Fueling through 26.2: Q&A with Marathoner Linsey Pimentel

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When Linsey Pimentel crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday she had a huge smile on her face- not because she'd run her fastest Boston, but because she felt amazing the entire day. A veteran marathoner, she swears it was the result of proper training and nutrition leading up to race day. 

Linsey's life literally revolves around fitness. From teaching spinning at her local studio to training for multiple running events a year, her physical output requires a thoughtful nutrition and hydration plan, especially leading up to race day. 

Here's the inside scoop on how she fills her plate for the long haul...

How does your nutrition and hydration change when you're at the end of a training cycle, say, in the last week before a race?

My nutrition typically stays the same as it is when I am training. I try to eat a well balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, lots of fruit and veggies, so I don't stray much from the usual leading up to the race. Hydration is a bit different. A few days prior I make a big effort to hydrate as much as possible and include electrolytes in my fluids.

Do you have a swear-by pre-race meal?

I learned awhile ago that only eating carbohydrates was not sustainable for next-day performance. I now eat grilled chicken, lightly seasoned over fresh pasta with some pesto the night before. Morning of is a big serving of oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar when I wake up. Then I eat a protein bar (I love thinkThin Cookies and Cream with 20g of protein) and banana an hour or so prior to start time.

I know you sometimes struggle with heat and hydration during a race. How do you make sure you stay well-hydrated and fueled for nearly four hours of running?

I carry a bottle with me which contains an electrolyte powder (Scratch Labs Lemon-Lime) mixed with water. I take a big drink at every single mile to keep myself honest. If it's real warm, I drink a sip every half mile and may also grab water at stops along the way. By keeping a bottle with me, I know approximately how much I am drinking and if it is enough. For fuel I use a gel (Gu, espresso flavor with caffeine) every 45 minutes, taken with fluids and an occasional Clif Shot Block. I like the orange flavor with extra caffeine.

Do you have a favorite post-race treat?

I crave a big bottle of cold water and a banana immediately after the effort. Then a cheeseburger with extra ketchup, some fries, and more water later on! I also enjoy a pint of Ben and Jerry's over the course of the week after a marathon. I put a good dent in it each night. 

What piece of nutrition advice would you give to a woman racing any distance for the first time?

Take the time to find nutrition and hydration options that work for you while training. Never try something new on race day! Electrolytes are important not just as replacement but pre-race, too. Fuel your body; fuel your race. High quality calories are essential for success in preparation for a race and afterwards for recovery.

Congratulations on your FOURTH Boston Marathon, Linsey! 

Follow Linsey on Instagram @linseyontherun and check out her (kick-ass...trust me) spin classes at Fit-Revolution in Andover, MA. 

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