Tortillas Aren’t Meant for 20-Mile Runs

Before we start running, I have a confession to make. It’s a little embarrassing.

I JUST realized, today, that my training plan ends a week early.

I saved it as two “images” from Runner’s World, and obviously paid little attention to “Number 2” (i.e. weeks 10-15), and even less attention to the “Marathon Day!” date. Oof.


Now I have an extra week to figure out with mileage, a Long Run, speed work, etc. Help?


I started this run thinking it would be my last 20-miler. See above: that may not be the case, but it was a motivating thought!

The Plan: 11 miles solo – iPod just-in-case, water in the CamelBak, Cran-Apple GU Chomps (picked up Thursday night in a “Crap I don’t have running candy for tomorrow!” moment.), my ID (safety!), and the Garmin.

Meet up with my bike-buddy D for the last 9 miles – he comes stocked with Accelerade (Go-Fast juice), Lemon lime Sport Beans, a tortilla (we’ll get to that) and conversation!

The Fuel: I sip water every mile (nothing new here) in the beginning, then as needed when I get hot. The Chomps came it at Miles 6 and 8 (split in 1/2). I sipped the Go-Fast Juice between water after mile 11, and started half of a tortilla at mile 14.

The Mistake: If you’ve ever done endurance training, you’ve probably heard this phrase: “Do what works for YOU”. Following that should be: “…and stick to it!!”

The past two 20-milers have gone really well! First I used peanut-butter filled pretzels, then Sour Cream & Cheddar Baked Lays.

Our options were a little limited, and I thought a whole-wheat tortilla would be fine. 170 calories, carb-loaded, no major source of fat or protein…all good things for on-the-run fuel, right?!

So, so wrong. It took me a while to get it down (as in 2 miles), and water helped a lot. But at mile 17 I felt so nauseous I was counting the steps until I saw “18” so I could take a break and possibly remove the tortilla from my stomach. Luckily the latter did not actually happen, though I probably would’ve felt better if it had.

I walked it off, pep-talked myself and listened to D’s encouragement. 20 finally came, after repeating the motto “This run will make me stronger” in my head 20 times. Whatever works, right? 🙂

20 miles, 3:06, avg 9:18


Now, I would never recommend the following post-run snacks. But believe me when I say, my brain was racked trying to think of anything that sounded good. We went straight to the store to get them…

20-miler 001

…and those salty crunchy things were exactly what I needed. It’s been a while, but Sprite is usually my go-to drink for nausea. I had half of the bottle and felt a lot better. The rest of it went down the sink; HFCS isn’t an ideal sugar-recovery drink.

After my first ice bath ever (success!), I finally felt hungry and went for my usual:

20-miler 003

1 cup Greek Yogurt
Drizzle of Honey
1/4 cup Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola

Much better.


What are your go-to on-the-run or post-run snacks? I’m always open to trying new things (except GUs, can’t get behind that) – sometimes that works in my favor, sometimes it clearly does not. But, training is a learning process.



Filed under about me, avoid the sick, following the schedule, food, learning, mileage, Nutrition, training

18 responses to “Tortillas Aren’t Meant for 20-Mile Runs

  1. Yikes, an extra week. Ok, if it were me, I would add the extra week in there next week, by duplicating the previous weeks runs, cutting out the intervals, and running a 16 miler for your long run. Just my thoughts.

    Sorry your stomach didn’t want to behave this week. Good job on slogging through it though. 🙂

    Post race, I want my V-8 for electrolytes first. Then water/gatorade. Then some serious protein like chicken. Oddly, this is the one time that chocolate doesn’t come into my meal plan, at least not right away.

    I meant to also ask you, is it true that your body can only digest 25 grams of protein in one sitting, or is that just an urban legend?

  2. Can you just go back to the Runner’s World Smart Coach and reenter all the information you did at the beginning but add the extra week. I would think it would then keep all of your other workouts the same. (??–not sure if this makes sense)

    I have to do the GUs on my long runs. I can’t run and chew anything gummy; it just ends up getting stuck in my teeth.

    As painful as an ice bath is, it is so worth it!

