Saturday, February 12, 2011

Long runs and fueling them plus other lessons

When I initially decided to train for a half-marathon, I knew training would be different than it was for 5ks and 10ks. What I didn't know and anticipate was exactly how different training would be, particularly for long runs. My local running store has been an excellent resource in adjusting to these differences (OMG Honey Stingers are sooooo good!), but I want to detail exactly what I've learned so far in all my various training experiences.

What I learned training for the Peachtree:
  • Hyponatremia is easier to get than I thought, especially when I'm sweating a lot. What I had thought were tension headaches were really a lack of salt after running and sweating buckets.
  • I tried too hard to run the whole distance thinking only novices took walk breaks. This set me up for sciatica that was excruciating and eventually ruined my Peachtree experience. The mental setback was significantly more painful than the actual injury.
  • The right shoes and gear matter - a lot!
  • If it's too hot outside, I'm just not going to have a fantastic run. That's okay.
Because I was able to retain these lessons, the training for the half has been pretty good. Here's what I have learned so far training for the awesome 13.1 miles I'll walk/run in a few weeks:
  • Cooler weather is my friend! Once I get warmed up, I don't struggle so hard to keep going.
  • But just because it's cold and I don't think I'm sweating doesn't mean I'm not actually drenched in sweat. Today was my first hyponatremia headache, and it's not pleasant. I'm going to get some electrolyte refueling stuff from the running store this week. More about that later.
  • Due to my hypoglycemia, I need to eat something on the long run. The refueling helps tremendously.
  • The Stick is my friend! It brings a whole new meaning to "hurt so good".
  • Recovery runs, while they seemed insane at first, are also my friend.
So that's it so far. As I get more knowledge about what I need during the long runs, I'll post about it. Btw, almond milk mixed with chocolate syrup tastes just like chocolate covered almonds. YUM!

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