Marathon Training for Simpletons Part V - High glycogen storage and fat use


Still with me on this, my eye-opening exploration of the proper scientific theory behind marathon training?

No? Well, tough, you're here now, so you might as well carry on reading.

If you've missed the first four exciting installments, you should be ashamed.

Not only have you missed a wonderous display of marathon training blogging, but you've also made me feel bad.

I don't write these things for fun you know. It's largely to pass time when I'm ill, but also as a warning to you not to do what I've done and take up the challenge of the marathon.

Honestly, it's a stupid thing to do, and not worth it. It hurts, consumes your life, and could be responsible for pestilence and famine around the world.

With that in mind, lets get on with this.

Glycogen storage and fat utilisation (I refuse to spell that with a "z", no matter what this yankee blogging platform tells me) sounds horrific.

The image of fat storage that springs into my mind is a kitchen cupboard that oozes horrible white gunk onto the worktop when you open the door.

I was going to try to recreate this for a picture, but then got bored of the idea when I realised I'd have to go out and buy lots of lard.

In fact, glycogen is the carbohydrate in your body that gives you energy. Ideally you want to be able to both store enough glycogen to last 26.2 miles, and make sure you use it efficiently when running.

When you hit the wall, it's because you're running low and your body is trying to use fat instead, which is less good at using oxygen.

You still need to be able to use fat, so you need to train so that your body conserves glycogen to keep you going.

This one's fairly simple to work on as endurance training - running for more than an hour and a half, say - stimulates your body to adapt. Also, the volume of training contributes, so just getting out and running in some form, even relatively short distances later in the training, helps.

So building general long runs into training, as well as general shorter ones will help me improve this aspect.