MARLA_S   6,791
5,500-6,999 SparkPoints
MARLA_S's Recent Blog Entries

Distance Running Advice, Please! :o)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hi!! I have a question for all of those "seasoned" runners out there. I'm starting to add more miles to my runs. I started at 1 mile last September and now I'm up to between 6 and 7 miles. I'm also in the process of training for a half marathon that takes place at the end of September. I have heard about things that keep your energy up and are easy to consume on a run: gels, chewables, and the like. I have NO idea where to start when looking for anything like this. What works? What doesn't? Are they even necessary? Any advice anyone has would be welcome. Thanks so much and SPARK ON!!
emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KSIGMA1222 9/29/2010 10:28AM

    Thanks for your comment on my sparkpage! I have been running for 3 years now and have been asking this same question. I have my first half in 10 days and should be ok with just water but I think I conditioned myself to do this and I am hoping my time isn't over 1:45 which is my usual time of less for this distance just never did it in a race before. Meant to do a full last year but could not find the time and the full that fit into my schedule and once my son was born well all bets were off and I had to stop being in marathon shape all the time.

I did find out once i made french toast for my daughters one morning and used powdered sugar to sweeten them up and i had some and about an hour later on the treadmill I felt unstoppable. To the point I maxed the treadmill out on speed and still felt great after half an hour. So I tried a powder doughnut another time and had similar results. I think it is something you can just play with and see what works best for you. I know that gels and candies are too concentrated for me and could cause me to get sick so I have to use a combo item that offsets the overload, hence the powder doughnut with starch and sugar.

Sorry for the long answer but great to meet you and have a great run!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SPIDERGIRL502 7/21/2010 5:10PM

    I'm a beginning runner (started in April), and I was just wondering the same thing recently! I'm starting to run for longer than an hour, and I wondered if I needed to refuel for longer runs. I found a few interesting articles (like this one:
onandhydration/f/eatontherun.htm) and it seems like different things work well for different people. Some even eat candy or pretzels! Honestly, I'd probably try those first before I'd buy gels and things, but that's just me. Again, I'm a beginner, so you should probably trust the more experienced runner, but I thought I'd lend my thoughts. :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLCRC 7/21/2010 10:05AM

    For a half-marathon I've never used any of the gels/sports beans/shot blocks, although many people do. I use a mix of gatorade and water, about 50:50.

One of the secrets is to start hydrating/re-fueling early in your long run, and not wait until you feel wiped out. For runs under an hour, water is fine, and you can even wait til your run is over. But for longer, I recommend you start drinking/eating at about the 20-30 minute mark.

Personally, I look at the race I'm planning to do and see how far apart the water stops are - it's usually 1.5-2 miles apart. Then I start doing my long runs with a one minute walk break at the waterstop distances - that's when I take a drink of the water/gatorade mix. 3-4 big swallows and then right back to running with no more than a 60 second break works really well for me.

I've done 3 1/2 marathons this way. Other people I know use the sports beans, and/or shot blocks, but they also generally start refuelling before they hit the exhaustion point. I read somewhere it takes 15-20 minutes for the fuel to be absorbed enough to use on the run, so you need to start ahead.

So - experiment a bit and see what works for you. I've been told that shot blocks and gatorade do NOT mix well, so you might want to avoid that combo.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLEVELAND21 7/21/2010 9:10AM

    I know a few runners that marathon on nothing but a cup of coffee or something ridiculous, but i couldn't go long without my gels or my shot blocks. I don't know many that can.
I hit a wall at the 1:30 mark without them. I get sluggish and my legs slow right down. Check out your local running store and try a few things out. They all have their pros and cons. I used to just use e-load in my water, but now it feels like lead in my stomach. I like my shot blocks for convenience and taste but they are bulky when you have to carry a ton of them. I think gels are horrid but they are the best fuel source for me.
I would definitely recommend using something. Try out the different fuel sources and figure out what works best for you.

