Sunday, March 24, 2013

Teach Me How to Feed Myself

Saturday Workout: 6 miles, 11:38 average, Connects (ON A TREADMILL PRAISE ME)
Sunday Workout: 10 miles, 10:29 average, Connects

10 miles. The farthest (furthest? Someone teach me how to use those words properly. A friend once told me it's always "farther" and "farthest" when you're talking about physical distances and "further" and "furthest" when you're talking metaphorically. I could google this but I prefer to bother you fine folks about it. Way to totally disrupt the flow of your opening paragraph, Jeano) I've run since my stress fracture last year, and finishing up a 38-mile week. NBD (not really - it's a BIG DEAL). There is some celebrating going on at JJ-o headquarters (my couch). And by celebrating I mean a single beer because it seems I can't hang in the fast lane these days.

In all honesty, I was bitching about the weather this morning. Hypocrite, much? The thing is, I adore snow. I really do. However, running in powder is tiring. Once you go pavement, it's hard to go back. I think I've been semi-coasting through marathon training by switching to "easier" shoes and running on "easier" terrain, so today when I was just plain tired, I couldn't do anything extra to ease the difficulty of the task at hand.

I did what I could by putting on the Connects and heading to what three days ago was a pavement paradise. There was no pavement today.

O pavement, where art thou? This has nothing to do with where I ran, but I took it this morning and there's no pavement in the picture so my caption totally works.

Today, my plan introduced a new pace: 10:29! My long-run pace. Welcome to the family, kiddo. 10:29 isn't much faster than my "easy" pace of 10:52 (not to be confused with my "easy easy" pace of 11:38), but given that I was already dragging ass and hadn't even started running the damn thing, that was very nearly the straw that broke this camel's humps (lady lumps).

I started running and could tell the snow was taking a toll on my energy levels, so I told myself it was okay to keep my pace slower if need be (I live life on the wild side). After a few minutes, though, I found myself getting into a groove and my pace dropped naturally to right around 10:29. Miraculously, I was able to settle into this pace and stay right around there with little effort for the rest of the run.

Splits. So very interesting.

The farther (there it is again!) I ran, the better I felt, and I didn't even have to resort to turning on the tunes as I had promised myself I would after 6 miles. I'm pretty sure 10 miles is the farthest (!!) I've ever run without music. Score.

Overall, I was really pleased with how this went, although it underscored the one obvious weakness I've identified in Hansons' plan: namely, the difficulty of practicing race-day nutrition. Hanson's claim to fame is long runs that max out at 16 miles (in fact, they're all either 10 or 16 miles), a good deal shorter than what most plans recommend. The idea is that running longer than 3 hours does more harm than good to the body, and running 16 miles allows one to reap the same benefits provided by a 20+ - miler. Additionally, long runs are done on tired legs (today was my fourth consecutive day of running) to "simulate running the last xx miles of a marathon." So there's your background.

16-mile long runs are all well and good, but they won't really allow me to figure out this whole nutrition puzzle. I typically don't need to eat or drink anything for runs 10 miles and under (at least when it's cool out), and for 16 miles I imagine I'll be fine with a gel. So what's a girl to do?

I know, I know, I should practice fueling with these shorter runs by fueling earlier than necessary to make sure it doesn't wreck my stomach. But I don't wanna! Today, for example, I had a gel with me, but I just didn't want it. Maybe next time.


Week seven, over and out! Here's what we did:

Monday: 4 miles, 10:47
Tuesday: 7 miles with 8 x 600 (at 8:30 with 400 rest)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday7 miles with 5 at tempo (9:44)
Friday: 4 miles, 10:52
Saturday: 6 miles, 11:38
Sunday: 10 miles, 10:29

Total: 38 miles

Chyeah. My legs felt achy during the first few miles of today's run, but it went away after a few miles. Apart from that, the body seems to be holding up. Also, my hunger's out of control. Like, I wake up in the morning because I'm starving/going through food withdrawal. And that's all I have to say about that.

Question Central:
  • Do you have tomorrow off? I just found out it's a holiday for some people (Seward's Day? We Alaskans are fond of Sir Seward because he bought our state from the Russians).
  • Anyone else get weird about eating on the run? I hate introducing any calories because who knows how this crazy body is going to process it all.
  • Anyone do a long run today? How'd it go?!
  • Furthest or farthest? Teach me!


  1. Yes, you do need to practice fueling. Yes, that means introducing something while you're running. No, I wouldn't be worried, fueling-wise, that 16 miles is your longest run. For now, I would assume that if your body accepts it at 8, 11, or 13 miles - it will accept it at 18, 20, or 22. [Are you sure this is the same girl that, just a few weeks ago, was scarfing a hot dog at the Iditarod kick-off thingie, then going for a run???]

