Yes, yes, I am posting my "1/2 Marathon Monday" post on Tuesday. Such is the life of a mommy blogger and runner and housekeeper and wife and...well, you all know what I mean.
So this past week was an interesting week for me as far as training went; I feel like I crossed over into a new realm of training...a realm in which new sneakers, and power gels and diligent hydration have become necessary components.
I'll share with you, briefly, my training for the week and then what I learned from my training (from last Monday-Today):
Monday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 3.5 miles
Saturday: 9 miles (This was the biggie so far-- and the run that pushed me into new running territory!)
Monday: 4.5 miles
Tuesday: REST! REST! REST!
Most of the week was quite good. I was feeling good about running again and about my training. As I mentioned above, it was the Saturday 9 miler that pushed me over the edge...
I met up with my sister and 4 other mommas who are also training for the 1/2 Marathon at a really nice bike path in our area. The path goes out 5 miles and then you have to come back-- the scenery is really pretty though, so while I don't usually like repetitive runs this one was really nice.
The group split into two pairs-- I ran with both for brief periods and then on my own with my music for the rest of the time (I am a solitary runner sometimes-- I like to get into my own groove and pace and just listen to music-- I hope no one takes it personally!).
Boy, at about mile 7, which is as far as I had ever gone before, my energy just started going down, down, down hill. By the time I finished the run I felt as if I literally had nothing left to give and began wondering how I will complete 13.1 miles in just about 4 weeks! This has NEVER happened to me before. I ALWAYS have a little left to give a final slow sprint at the end of a run.
The experience prompted me to do a little research on refueling this week, and how important it is. So here is what I learned about re-shoeing and re-fueling...
1. Re-Shoeing: If you are running regularly the suggested amount of time to run in one pair of sneakers is 300-400 miles. I went to a specialty running store (Fleet Feet in Buffalo) and while I paid a little bit more for the sneakers than I would have at Dick's Sporting Goods, I really wanted the expert advice and one on one attention to fitting a shoe the right way.
Ironically, they put me back in the same shoe I was already wearing, just a newer version, but I was grateful for the affirmation that this was indeed a good shoe for the shape of my foot and arch. It's the Asics Cumulus, if anyone cares. I LOVE Asics, but apparently I have a neutral foot that doesn't need a ton of stability (whatever that means!), so they work for me, but not for everyone.
The mileage guidelines above depend on your weight and where you are running. If you are a smaller, relatively light person running on a treadmill much of the time, you'll get more mileage out of your shoes. However, if you're doing more road training you'll get less mileage.
The important thing is to listen to your body-- if you start to get shin splints, new foot pain, or your legs are feeling increasingly tired/sore after your runs, it could be partially that your shoes are nearing the end of their life.
I still have a little mileage life in my old shoes and will keep them for elliptical workouts and shorter runs, but wanted to get a new, more supportive pair now so that I can break them in for the race.
2. Re-Fueling: Re-feuling is a bit of trial and error. Prior to my long run this weekend I had always tried to eat something relatively light with a bit of protein and carbs before my run (a Luna Bar (chocolate peppermint stick is my favorite), a banana and a little bit of milk have worked well for me, even as close as 45 minutes prior to my run), and then I would do either greek yogurt and granola, a muscle milk shake (1 scoop and a cup of milk) or this past week some Ultra Fuel, which is supposed to be really great for replenishing carbs, after my runs.
This week, however, when I hit that wall where I felt like I could go no further I realized I needed something during my run.
The lovely girl at Fleet Feet recommended Sports Beans-- jelly beans (yes, I said jelly beans), made by none other than Jelly Belly, that replenish your electrolytes and give you a quick hit of energy. I read some great reviews online and while I haven't tried them yet (I"m waiting for my run this weekend) I'm excited about the idea. I was always a little weirded out by those goo packs and I've read that these beans work just as well. Kember, the girl at Fleet Feet said that she eats a couple before, during and after her long runs.
I did also buy a chocolate Clif Shots. It is a gel, but as I said, this is all trial and error and before I can say I don't like it, I need to try it. Another customer said that her good friend did a Clif Shot every 3 miles during his last 1/2 marathon and that it worked really well for him.
3. Re-Hydrating: The general rule of thumb is to re-hydrate by your one hour mark and then every 45-minutes afterwards. A lot of runners swear by sports drinks (like Poweraid), but if you are taking something like a Gel Shot or Sports Beans just water should be o.k. I haven't tried one of those crazy water belts, but am pretty confident I would not like it. Katie, my sister, stored some water at the 3 mi. point on our run-- that worked for us.
Hope all of you other runners are having a good week-- would love to hear what works for you!!