Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge Training Week 16: Preparing for a Long Run

16 Alright so this last week was a GREAT week!  I got my 20 miles in on Sat. and I felt great.  The only bad thing all of it was on the Tread Mill, that is what cold and snowy will do to your training schedule.  It was a good run, and I chatted with several different folks through out my 3:31:46 ordeal, Quite frankly I am not sure how the fellow tread mill folks put up with the beautiful odor, I developed by the end.  :-). 

But overall I was glad with the time and the mileage, and one the folks asked my how do you prepare for a long run?    It was a good questions and we chatted for a bit.  Running 20 miles really started back on week 1, and building up to it and getting the muscle memory ready for the run.  I will not focus on the lead up, you have my other posts for that.  So what is next, aside from proper prep,  is needed for running 20 miles on a Saturday morning.  My prep actually started Monday by drinking lots of water and keeping well hydrated throughout the week and lots of rest.  However, the person I was running next too was curious what I did the morning of before the run and during the run.  So here is how I prepared, I break it down into 4 categories, mental prep, pre-run nutrition, during the run nutrition, and recovery.  Now I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV, but this what I have found works for me.  You will have to discover what works for you, hopefully this will provide a baseline for you to go off of. 

  • Mental Prep:  This involves building confidence (psyching yourself up).  The first thing I did was pray to God and got mentally prepared.  I also told myself I was not going to stop and if I had to walk I would walk, but I was going to have my 20 miles done!
  • Pre-Run Nutrition: This key to a long run, I am not a huge believer in carb loading the night before.  However, I am fanatical about eating before working out.  Regardless of what you are doing eating first thing is a good thing, think about it you just slept for 8 hours, you need fuel.  I had some Kashi oatmeal (like the 9grams of protein),  I like food that is easy to digest but has some staying power.  I also highly recommend a new product, I just tried thanks to Jim:   Generation Ucan.  This is a new pre-race drink I tried and I have to tell you it works, helped me get a great start for my race.  More importantly, it TASTES Great!   If you never heard of Ucan , check it out this is from their website:

genucanlogotopBy utilizing both carbs and fat for dual fuel, Generation UCAN products put your body in its ideal performance state so that you can start strong AND finish strong.
Our product innovation is "Powered by SuperStarch" the only energy source of its kind. Both the Sports Drink Mix and the Protein Enhanced Drink Mix are rich in electrolytes, contain no added sugars and can be used before and after your activity.

Give it a try, I did and it really helped, I used the pre-run energy drink and it was great!  I just wish they made packs for during the run nutrition: http://www.generationucan.com/store/  I bought the combo 6 pack and the shaker (I need one for all the travel for those of you, who ever tried to mix an energy drink in a hotel coffee cup, you will think this one as well)

  • During the Run Nutrition : This is another area I think most runners new to long distances struggle with.  Depending on how long you are going to be out there and how long you burn fuel you will have to factor this in.  I run into a lot of passionate runners that just cannot seem to get past the 6-8 mile marks, and if I had a stop watch for their runs my guess would be that is around 60-80 minutes for them.  What happens, they probably ran out of fuel.   To really understand what you will need, make sure you how many calories it takes to fuel and sustain you.  During and after the run carbs are a key thing, mainly because the body can process that fuel the fastest.

    I need to take in fuel about every hour, I need to keep the engine going.  It is not about  eating for that moment, It is for the moment a 1/2 hour from that moment.  I will change it up, and I have found a variety of fuel that keeps me going.  I like to eat either a protein bar, like the special k meal replacement bar for longer runs, I also like the Jelly Belly Sports Beans as part of my nutrition.  My general rule of thumb is I eat about every 1, remember I am out for over 4 hours, and I drink about every 1/2 hour.  As for my beverages of choice, H2O and Gatorade.  BTW a word on the Gatorade, I do not buy the G2, I buy the real stuff!   One for the energy and the other for the calories.  For example I burned about 3600 calories on Sat. and I knew I was going to need the fuel, plus it does taste better.  Normally I do like to have a sip of both water and Gatorade as I run.

  • Recovery: Mentally , and regardless of distance always celebrate a bit!  If you prayed to God, make sure you thank him at the end.  I know I did it  and it does matter.  What about nutrition, in a word PROTEIN!  Find something that works for you, I have tried many different combinations in the past cottage cheese, eggs, chicken protein bars….etc.  The point I want to make is generally have it waiting and try to get it in you as soon as you can.  Again this is where I have to give mad props to Ucan!  Their protein drink (chocolate for me) is great and filling!  I absolutely felt it’s effects not only after my run but the next day as well..  Good stuff!

So that is the cliff notes for why I do things, and I am sure there is a lot of science behind what I have learned over the years.  For you the key part is find out what works for you and go for it.  Do not be afraid to try new things, you find a gem like I did.  Although, never, and I mean never try a new thing the day of the race, trust me, unless you like being picked up in the bus to drive you to the finish.  Make sure you plan to have the food and drink you are going to have during the run, ready the night before.  Again, always train with what you are going to eat during the run, and bring it with you.    For example, don’t train with sport beans all season and then not take them with you to your marathon and assume GU will work for you.  It may not, and more importantly may cause you to miss your goal.  Have a great week, only 3 left!!!!!!

Here is what I have in store for this week:


Cross Train/ LowerBody






Cross Train/ LowerBody


Rest Rest Rest





Comments (1)

  1. Chris Pannone says:

    Hi Matt,

    Great post. I have been using UCAN products for the past 5 months or so now and I have had great success. It was recently recommended to me that I try two packets prior to my long run, rather than a single packet. I implemented this recently and have had awesome results. The added fuel is easily lasting 2 hours. I would suggest giving this a try. One other option that some have experimented with (although I haven't tried it) is mixing a packet or more with a little water and putting it in a gel flask and taking that on the run. You could even try mixing half of a packet in the blender bottle with 6-8 oz of water and then transferring it into a sport bottle to consume during the run as well. Let the UCAN company know the results of trying these techniques by posting on their Facebook page. They always appreciate the feedback. Best of luck!

Skip to main content