    I'm biased, but I'd suggest trying chews/chomps/sports beans - something small and quantized, so that you can eat half the pack without leaving a gooey sticky mess in your belt/pocket/pouch.

    Try eating a few before your next run (of any distance that's not a tempo/interval workout). See how they feel. Then, try taking them during a run - possibly even your easy easy runs. Even if it's just 5 beans after mile 2 of a 5 miler. Then, at least, you'll gain confidence in your body's ability to tolerate them.

    Obviously, you'll have to then try them on the 10 and 16 milers. I'd start ASAP - if you try something and it doesn't work, you need to have time to try something else on another run. I'd try taking before and during your longer runs - before only because it's the only way you'll be able to see how your body feels 10 miles after taking them. [If you were doing 20 mile long runs, you could start at mile 10, but obviously...] You're right - on these runs, you probably don't need the nutrition - but you do need to practice it!

    I have to confess that I don't know your goal race. Depending on the expected temps/weather, and your sweating habits, you can even try using something non-sports related that you know sits well for you without running: jelly beans, raisins, gummy bears. [The only thing they don't provide is salt.]

    Don't be afraid to experiment! Go to the store and buy 1 or 2 of 5 different kinds of energy things to try! Rest eas(ier) knowing that you can test on a nice, slow easy run...

    I did not run long today. I have been sitting at my desk, on the phone, all morning. Can't wait to get to the gym later.

    U vs. A? Don't know. In fact, my husband recently commented: "Holly? I think your website tag line should be 'fArthest', not 'fUrthest', race." I haven't made the time to do the research. Thanks for -clearing things up- adding to the confusion...?

    1. Well, I can pretty much eat anything before a short, EASY run, but as soon as you increase speed or distance things could get iffy. I think part of it is that my stomach was always off when I lived in New York and I'm kind of suffering PTSD from the many long runs I did that had me nowhere near a bathroom. I haven't had any issues in months, but I'm always paranoid it's going to come back.

      Oh, I actually haven't said anything about my goal race, mostly because I haven't officially registered for it yet. Must get on that! It's at the end of June, but we can (usually) expect pretty mild temperatures. But it could be anywhere from 40 and rainy to 80+ degrees... usually June treats us well, though, so I imagine it'll be perfect running weather (fingers crossed!) with some rain possibly thrown in. It WILL require more water/food than I currently consume, though (ie. nothing). I'll just need to suck it up and start eating during runs to, as you said, figure out what works. Booo!

  2. Ha. I agree with pretty much everything Holly said. Not having run a full marathon, I can't really speak from experience, but I've done a few runs around 16 miles (and on 8+ mile trail runs - I always get hungrier than on regular runs)and always take fuel with me. Like you, I don't usually tap into anything unless I am going 10+ miles, but when I do, I actually start taking it early in the run - around mile 5 or 6. At the half marathon two weeks ago, I started at mile 5 and took in one shot block (about 33 calories?)every mile or two.

    I also recommend shot blocs/chomps..much easier and less messy than gu/gel...but I have also made my self try almost everything out there to make sure that's what worked best for me.

    1. Yeah, last year I used margarita shot bloks for all my runs and they worked well. But so expensive! I just got my REI dividend, though, so I think I'll be hitting them up for some different fuel options soon.

    2. Whooo hoooo me too!! And there's a 20% off coupon to boot! I bought my new Garmin last year, so I rolled in big for that one.

  3. 10 miles, damn. And you did 6 miles on a treadmill? Goddess. I really don't understand nutrition during a race. A part of me just wants to pack some Oreo's and some Sour Patch Kids, but apparently that's not appropriate. Whatever.

    1. Actually, you can. If it works for you, your stomach likes it, and has simple sugar, I say ROCK IT.

      You take nutrition for sugar, and for electrolytes. Oreos probably don't have much of the latter, but for half marathons in Rochester (except maybe in July), you'll probably be OK. But a punch of sugar eaten at mile 6 or 7 and kicking in at mile 8-9 is very welcome. :)

      Try the Oreos. And some people do legitimately use candy (jelly beans, gummy bears, why the heck NOT Sour Patch Kids?!?!). If it works, why not?? Just...ummm...please test it before you race. ;-)

    2. Yesss, apparently asking for praise is an excellent way to get someone to praise you. Duly noted!

      I really want to try Coke like all the hardcore ultrarunners do. I feel like the bubbles would ruin my stomach though. Maybe warm Coke? I HAVE used gummy bears for runs (more for fun than for fuel) and I guess they worked okay. Or at least, they didn't make me sick.

    3. Just leave it open over night to let it go flat. Problem solved. [As long as you plan ahead. Otherwise? I'm guessing yu'd be headed for burp-city.]