Sunday, October 9, 2011

18 miles down, 20 is next! And a chocolate smoothie

My 18 miler today went well, with lots of Clif shots (4) and some electrolyte/carb beverage. The company helped a lot, also. :) I did have a teensy bit of tummy upset,so I don't know if I'll be repeating my pre-run smoothie before a run again, but it was tasty! Here's what I put in:

Chocolate Protein Smoothie
1 c. almond milk
1 scoop vegan  chocolate protein powder (I used the Clean program stuff, but use your favorite)
2 bananas
1 T. milled chia seeds
chocolate Amazing Grass GREENSuperFood (or use the version w/protein and skip the protein powder)

Blend it all together, using more or less ice, to taste!

I also had 1/2 cinnamon raisin sprouted english muffin prior to my run. I think I need to do more muffin, less smoothie next time. I also found some yummy raspberry fig newtons at the co-op tonight. I am thinking of carrying a few of those with me next long run and trying those in place of 1 or 2 of the gels. The calories and carbs work out to be very similar for 2 fig newtons. I have heard of people doing this successfully, so I may give it a shot. Next weekend is my first of two 20 mile training runs before race day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monster Month!

I am officially over halfway through marathon training! This is Week 10 (out of 16). I cannot believe the big day is only a month and a half away. This month is the bulk of the training miles. Last week was 30 miles, this week is 32, with an 18 mile long run. I am realizing how true it is that this kind of running is 90% mental. But fuel is key, also. My first half marathon was the Philadelphia Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon in September. I had a great time and while running 13 miles still isn't "easy" to me, it felt really good. Yes, I was tired at some points during the race, and after, but never doubted that I could finish. My finish time was 2:34:57 - not breaking any speed records, but I'm really happy for my first half! There was Cytomax provided along the course, as well as gels at mile 8. I also had a few Clif Shot Bloks at the start, so I was well-fueled throughout.

The next weekend I attempted to do a 13 mile run on my own and had a completely different experience. I felt tired, dead-legged, and doubtful. I had about 12 oz of eLoad (another Gatorade type drink), and 3 Chocolate #9 gels throughout, and had some smoothie and 1/2 a sprouted english muffin beforehand. I ended up walking most of the last mile after my phone died (i.e. my music player). This run lead me to re-evaluate my fueling for long runs. Part of me had been wanting to train my body to burn fat more efficiently during long runs (, which I still think has some merit. However, I was paying for it with dreadful long runs where I hit the wall. When I analyzed my carb intake and consulted the Runner's World Challenge nutritionist it became clear that I was taking in a much lower amount of carbs than recommended. While it might be a good training measure in some cases, it really drained the fun out of long runs.

So, last weekend I did two things differently: I managed to recruit company for the first half of my 16 mile run, and I made sure I had a bit higher carb intake. My Fuel Belt only has two bottles, holding about 12 oz of fluid total, but I filled both of those with eLoad. I had a couple of Shot Bloks at the start of the run, and I carried a bottle of plain water in addition to the Fuel Belt. And I carried along 3 Clif Gel Shots (in Strawberry Banana - no caffeine). I also had an additional 20 oz of eLoad in the car, which I looped back by twice. We took in a gel around mile 3.5 (about 45 minutes into the run), and again around an hour and a half in. I drank plenty of water with these, and sipped some of the eLoad in between - though it was a cool day and I wasn't feeling very thirsty most of the time. The last gel I took around mile 13. My legs felt very tired the last few miles, but I was able to carry on running at a steady pace without too many walk breaks. In all I drank about 20 oz of eLoad, the 2 Shot Bloks, and 3 gels. I estimate that to be around 170 grams of carbs, and the recommended intake is 30-60 grams per hour of running. Considering I finished in around 3 1/2 hours, this was pretty close to the guideline. I had a hot chocolate (made with coconut milk) and the other 1/2 of a sprouted english muffin as soon as I got back to the car, along with water. That seemed to help restore some energy (at least enough to get home) - I think hot chocolate is my new miracle recovery drink. ;)

That said, all those gels are pure sugar, in varying forms. I don't love that, but they do seem to work. The Chocolate #9 gels are nice because they are agave nectar and cocoa, but because agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index you don't get that nice bump of energy. I might try them again though, making sure to be more proactive in taking them. I also want to try the homemade gel recipe from Thrive Fitness again. I first tried it a few weeks ago on a somewhat shorter run, and used whole chia seeds instead of ground. It wasn't really liquid enough to easily consume, and I need to analyze the recipe to get an estimate of the carbs (primarily from dates) and plan accordingly. I know Clif gels will be available along the Philadelphia Marathon course, so if I don't want to carry stuff with me, I need to train with those to be accustomed to them. At least I've got plenty of long runs coming up to use to figure this all out!