What was Without Limits Nutritionist, Diana Davis’s, Nutrition Plan for her big Marathon PR?

By Diana Davis
September 27th 2019

Tunnel Light Marathon 9/15/19

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” “Take a risk,” and “I believe you can run a sub 4:00 hour marathon,” are some of the things coach told me on the phone the day before the race. His words are powerful.  They have a way of bringing a wishful thought (and hope) from my mind to my heart, where I start to believe that it’s possible.

Tunnel Light Marathon is my 6th time running this distance since 2016.  Coach is the first one to remind me when I said to him, “I will never run a marathon and why would I want to do that!”  I can honestly say I now love training for and running marathons!  Funny thing about my journey is that the shift in my thinking came about very slowly as I ran long, slow miles in training.  Each training cycle has strengthened my heart and muscles and challenged my doubting mind, bringing me to this beautiful downhill trail in Washington state where I ran with joy, smiling and praising God all the way down the mountain.

As a dietitian, I am constantly tweaking my nutrition plan based on the research and my own experience.  It is very much a trial and error process as I practice my nutrition and hydration strategies in every long run over the course of a training cycle. In preparation for Tunnel Light, I cut out almost all alcohol and “junk calories” in order to reduce body fat. I was very intentional about everything I ate and drank for 3 days prior to the race with a carbohydrate loading goal of 10 grams carbs/Kg/day.  My most successful nutrition strategies on this race day: 750 calories and 145 grams carb at breakfast, eaten 3 hours before race start; 2 Runners Essentials Daily Vitamins (taken on race day and every day since January 2019);  a handheld bottle with 1/2 strength Gatorade which I sipped for the first 13 miles, then sips of water and Gatorade from Aid stations every 2.5 miles; 7 gels consumed at mile 0 and every 4 miles thereafter, achieving my goal of 45 grams of total carbohydrate per hour consumed while racing.

What did I learn from this race? I learned that when I run with a joy-filled heart, praising God, focusing on the beauty in nature, encouraging others, and celebrating the speed and hard work of our running family – ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Diana Davis, RDN, LDN, CDE

Without Limits Dietitian/Nutritionist

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