By Jocelyn Todd
In October 2017, I was training for my second marathon. My training led me to believe I was on target to hit the US Olympic Trials qualifying standard of sub-2:45. However, although I was training well, I frequently felt very fatigued and my recovery seemed unpredictable. For race day, I still managed to run 2:48, but I “bonked” hard around mile 16 and felt this time was much slower than I was capable of running. The fatigue and recovery problems I was experiencing during training and the hard bonk during the marathon seemed at first like common problems that all marathon runners face; however, after examining the situation more closely, it became clear that marathon training was not at fault– but rather the culprit was how I was fueling and filling gaps in my nutrition.
Since I was still so new to marathoning, my day-to-day fueling was decent, but nothing special. I loosely made sure I took in a variety of protein, fats, and carbs from different sources, but that was about as far as I monitored my diet. I figured I was eating enough variety to cover the “micronutrients” as well. After talking with other runners about this, I started hearing about First Endurance products. I decided to investigate these products to see what the big deal was all about. As a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering, I was immediately drawn to the scientific studies referenced on the product labels. Finding products that are formulated according to peer-reviewed standards is rare, and incredibly important for me when choosing a product to invest money in and trust.
As I researched products to round out my nutrition, my top priority was balance. High training demands can cause nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to a weak immune system, increased risk of injury, and as I experienced in the story above, underperformance. After reading the research on FE’s products, I decided to try MultiV and Optygen. Both products are specially formulated to endurance athletes, tested to meet USADA (US Anti-Doping) requirements, and would provide supplementary levels of vitamins and nutrients to keep my fueling in check. Both products are backed by research to aid in recovery, lactic acid and cortisol moderation, and prevention of common deficiencies from endurance training. By taking these products, I can have peace of mind that I’m covering my bases and don’t have to spend time micromanaging my diet. Of course, this is a somewhat broad strokes approach and may not be suitable for everyone. I consulted my physician before taking the products to make sure they would be safe and effective for me.
Over about a month of taking these products consistently, I experienced a faster and more consistent recovery time, which allowed consistent training and made it worth continued investment in these products. After the marathon I described above, I experienced tremendous growth in my training and performance. The numbers speak for themselves – my next marathon, eight months later in June 2018, I ran 2:39:23 to earn my Olympic Trials Qualifying standard time. I ran another marathon in December 2018; with further development in my training and some flexibility in my racing strategy after having already qualified, I ran 2:36:30 to achieve the “A” standard.
Over this time, I also developed my race day nutrition. I experimented with a few products for my workouts and long runs – among them was supplementation with PreRace. It was highly effective, as it provided a palpable boost similar to caffeine with less rush. This quickly became instrumental in my race day nutrition.
To be clear – my progression took diligent hard work, learning from each race, a good support system, favorable conditions, and a multitude of other factors. Throughout the year I remained injury-free and free of illness. I felt balanced and my recovery and fatigue levels were more predictable and even. Thus, I believe I owe some credit to having my nutritional bases covered by these products formulated by a company that deeply understands and researches the needs of endurance athletes.