    Sometimes after my runs, all I want is carbonation!

  3. Sorry about the tortilla. I hate it when that happens. I think being nauseous is one of the worst things ever, especially while running. I always have coffee after a long run, weird I know. Then once my stomach settles, whatever sounds good. After last week’s 20 miler it was a maple oat scone.

  4. Oh no!! Who woulda thought you’d react like that to a Tortilla! So weird!! Good for you for pushing through and getting the mileage in though.

    I still can’t believe that was your first ice bath ever and this is your SECOND marathon training cycle.

  5. Soda is my go-to drink anytime I am feeling ick. It works like a charm 🙂

  6. Katie

    I’m currently using Honey Stingers not sure they do anything but they are quick and I can get them done.

    Post run? Sugar! I just had a HUGE slice of Texas Sheet Cake like the side of my hand after my 22 miler today! LOL I don’t recommend, but I run for a reason!

  7. I loved a piece of bread or banana with pb before a run!

  8. Lee

    I like Jelly Beans when I’m running. Or GU. Why do you not like it? I just find that it’s easier to actually eat when I’m running because I don’t have to chew!

  9. I’ve never been one for solid food on the run! I do Gu and Chomps only… fresh fruit when we have a sherpa or aid station. No way could I eat chips or wraps or pretzels.

    Sorry to hear that the tortilla threw such a wrench into the tail end of your run. Lesson learned! Awesome job getting it done.

    And I’d definitely use the “bonus” week for another 20!

  10. Eeks, that sucks. I’d prob do a 16-18 miler next weekend since you’ve done plenty of strong 20’s. Fueling issues are never fun. I fueled well today, before and during.

    Prior, I do well with toast or a english muffin topped w/ pb and banana and a cup of tea on the side.

    During, I drink a mix of gatorade/water and have a few shot bloks and generally 1/2 of a larabar. I really like something that’s fairly easy/soft to chew but has real substance. I found that the shot bloks just weren’t cutting it on their own. Today I ate 1 shot block and 1/2 a larabar and it worked perfectly.

    Post, I downed a green monster that had: spinach, ice, banana, blueberries, oats, protein powder, cinnamon, peanut butter, a scoop of plain yogurt and a little almond milk. It definitely hit the spot! Yay for icebaths! I really think they make a big difference.

  11. i crave pop/soda like CRAZY after my super long runs… not sure why but i am a nut case if i dont have some after i get done. its almost like it gives me something i lost!

  12. Lindsey

    During my runs I usually stick to Gu chomps, and gu gel without caffeine. I also drink G2 and water from the fuel belt. After I run my long distance I usually get some chocolate milk, great combo of protein, sugar, carbs and tastes amazing!!! I also whip up either a smoothie if it’s really hot out or a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and banana..yum!

  13. Awww, so sorry things went wrong with the fuel, but at least you know now. I know better than on race day to inhale Gatorade, does not settle well with me.

    Your splits were fantastic!

  14. You know, the one thing I’ve learned by reading stuff about sports nutrition (including on this blog!) and from experimenting is that the best fuel, during and post-run, is the kind that actually makes you feel better. I do oatmeal with banana two hours before a run, and Greek yogurt with a cut-up peach and slivered almonds after. During? Not worrying about that right now … but curious to see what you end up sticking with!

  15. Pingback: The Unofficial Strength Training for Running: Pose, Hike, Ride, Run « Dietitian on the Run

  16. Well first of all, it makes me so happy to see your training program and think it was my training program since we still both use some semblance of runnersworld. Yay. Sucky deal about the tortilla. I suppose if your mouth was dry to begin w/(which obviously it probably was after running for HOURS) it’d be pretty tough to get down. Super impressed that you made it another 3 miles w/o keeling over and quitting, b/c I probably would’ve.

    As for the schedule, perhaps an 18 this weekend? You had 2 solid 20’s, so you probably don’t need a 3rd. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

  17. Pingback: Three Things Thursday « Dietitian on the Run

  18. Pingback: Homemade Fuel for 20 « Dietitian on the Run

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