Report Inappropriate Comment

I'm back in the game, baby!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I've had a month of eating really poorly and not working out. It has made me feel really lethargic! I had a few medical issues to attend to, so I suppose it's not all my fault that I haven't worked out. But there is NO excuse for the fat and calories that I've been putting into my body! Seriously, I ate almost a whole Funfetti cake myself in just a few short days. (Why did I even make that thing anyway???) At any rate, I'm officially back in the game. I'm so excited to be running again! Even though my 5K time for Saturday is the slowest one I've ever logged, it felt so good just to be out there again. And I'm logging my food into SparkPeople again, watching my fat and calories. WOW, it just feels so good to be doing what I know my body wants me to do!! Lansing Half-Marathon in September, here I come!!! :o)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELLYGIRL1977 4/15/2010 12:38PM

    All that matters is that you are here...put those things behind you and look forward! I am happy for you that you are back on track! Congrats too on the 5k!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DRANKE2445 4/11/2010 2:10PM

    You go girl! I'm so proud of you for what you've been able to accomplish since last September. I know it hasn't always been easy but your dedication has been so encouraging to me. Love you much. Mom

Report Inappropriate Comment

Wet Feet, Night Running, and My First

Friday, January 15, 2010

So it's been getting warmer in Michigan and the snow has been melting into slushy junk. I went out for a jog yesterday with the intention of doing 3.5 miles. After 2.5 miles of having to jog around the slush and water puddles, I stopped running. I just stopped. I've never done that before - stopped knowing I wasn't going to continue. I sometimes walk 30 seconds or so and then continue my jog. But after 2.5 miles, I was done. The remaining 1 mile to get back to my apartment was a brisk, heart-pumping walk, mind you, but I was still a little upset at myself for just stopping. I suppose the main reason I stopped, other than the slush was making my feet pretty soggy, was it was getting dark out. I never jog at night, and I didn't mean to last night, but it got dark sooner than I expected. I normally have really bad depth-perception for some reason, but at night it's even worse. As it was getting darker, my eyes were playing tricks on me and it felt like I was falling forward into the sidewalk. I knew I wasn't, but that's what it looked like and that's what it felt like. So, officially, I've had my first "bad" run since I started running in September. That's not bad. And I know how to prevent it again - don't jog late and don't jog in the slush. That's a pretty simple solution, I'd say. OK, thanks for reading and SPARK ON!! :o)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPEEDWACER 2/2/2010 6:45PM

    I'm really dreading that first run in the rain. It sprinkled on me once the first week I started, but I haven't had to run in a full-on storm yet. It's been rainy-ish all week, so I know one day I'm going to have to suck it up and do it.

I dunno, 2.5 miles is better than none, right? I can't do 2.5 yet, so good for you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BREW99 2/2/2010 3:33PM

    I'd say you are doing pretty good if that is the first time since a few months ago! I have a bad run every month or so... haha Sounds like you need to take those wet shoes off and jump in a nice warm shower for a good job done! At least you finished what you set out to do that night! Kudos for getting out there!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TAIMOIRAI 1/15/2010 11:50AM

    I HATE running with wet feet. The few times I've done it I always want to quit. Part of the reason I never did was because I wanted to get home faster to take the stupid wet shoes off. :)

I'm glad you didn't fall, and that you've got your first bad run overwith.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Outdoor Running Advice??

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I am looking for some advice on outdoor running. I live in Michigan where it's been around 25 degrees during the day with a little wind. I don't have a gym membership or a treadmill, so the only chance I get to run is outdoors. What do you all wear to keep yourselves warm when you are running outdoors in the cold? I can't really afford a huge investment, but I don't want to stop running just because it's so cold outside. I have a few 5Ks scheduled soon, a 10K in May, and I really want to do a half-marathon in September. I feel like I'm losing ground by skipping my runs because of the cold. Thanks so much for any advice you can offer! :o)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNINGCRAZY1 1/11/2010 7:52PM

    It's been in the teens where I live, and I wear layers. I found a great pair of running tights on sale at target for 15.00. They're not as nice as the Under Armour Cold Gear tights, but they're affordable. I usually wear wind pants or yoga pants over my tights for warmth. I wear liner socks and regular socks together. I layer the shirts and top them with a fleece jacket. Fleece gloves and a fleece hat with ear covers top it off. Though, there are times when I wish I had a neck gaitor.

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I live in Texas so I normally deal with hot temp but this year we are unbelievablly cold. Tomorrow's low will be 16*!

