I learned a few things the first half of the year when I was training for Pig. Like most runners at some point, I had some GI and fueling issues. I've always had trouble making myself eat before those long training runs. I was fortunate that I was able to make myself get up on race day to get some calories in me before running the full.
I haven't done a long run over 14 miles since that race. I know that when I start to run more mileage, I will need to do a better job of fueling. Fourteen seems to be my limit when I'm running on last night's dinner and the half granola bar that I had to shove down my throat on the car ride there. So, in two weeks, when I do my first 16 miler, it is important that I make some changes on long run days. Here are some things I plan to try:
- Get up earlier and eat. EARLIER?! Ugh. I've already been getting up at 4:40 a.m. on Saturdays to meet my friends at 5:30. I can't imagine getting up earlier (especially since I already get up at 4:10 three days a week). I don't know yet how I will make this one happen. For Pig, I ate hard boiled eggs about an hour and a half or two before the start. That seemed to work well for me. I might even opt for some delicious, hydrating fruit. All I know is that bars of any kind do not do me well.
What I wish I could eat before every long run!
- Try other hydrating supplements. Starting this past March, I switched to water only in my handheld. Over the winter, I used a 50/50 G2/water mix because I was told that it wouldn't freeze in the frigid temps. LIES. Anyway, I noticed that my belly was getting upset when I would drink the 50/50 mix. I figured out that the G2 was the culprit. This past Saturday, I decided to drink some of Jackie's regular Gatorade and it was totally fine! I'm going to experiment with regular Gatorade on future runs.
- Gels. I FINALLY found a gel that cooperates with my GI system: PowerGel Vanilla. I tried just about every popular brand from GU (the thought makes me barf), honey stinger, Clif shot, and Island Boost. Now that I've found something that agrees with me, I need to practice fueling during runs. I'm HORRIBLE at this! I went on my long run a couple of weeks ago with the intention of practicing my fueling. It was just a 13 miler but I wanted to get into the habit of taking them. Nine miles went by before I realized I hadn't taken my gel! I really need to make this happen.
- Salt tabs. I'll start by saying I have NOT done any extensive research on these. Honestly, in all my years of running, I never knew it was a thing (probably because I had only two crappy marathons under my belt). It's amazing how much I've learned about long distance running in the last year. I took my first salt tab during Pig. I KNOW...don't do anything new on race day....whatever. My pacer, Dave, kept telling our group to let him know if we started to cramp and he would give us a salt tab. I started feeling pretty tight around 19 miles so I took my first tab. Through the rest of the race, I ended up taking 1-2 more. I have no idea if it helped. I did cramp up pretty good the last 1 1/2 miles. Would more have prevented it? Who knows. What I do know is that it's something I would like to experiment with this season.
What I want to prevent during long runs.
What upsets your belly? What doesn't? What do you know about salt tabs?