Saturday, April 11, 2015

Running A Better 13.1

Today was another long run day in my half marathon training, so I decided to do a complete rehearsal, except for the time and venue -- I'll have to just roll with those variables on race day. I knew I could complete the distance, since I accomplished that two weeks ago, so my goal for today was to do it better!

The first part in the process was hydration and carb-loading, which commenced on Thursday. Carb-loading seemed a little strange since it is almost the opposite of my normal diet, but for a few days I can handle it. The rest of the improvement process would happen during the run itself, in the form of drinking water every few miles, and consuming a gel energy packet around the five mile mark. 

After getting good advice about hydration from one of my nurse friends who also runs, I opted to try out a Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated flask, complete with wrist strap and pocket for an energy gel. The flask only has an 8-oz. capacity, but I figured that was better than the ~2-oz. I quickly chugged mid-run last time. I'm still not sure if I want to carry the flask during the actual race, or rely on the hydration stations.

While perusing various running blogs, I kept reading that a boost of carbs part way through the run would provide extra energy towards the end, so I decided to try a gel packet. Some said that the packets made from honey were easier on the stomach mid-run, so I opted for Honey Stinger Gold gels, as they are 95% honey. I'm happy to report that it tastes like honey, as advertised, and seems to have made a performance difference.

Here are the graphs from today's run:

I tried to start off at a slower pace than I did last time, keeping it right around the "all day long" pace I had been training at, and then stepped it up after about 11 miles. I don't know if it was the hydration and energy gel, or if it was the downhill stretch at the end, but obviously I was able to accomplish a better 13.1 mile run all around. I finished this run at 9:50 per mile, down 9-seconds per mile from two weeks ago; and there was no "hitting the wall" this time!

Now I rest for a week, train for a week, and then do this all over again for the real deal. I will be very pleased if I can repeat this performance on race day!

All Day Long!

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