Nutrition strategies for a 4:30 marathon – Phemelo Moletsane’s one on one coaching call

Nutrition strategies for a 4:30 marathon – Phemelo Moletsane’s one on one coaching call

On this episode of RUN with Coach Parry we catch up with Phemelo Moletsane for this one on one coaching call as he works towards his goal of a Sub 4:30 marathon.

This is what we covered in the podcast:

  • we learn about Phumelo's running journey and how his 61 year old Mom inspired him to start running.
  • How to prevent yourself from hitting the wall during a marathon
  • A nutrition strategy for a marathon
  • Why running your long runs slowly is vital and why running them slower than you should will greatly impact your running performance in the future
  • How to warm up before a race (Particularly a 5k or a 10k) if you're planning on racing it so that you find your rhythm very quickly in the race.

 

Resources mentioned on this podcast:

The Ask Coach Parry Podcast: You can listen to that podcast by clicking here.

You can register for our upcoming Comrades Marathon Training Webinar by clicking here.

You can read a full transcript of this podcast by clicking here.

Do you want to shave 10 minutes off your marathon PB?

You can run faster with our FREE running strength training programme that you can do once a week, at home and with no expensive gym equipment needed.

 

Included in the programme:

 Detailed descriptions of each exercise so you know how to do them

 Number of repetitions for each exercise so that you avoid overtraining & injury

 Short videos showing you EXACTLY what to do (Number 6 will turn you into the "Marathon Slayer" so that you don't hit the wall and implode later in the race)

Transcription

Lindsey Parry
Hi Phemelo, welcome to the Coach Parry coaches call. I'm very excited to have you on for the next half an hour, how are you?

Phemelo Moletsane
I'm well how are you, Lindsay? It's an honor to actually be chatting to you. And I hope that I will get a lot from this session.

Lindsey Parry
Let's hope so. That is the point, I'm looking forward to it and I mean, this is what gets me excited and up in the morning is talking to runners. So that is really cool. And what I really like about it is to hear and learn where everybody comes from and what motivates them. So tell us a little bit about your journey? How long have you been running? what got you into running? What motivates you to stay in running and what is the big goal for the year?

Phemelo Moletsane
Thanks. I started running in 2016. I started with a 10km. I got myself some shoes and got motivated by my mother, you won't believe it! She actually turned 61 last year, but she has been running, I think five years prior to me running. She got me motivated, but I then met up with a few amazing new networks, that we're running and they got me hooked. So I started with a 10 kilometers in 2016. I did my first 21km in 2017 at Kaapsehoop. Then I did my first 42km at the very same Kaapsehoop the following year in 2018. I kept on running, but not professionally and I must say that it wasn't structured. Grab your shoes, run, trainng and go to races. So last year I picked it up a bit. I did Soweto Marathon which was terrible. I finished in five and a half hours though, Three weeks later or so I did a new race around where I stay. It's called the Magoeba Plunge. It's from Haenertsburg to Tzaneen, it was the maiden race. I did the 42km there as well, and did it in 5:07. Funnily enough, my best 42km was actually at Kaapsehoop in 2018, which I did in 4:31. I don't know whether it's because I started trying to get some structure into it that I felt like I was regressing because at times I getting worse instead of improving. My second best time was in 2019 January at Wonderpark in Pretoria at 4:48. I want to do two oceans and I also want to run Comrades.

I started training for Comrades in 2018. But last year I suffered an injury after the Wonderpatk, which took me out for about 10 weeks. I had a stress fracture in my right knee. If I didn't go out of my way to try and find out what it actually was, it probably would have just persistent because nobody's picked it up. I only picked it up when I did the MRI. I've had some structure now in my training, I'm following your finishers program. I started following it religiously in January. I might be adding a few things here and there and you will pick that up from that analysis probably. My next race will be on the 15th of February in Polokwane which is the Capricorn district mayor's race.

Lindsey Parry
Cool. And that's a marathon?

Phemelo Moletsane
That's a marathon, correct.

