Danish Fat Tax!

Next time you’re in Denmark, be sure to steer clear of foods high in saturated fat. And now it’s not only because they’re unhealthy. Last week, the Danish parliament voted to impose a “fat tax” on all fatty foods in an attempt to encourage Danish people to eat healthier. Sound ridiculous? If so, that’s probably because this small Scandinavian country is the first to ever impose a fat tax.

The tax will target items especially high in saturated fat, like butter. The tax rate is about $3.00 for every 2.2 pounds of saturated fat. To put that into context, CBS News claims that the tax translates to about a $0.40 increase per package of butter and around a $0.15 increase per hamburger. Not a huge increase, but it’s the idea of a tax on fattening foods that is especially intriguing.

Before saying anything else, I have to point out the irony in this situation. People living in Denmark are Danish. A “Danish” pastry is a specialty from Denmark that is high in saturated fat. Made with a lot of butter. Which will now be more expensive. Am I alone in thinking the pastry-makers in Denmark are the driving force behind this tax in an effort to increase profits? 😉

So now we come to the obvious question: could it work in America?

In a word…no.

As nutrition expert Marion Nestle points out, we can’t even get a tax passed on sugary beverages, “which ought to be an easy target.” I don’t think there’s any way we could ever get a tax like this passed in the US because, in part, of the overwhelming power of the food industry and the influence it has on our politicians and their decision-making.

But will it work in Denmark? Some Danes are already saying the tax won’t have any impact on their food choices. And the reason for that line of thinking is pretty funny: “Danes are big fans of butter.” And Danishes…!

Find the CBS News article on the “Fat Tax” here: FAT TAX!

Even if it doesn’t succeed, it’s an interesting idea. If a fat tax were ever imposed in your country, would it have an impact on your food choices? Would you avoid foods high in saturated fat because of the tax or would your decision be health-related? Maybe a bit of both? Comment and let me know!