Saturday, July 21, 2012

run, chew, run, chew, run, chew

I am currently in training for a half marathon in the middle of September. I trained for and ran a 10k race (the Bluenose) in May so I already had a decent base although I'm nowhere near in the good shape I was 2 years ago when I was regularly running 10k 2-3 times a week for general exercise, albeit on the pancake flat seawall in Vancouver but still, I was making good time and was doing lots of other exercise such as netball twice a week and spinning classes as well as kickboxing and hiking the Grouse Grind. Since moving last year, my workout routine has gone, well.... it's just gone. Only now that things are more settled, am I able to get into a regular routine. I always do best when training for something in particular so me and my running buddy K-Mac decided to both enter the same race so we can train together. We don't do all our runs together as schedules do not permit but we keep each other in check with updates in-between our weekly Tues night run club. Up to 10k is my ideal run/ race distance but the downside is, it's easy to slack off because as long as you are generally fit, you can run 10k without too much trouble. A half marathon (21k) on the other hand, does require training if you wish to have the use of your legs for the 2 weeks after the race. Factor in a late Summer race date where temps could be in the mid 20's and if you haven't done any hot weather training, you likely won't make it to the first water station. What does this  have to do with food? Well, doing any kind of exercise longer than an hour requires nutritional preparation. I planned an 11k training run for last Saturday morning so that meant Friday day and night were all part of it. We've been having very hot weather, high 20's with humidex in the mid 30's and so I planned a 7 am run to beat the heat. For anything where dehydration is an issue either for medical or performance reasons, it's key to start your hydration a couple of days before hand to give your body time to "top up" it's water reserves. Also, if you drink too much on the day, you just need to pee the whole time and that just sucks. Food wise, I had an evening meal of salmon skewers (on sale at Superstore for $1.25 each!) and an avocado mango salsa I made, minus the black beans from the original recipe, as I find they bloat me a bit which impedes the enjoyment of the run. I had a poor sleep as was flying solo with the new puppy that night so was up every 2 hours to take him outside to pee. On runs of 7k or less, I usually do not take water with me. I find carrying water is a hassle and not that comfortable whether you have a fuel belt, camelbak or handheld. But, this run required a water source and my subsequent longer training runs will require water and fuel in the form of gels, electrolyte drinks etc. I found a fuel belt from Nike with 4 bottles and 2 pouches which I thought would be fine. I have previously had a camelbak which I loved as it was so easy to sip and no bulky belt hitting my elbows but you can only have one liquid type as there is only one bladder. With the belts you can have water in one, electrolyte drink in another, wine in another (kidding). I also had new runners (got them on sale at $60 off!), and I was going to try out some electrolyte chews. There are 3 main fuels on the market for endurance activities: gels, chews and sport jelly beans. In the past when I did a half marathon and a triathlon a few years ago, I used gels which I like but they can be very sickly sweet and stick to your gums if your mouth is dry, which it usually is when running. You need to take with water and this can be fiddly when running and then there is the sticky packet that you have to put back in your pocket...yuck. Also, if you only want half, the other half gets squished all over your hand, your bag or just wasted if you toss it away. Training runs for endurance events are not just to get your body ready, they are to try out gear, figure out what pre-race preparations work for you and what you need during the race. A bad training run will lead to a good race! I decided to try out the Sharkie gels, they are soft chews with some carbs and electrolytes. You are supposed to have one every 15 mins or so. I put them in my pouch and could easily retrieve them while running. They were easy to chew and the chewing motion increased salivation in my mouth which was good. However,  I didn't like the taste of most of them. The packet was "berry splash" so they were all different but I did get a cherry one. I love cherries. I hate cherry flavour. But I ate in anyway and carried on. Energy wise, the run was great, the chews sat well in my stomach and I felt really good on the run. I'm going to try some other brands of chews and also re-test the old faithful gels (which can be premixed with water to avoid the whole sticky mess I mentioned) to see how it goes. Either way, each training run is a mission and what  I learn will give me great confidence in the run and hopefully make for an enjoyable (and fast) 21k.

1 comment:

  1. Good job with the training! I remember training in the heat of summer for an early October half-marathon after I moved here. You're lucky you've got a weekly run buddy :)