Lindsey Parry
Okay. And that will be your qualifier. cool. It's clear that you have got a little bit of ability as a runner. So until you got your stress fracture, your running career was progressing quite sensibly starting with a 10k one year, a half marathon the next year and a marathon the next year. So part of the reason I think you actually did quite well in that particular race was because you had spaced all these efforts out quite well. And then when you moved on to a structured program that was perhaps just a little bit too much of a jump. The good news, of course, Is that there's absolutely nothing stopping you from getting back close to that 4:32. You might not necessarily be quite there come the 16th of February, you may well be, and we can talk about that now for the next couple of minutes. But the potential and your 10k, 21k and your marathon times, they all stack up that you are capable of running that 4:30 marathon again. And importantly, that you're definitely capable of finishing both Two Oceans and the Comrades Marathon. So we just need to qualify you for that. So for all the listeners out there, you're fairly close to an hour 10km. You'r a 2:10 on the half marathon and you are a 4:32 on the marathon. So everything's pointing in the right direction. Have you run, in the last eight weeks or so, a 10km or a 5km parkrun? Or have you run a half marathon, even if you didn't race it flat out, have you run that sort of distance quite hard? Or have you just been building up slowly from that stress fracture and just doing the training on the program?

Phemelo Moletsane
You know, I got a bit comfortable with the pace. So what the structure will help me with is to just increase my pace. There's a reason I'm saying this because on the 8th of December, I did a remember Mandela race. I finished that in 2:19. So my pace was around 6:15 to 6:19 which was very comfortable. I tried to increase it towards the end, the last three kilometers, I think I was running just about around six minutes per kilometer, or just below six. So I wasn't pushing hard. It was just that easy pace in a bus and I got off the bus the last three kilometers and just went for it.

Lindsey Parry
That's great news because that tells me that you will almost definitely qualify on the 15th of February and you will probably qualify with under 4:40. So that would be the target you should set yourself is to go under 4:40. I wouldn't go for your PB just yet. It's not quite the right time of year and for me, the important thing is qualifying and then carrying on to prepare and buil up. I do think that you have got sub 11 hour comrades potential. And I think that's something we should revisit in about March and March. You know, depending on how the qualifier goes, how the training goes for the couple of weeks after the qualifier, we can have a discussion in the forum and perhaps you find yourself then switching over to the sub 11 hour Comrades program, but I'm feeling quite confident on your behalf. So let's move into the most important part of this half an hour and that is for you to ask whatever running questions that have been burning on your mind when you've been running, that you've been discussing with your running mates? Now's your opportunity to take advantage.

Phemelo Moletsane
Yeah, I think the one that is stressing me a bit, Lindsay, is I run out of energy when I'm doing a marathon. I really run out of gas at 36km. The last two marathons that I did in November, I struggled from 36km to finish. I just need some tips. I've started looking at my nutrition, I have your normal carbs, I have things like rice during the week, potatoes, mielie pap once a week. I do normal food, pumpkin, red meat and fish and stuff like that. I've started using the gels now during my long runs on the weekend. I've started trying to take them every hour also to see how that goes. I can't make out why I am running out of energy like that?

Lindsey Parry
Tell me how much do you weigh, Phemelo?

Phemelo Moletsane
87

Lindsey Parry
87 kilograms. When you wake up in the morning before a race, what do you have for breakfast?

Unknown Speaker
I have a shake. I'll have a Herbalife shake.

Lindsey Parry
That's fine, so you are taking in something before the race which is really cool. Up until now, what is your typical nutrition being in a race? So how often are you drinking Coke and Powerade along the route?

Phemelo Moletsane
I typically don't take any for the first 21km.

Lindsey Parry
Okay. We've identified our first problem. Then after 21km, what do you take?

Phemelo Moletsane
then I'll start taking your Coke. I used to use the Berocca gel, just that. I would just be erratic in taking them. But I will increase the frequency from 24km or so, I'll take them more often.

