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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!!
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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!

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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: http://running.about.com/od/nutriti
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. :)

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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.

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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.


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