Friday, July 6, 2012

Running & Recovery

This week I did my longest ever run! 14 miles - just a notch over the 1/2 marathon distance, but until then the 1/2 was the longest I'd ever completed. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself!

With my marathon training this year these mileages will be creeping up by the week - I have 3 months to go till the race so I'm feeling OK about it - but man is it ever the commitment! What I am surprised about is that most training plans I've looked at only get you up to a 20 mile run. That seems terrifying to're telling me I'll have to run for an additional hour on top of my longest training run on race day?! Seriously?! I still maintain that I'm only doing this one marathon, get it out of my system, ticked off the bucket list and chalk it up to an experience, or something...!

What I do really plan to get out of this experience (apart from black toenails, sore knees and lack of social life on long run days) is improved fuelling and recovery techniques. With my previous half marathons these are 2 areas I know I've paid little attention to.

Fuel during Running
So far I've never fuelled on-the-go in any of my long runs in the past. I hydrate, sure but I've never taken in gels or even energy drinks etc, and it's obvious really that I should be. General consensus seems to be to fuel on runs more than 60-75 minutes, and to start taking on board that fuel around the 45-60 minute mark (and every 45 minutes thereafter). I am exceedingly nervous about my delicate stomach and accessibility of toilets on runs so I think that's always been half the reason to conveniently make do without. But I promised myself when I signed up for this marathon that this would be part of my training that I can take away and apply back to my half marathon training in the future. Don't be scared of the fuel, and test them out so I'm comfortable that my body will accept them and ultimately benefit from them.

This week I tried out a GU energy gel - vanilla bean flavour. Whilst I couldn't imagine vanilla being in a gel format it was surprisingly good. I also thought it could be messy if I didn't eat it in one go, I couldn't exactly pop it back in my pocket once opened - it would be a sticky gooey mess! (though they say you should down it in one anyway!) There was plenty in what looked like a small packet so I chugged it down over the course of 1/2 mile or so - it was a  Super easy to take down and very pleasant taste - they get the thumbs up from me and I'll be checking out some more of their flavours for sure (mmm - like chocolate mint!).

Later in the run I also had some GU chomps - big fat gummy chews. Firstly they were really sticky and had stuck themselves to the foil pouch and I had a heck of a job getting them out the packet. Then, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but I found them actually too big for my mouth! I tried the blueberry pomegranate flavour and they were also very tart! ick! - I definitely wouldn't bother with these again. I thought I really liked the idea of the gummy chews and I've had a couple of other brands over the last few weeks (Sharkies and Honey Stingers) so I will try others, but I won't go back for GU chomps. (Also if we're going to be vain here - I am - chomps were so flippin' bulky it looked like I had a growth in my abdomen as I carried them around in my sport skirt pocket!)

By the end of my 14 miler I still felt strong. My knees and joints were achy from the increase in distance but I didn't feel weary overall. After thinking I wasn't keen on the idea of using Gels I might have to do a complete about turn - it really was so tasty and palatable. And it's something to look forward as each 45 minutes pass! I'm actually excited to experiment more with my fuelling!

I'm linking up for the first time to 'Fitness Friday' hosted by Jill.

I'll be writing about my recovery next. It was quite the shock to the system!


  1. I've found coconut water to be helpful and for many people it is easy on the stomach. You might also consider trying sports beans by Jelly Belly. Good luck with your training!

  2. I don't like the bigger chews - I like the Honey Stingers because they are small and I just pop them in my mouth and kind of suck on them. When one is gone, I put in another. SO far, it's seemed to work.

    I'll be doing my first 14 miler in a couple of weeks - so impressed that you got yours done!

  3. Congrats on your longest run. Honey Stinger Chews are my favorite if I'm using chews. I cannot stomach the gus no matter what brand. The texture and sweetness make me want to gag! You should also look into the Honey Stinger Waffles. They're my favorite for fueling.

    Good luck with training. Keep us updated :)


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