Lindsey Parry
I'm going to give you a plan, and it is a little bit of time for you to work on this a little bit leading into the race. When you do your training runs, you don't have to take as much. You just need to take some because all that we doing in the training runs is just making sure that your stomach is fine with everything that we were going to use. So we're happy with your breakfast. The shake is cool. You can wake up you can slowly set that shake as you go, So breakfast, we happy with, But, you weigh 87 kilograms, in an ideal world, you need 80 to 90 grams of carbohydrate. That's in an ideal world, We don't get that much in but I'm just telling you that so that you understand. So you need one gram per kg of body weight per hour, so 80 to 90 grams of carbohydrates. A gel has roughly 26 grams of carbohydrates. Coke has got 11 grams per hundred mililitres. Energade or Powerade has about seven to eight grams per hundred milliliters. It's nice to to to mix it up a little bit so that you don't only drink Coke but that actually Coke is quite good because it gives you quite a lot of sugar per hundred grams. You are starting the race with stored carbohydrates, we all do. We've got stored carbohydrates in our muscles and you are probably starting with in the region of 180 grams, approximately. It's not an exact science, but you've probably got about 180 grams that you are starting with. Plus, you are having a fairly high carbohydrate meal before you run. I'm going to assign 60 grams, it's probably not super accurate but it is accurate enough for what we want to do. So essentially you've got 240 grams of carbohydrates that you've got available to you for the race, and if you're going to be running for five hours, you need roughly 400 grams. That means, over the course of the marathon, we are trying to get close to and we don't have to get all the way there and sometimes if we try it might actually just be overkill and too much. So we're looking for 160 grams, which over the five hours means that we need about 30 to 40 grams per hour. So if you take, every 15 to 30 minutes, a few small sips of Coke and then every every 45 to 60 minutes, a gel with some water, then you will have enough energy to take you all the way to the finish line. At the moment, what you are probably getting is about half of what you need. You're probably getting 30 to 40 grams per hour for the last 15 case, but it's just not enough. So obviously the structured training will help, training ar the right training paces will help, but for you in the marathon in particular, if you sort out your nutrition, you are going to be in a good way.

Phemelo Moletsane
Can I ask something Lindsey? What about solids? Like potatoes and bananas. Listen, maybe it's because of the noise in me. I find it very difficult to handle solids. It gets heavy for you to run with them.

Lindsey Parry
I do use solids and I do recommend people use solids, however, not actually for the energy. If you struggle to take gels and you struggle to drink Coke, then you do need to use the potatoes for energy. What I find with potatoes, with bananas, with potato chips, is we're not trying to eat a whole potato. When you think about potatoes you think about a baked potato. No, think about a baby potato, that's cut in half. You're only going to have one every now and then. It's the same with a banana. You're going to have a bite. We're not talking about having like a banana. That's how we use solids. We use a small amount because then it's not sitting in our stomachs. I mean, if you have half the baked potato, you're right, it's going to sit there and every time you burp, you're just going to taste potato. It's a question of having small bites and what those small bites do, not necessarily in a marathon, but as soon as you go longer than a marathon, If you're on the road for six hours, seven hours, 10 hours, is that if you only have gels and you only have Coke, then after a while, your body just goes "I cannot have any more sugar". If you every now and then just have a bit of a small potato with some salt on it, or one or two little potato chips, like salt and vinegar, or plain salted, just those small little bits of solid actually make it easier for you to then carry on having all the sweet stuff. So it's more about just giving your mouth and your taste buds a rest from all the sugar. Then it does provide a little bit of energy and as I said, some people just cannot eat gels, then then they need to do things like raisins and cashew nuts and dates and that kind of stuff.

