Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter Hols + Fueling Practice

Happy whatever-it-is-that-you-celebrate!! (Not working, making delicious treats, drinking a lot, and/or sitting alone in the dark enjoying the silence totally counts.) Don & I are hanging out with his folks in Washington state this week, which is delicious, quiet, & generally awesome. I am ready for it.


Even though 12.6 miles still doesn't really feel (in my mind) like an actual long run, I decided it was time to start putting all the fueling tips I've been reading about into practice & see how they work for me. My long run assignment this past Sunday was 95-105 minutes, which I'd originally been planning to push to 14 miles, but given that I was still having some not-insignificant pain in my left calf (see below) I decided to just stick to the hour forty-five.

Recently I ordered a box of key lime Accel Gel from Amazon:

Accel Gel because it's the only other one besides 2nd Surge that I know of that contains protein. (They are actually made by the same company; I think 2nd Surge is basically just Accel Gel with a bit of the protein traded out for caffeine. This would explain why 2nd Surge only comes in chocolate & espresso.) Key lime because it was on sale.

(BTW, if you use this link when you shop at Amazon, 0.5% of what you spend goes to a charity through their Smile program. They have a few you can pick from, or you can enter your own. Pretty sweet, no?)

I had one gel before I started, then another every 30 minutes, which amounts to 40g of carbohydrate per hour. (You might recall from this post that 30g / hour is the smallest effective dose in terms of improving performance, and the more you can tolerate per hour, the better.) This isn't surprising considering it's not all that much different from what I've done in marathons in the past; the real test, I think, will be figuring out how much I can tolerate at half marathon race pace. (Y'know....once I can run that pace again for 13 whole miles.)

The other thing I need to figure out is how I'm going to carry all these gels I'm supposed to be gulping down. For marathons I wear shorts and a top with zipper pockets, but for a half I'd rather wear lighter, less bulky things if possible. I do have one pair of booty shorts / boy shorts / whatever with a zipper pocket in the back, so those might work.

* * *

This wasn't the training week I'd planned on, but at the very least, I can say that I did as much as I could as well as I could without seriously injuring myself. Which is kind of the best you can ever do, I think.

Grand Total: 25.6 miles

    * 11.5 easy
    * 1.5 speed
    * 12.6 long


Karate + light strength.


5 track. 1.5 warm up, 2 [3 x (300m @ 5:40 pace / 100m jog), 300m jog], 2 cool down. My legs still felt beaten up from my Sunday long run, so I was not super excited about this run. I don't know what I did, but by the time I finished my cool down, my right hip flexor (the one I tore) and the outside of my left calf were killing me. Much stretching & rolling ensued.


a.m. strength work. My left calf felt *extremely* painful as soon as I got up. I was not confident at first that I'd be able to handle squats & the like on my busted leg, but it ended up okay. I did not relish the thought of running on it the next day, though.

We were supposed to go to karate in the evening, but Don got home late, traffic from SF to Berkeley was terrible, & neither of us were feeling great, so we decided to skip it. Usually if I skip karate I try to get in a short run, but there was no way that was happening.


3 easy Rest busted leg. I don't know why I had such a short workout on my schedule during a normal training week, but it was just as well considering that I could barely put weight on my left leg. Don's company holiday party was Thursday evening so originally I'd planned to get up early & do this run before work, but with as terrible as my left leg felt when I woke up, that was clearly out of the question.

But hey, the party was good!

We clean up alright. ;)


1.5 warm up, 4 x (1600m @ LT / 1:00 jog), 1.5 cool down) 4 easy. My calf still hurt on Friday, but I was determined to see if I could get any running in at all, even if I couldn't do the tempo run. It was miserable, and my calf throbbed horrifically any time I stopped at a traffic light, but I got in four miles which is more than zero. I thought I probably could have forced myself through more, but I didn't want to risk doing more damage to my leg and jeopardizing my Saturday or (especially) Sunday runs. On the plus side, it actually did feel better after the run than before, and with the exception of the pain in my leg, I felt really good & wished I'd felt confident about going farther.


4 easy. What a huge, huge relief to find that although my calf still hurt, and walking was not incredibly comfortable, it still felt better than it had the night before and the short run I'd done on it hadn't made it worse. Also you can only complain so much about a day that ends with wine & bonfire.

Happy solstice!


12.6 long. Again, the leg felt better in the morning than it had the night before, which was encouraging.

Between my still-anemic endurance and achey calf, this run was tough. Like, last-10K-of-a-marathon tough. Something about the pain in my calf transferred itself up into my left hamstring, so that felt tight & painful as well & stopping periodically to try to stretch it out & loosen it up didn't accomplish much. Several times it occurred to me that it wouldn't be terribly unreasonable to call it good after an hour or an hour fifteen or an hour and a half, but if I was honest, the pain in my leg wasn't that bad--it was achey more than sharp and throbby the way it had been on Wednesday and Thursday, and it wasn't affecting my stride--and the whole point of marathon training is habituating yourself to mentally and physically pushing through that exact feeling.

(But GOD, was I still glad when this run was over. So, so incredibly glad. I am really looking forward to the point where long runs stop making me want to shoot myself.)

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