I have read that layers are best. The bottom layer should be close to the skin and made of wicking material. The only thing worse than cold is wet and cold! Then add layers as needed. I found some dry wick running pants at a local running store for anout $15. I think they are technically tights since they are form fitting. I wear those with sweats over them. Then I wear a wick awat undershirt with a long sleave shirt over. Then I found a jacket at Dick's sporting good for about $20 on sale. It keeps me toasty warm. I also wear gloves even thought they say mittens are better. I wear a scarf, ear muffs, and a hat.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SAMMIE_GIRL 1/6/2010 1:01PM

    Typically I dress in layers. My core and my butt are the two parts of me that get cold in a hurry so I dress to protect them. With that said. Under Armor makes some good cold weather running tights (I usually wear a pair of pants over them). I will wear my sports bra, my sports bra shirt (I have no idea what the actual name is), a long sleeve running shirt, a short sleeve shirt (I donít care what it is made out of, when it it close to my skin I will not wear cotton when running), a jacket (easier to take off than a sweatshirt), depending on how cold it isÖ running tights with running pants over the top. I have a running hat that has headphones in it (that way I make sure I donít take my hat off mid-run!) I also have a hat that has a ponytail hole in it, it all depends on how cold it is.
check out
-0-0-0-0,00.html for more advice!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Looking Backward and Forward

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hi, fellow Sparkers!! This is my first official blog. I've never typed one because, quite frankly, I'm not sure who would want to read it. But I wanted to put figurative pen to paper in thinking about what has happened since September, when I joined SparkPeople, and my goals for the next year.

I joined SparkPeople in September because I wanted to lose 40 pounds. I wanted to lose this weight for a variety of reasons, but there were two main things I was focused on. First, I had no spare money for cute clothes to start off the new school year (I'm a teacher), but I had a TON of clothes that were too small for me that were totally cute. I figured that if I lost some weight, I could just go shopping in my closet for free! The second reason that I wanted to lose the 40 pounds was related to my self-esteem. I never really felt good about my body, my looks, myself when I was bigger. I knew that there was a sexy, strong, confident woman in there somewhere, but she wasn't out there for the world to see.

As of right now, four months after I started my mission to gain new clothes and confidence, I am very proud to say that I have lost 30 pounds. I can now fit into ALL of my clothes that were too small for me, with one exception. (Really, I don't know if that blue satin top EVER fit me, but it's really cute!!) I am a runner now. Who knew that I would ever say those words? I've completed 2 5Ks, with my Personal Best being 33:40. Not a great time, but not too shabby for someone who couldn't run a half mile four months ago. I've inspired my mom to start running, too, and we've motivated each other to maintain healthy lifestyles. When I get dressed in the morning, I actually feel GOOD about myself. I feel that I'm presenting more of an accurate representation of myself than I have since high school!!

I think that 2010 will be a fabulous year - I turn 30 in August!! I have also set some goals for 2010 that I want to commit to here and now:
1. Get to my goal weight. I have 10 lbs to make it there, and when I do, I'll be seeing the 120's for the first time since high school!!
2. Continue my running. I have several more 5Ks scheduled in the near future. I have my first 10K scheduled in the beginning of May; it's the same event that my mom will run her first 5K in!! The half marathon that I'm looking forward to is at the end of September. I think it's only fitting that my first HM will come during my 1 year anniversary month with SparkPeople.
3. Continue tracking my calories, fat, and exercise minutes with SparkPeople. It'll be even more important to do this once I meet my goal weight and start focusing on maintaining my weight and training for my HM. I know myself and how lazy and comfortable I get once I start to like how I look again. That's how I put weight back on!!
4. In general, I want to start doing more fun things that are active with the people who I love -- taking walks outside, bike rides up to town, tag with my nephew, 5Ks with my mom, kayaking while I'm visiting my parents' place in Caseville, roller blading with my coworker and her husband, and the like. I love the idea of fitting exercise into my social calender and want to focus more on that.

I suppose that's it for me. Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog. I hope that 2010 is as good for you as I know it will be for me. SPARK ON!! :o)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMMIE_GIRL 12/31/2009 11:15AM

    Congrats on the 30 lbs loss, that is wonderful! Sounds like you have a fun year planned for 2010! Keep us posted! :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
CONFUSEDBIRD 12/30/2009 4:26PM

    Sounds like you had an amazing 2009! One of my main goals was to fit into all my old clothes too. Now I am slowly getting rid of my old clothes and starting from scratch. It feels good to make a new start especially since we have changed our lives so much in a positive way. That's also so cool you inspired your mom. My mom dreads me calling and asking how spark is going LOL I agree with Klassie, you should write more often!

Comment edited on: 12/30/2009 4:32:18 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
KLASSIE 12/30/2009 10:41AM

    This is one of the best blogs I've read in a long time. Who told you that you have nothing to say that anyone would want to read. You have inspired me so much in what you have written today. Thank you; good luck and may God continue to bless your efforts.

Report Inappropriate Comment