Phemelo Moletsane
Okay! The other question that I have, it's always a debate in our long runs with with the group. The definiation of a long run, because I find and I'll give you an example. Last week, we ran about 26 kilometers. We were doing about 6:15 to 6:30 minutes per kilomotere and there was a point when we're doing 6 mins/km. I said to the guys that this is not a slaughter. I finding it very difficult, this is like a race, a marathon and my heart rate is going up. They've got different views. Even on an LSD, you can do the pace that you know you can do in preparation for your race. But I also watched your video about running aerobically and running slow to run fast. Some of them don't don't agree with that, but I do. You can feel when you are building and when you're comfortable. You can feel when you're comfortable. You can control things, you have a lever to control your pace. Rather than trying to go ahead and running out of steam. In your advice, what would be for me, you've got my record there, what would be my ideal pace for a slow run so that I don't get into these debates. So that I maintain mine and just finish that slow run.

Lindsey Parry
So where you are right now in your running ability as it is exactly now, your easy runs should be run around 6:30 to 7:00 mins/km and your long runs should be run about 6:40 to 7:10 mins/km, around there. It's actually such an important question because it is probably the biggest mistake that the average runner makes. And the reason why it's so easy to make that mistake is that if you run too fast in training and you don't get injured, then your running is going to improve. However, you are setting your ceiling lower. So you go to improve until you get to a point. Also, your race day performance will be compromised. You might improve and so you think what you've done was the right thing. But you're going to start the race tired, so you're not going to be able to perform to the best of your actual ability. The only way to really get that ceiling to lift and for you, for example, to get back to running 4:30, because you should be running 4:30 or faster for a marathon, is by layering that and getting your aerobic and then slowly over time, your very easy run will faster, but it shouldn't be an effort, you know, you're always consciously running faster. It should be a case of at this very floaty effort I'm just slowly getting faster and faster at this effort. That way, you raise the ceiling, you're fresh on race day so you can actually execute on your ability on race day.

Phemelo Moletsane
That's good. The other one related to that for me as well, iI find it hard to get into my rythm. I do badly at 10kmr races because I start getting a rythm at about 5 or 6km. I tend to go slow until about 7km and then pick it up gradually. From around 12 to 15km, then I'm okay. I can do that 6:15 to 6: 30 per/km consistently. But I want to do a sub two half marathon. I just want to get advice if it's advisable to push that that hard?

Lindsey Parry
So the answer is yes, but but not every weekend, obviously, as we discussed just now. In this process of building up to the marathon or perhaps it's after the marathon and building up to Comrades, it is fine to push yourself on 8kms, 5kms 15kms, 21kms but I wouldn't push myself past 21kms once the qualifier is out of the way. So yes, you can push yourself. The shorter the distance, the more important the warm up becomes. In a 10km and a fivekm, you want to start flat out because you don't have time to warm up in the race. If it takes you 6kms to warm up, then the race is already over. You actually want a line up having warmed up, having done at least 20 minutes, but in your case, you need more, so you want to warm up for about half an hour or longer. So that when you start you're warmed up and ready to race and in a 21km you probably you also want to warm up for 21km. When it starts to get to the marathon and longer, you can afford to use the first 3-5kms just to get into the thing because yes, you lose a little bit of time but you don't lose the same amount like in a 5km. If you lose one minute in the first kilometer in a 5km, you're never going to get that back. You just can't run fast enough for the rest. Your trick is you must warm up before you do the short races. And there are opportunities for you to push yourself every three to four weeks, you can push yourself hard at time trial and up to a half marathon, but don't want to race a half marathon every month. So you maybe want to race one or two half marathons in the build up to Comrades.

Phemelo Moletsane
Okay. Warming up can be anything? I stay, for example, about two kilometers from where where we'll be starting to run. So I can run that them two kilometers is slowly and that's enough to have warmed up?

Lindsey Parry
That's perfect.

Phemelo Moletsane
All right. That is it from me, Lindsay.

Lindsey Parry
Excellent. That's perfect timing because our half an hour is just about up. Phemelo, thanks very much for joining us. I've really enjoyed this call and I'm looking forward to hearing about you qualifying on the 15th of February and seeing you in the forums, chatting to the other runner, asking questions so we can make this journey to Two Oceans and Comrades together.

Phemelo Moletsane
Thanks a lot for this call and thanks for the advice.

Lindsey Parry
Pleasure Phemelo, go well

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