Congratulations! I am also in my last week before my first half, and I also have been running for about a year and a half. :)
Although I've run as far as 10 miles without eating anything during the run, I almost always have a Gu at the 8-mile mark on my long runs. I'm fairly confident I could get through the full 13.1 miles without it, but it does give me a burst of energy that's helpful late into a run of that length. I've tried Honey Stinger Chews, but I really didn't like having to chew while I ran, so I stick with Gu (or Clif Shots, which are basically the same thing).
Just to add my two cents--but I think that you may want to do a little more running next week--while tapering is important--too much can lead you feeling sluggish and heavy legged--I am tapering for my marathon on the 27th and while my mileage does drop, it does not do so significantly--the reason--your body is used to running--it likes routine, therefore running on the days you normally run, just cut back on the mileage--so if you normally run 3 miles run 2--just to keep your legs from getting heavy.
As far as fueling--some people cannot handle too much sugar at one time, also remember too that some foods take longer to digest which can lead to greater GI distress--the reason, your blood will be shunted to the working muscles therefore causing your digestive system to slow down--the longer the food sits in the gut the bigger the GI issues (for some people)--also waiting too long to refuel--if you find you need it (some people need to refuel on a half--others, like me, will only take the Gatorade/Powerade offered on the course) can lead to issues...
My favorite fuel by far is Honey Stinger chews - I personally prefer the pink lemonade flavor. They are soft enough to be easy to chew, and the right size to chew while running. I found other products to be too hard to chew, or too large. The Honey Stingers have been easy on my stomach, as well. The trick with fueling is to do it before you start feeling like you are going to bonk. For a half, I'll do about 100 cals each around 3, 6 and 9 miles, or 150 cals at about 4 and 8 miles, depending on the course and my finish time (if there's a hill climb close to where I'd planned to fuel, I'll eat the gels while walking the hill, and end up making up the time pretty easily).
I'm sure you'll finish and have a good experience, just try to relax and enjoy what you're accomplishing. Good luck!
Voluntary Discomfort is the secret cornerstone of strength. We build our whole lives around increasing comfort and avoiding discomfort, and yet by doing so we are drinking a can of Weakness Tonic with every morning’s breakfast. ~Mr. Money Mustache 5K PR: 23:40 10K PR: 48:57 HM PR: 1:59:37 30K: 2:57:44
I totally agree on the "don't think to much". I am working to just worry about completing and not over thinking. Was feeling a lot of anxiety last weekend and had a bad training run. This is a pretty low pressure half marathon I am running, you can even register as a walker. Since it is my first, i just want to finish more than anything. ... saying that is easy though, hard to keep mind under control. :D
I have tried the Clif Cubes over the pas few weekend runs, and have had mixed results. Some cramping, but overall not bad. I like the raisin idea, as we have a lot of those around (small kids in house) and I munch on those periodically and never have issues.
Enjoy your taper week. It sounds like it will be helpful to you both mentally and physically. Over 60-90 min you might want to try a carbohydrate gel to help you with energy demands. Being newer to running these distances your body may not be acclimated to storing that many carbs. If so I'd do it on your long run to try it out, not on race day.
Make sure you are eating within 30 minutes (or sooner) of when you finish to help recover as well.
No special dietary changes I'd recommend during the last week. Sounds like if you focus on rest and enjoying things outside of running this week, you'll be fine.
I am about a year and a half into running. Have been doing 5k, 10k and did a 14k a month ago. So far so good. No injuries and keeping just under a 10min/mile pace on average in the longer runs. After doing 14k I decided to just push a head for the half marathon since I was already in the training pattern for it. So I signed up for the Cincinnati Half Marathon. I started off excited when I signed up a month ago, now feeling a bit burned out...and just looking for completion. :D
Any suggestions for this final week? Eating for long runs is my challenge now. Still very inexperienced as a runner over the 90 min mark, and finding 2+hrs is really taxing. But, I plug along. I have a 12 mile run scheduled for tomorrow, my last LONG training run. Then next week is just a few small runs (4m Tues, 2m Wed) before race day on Oct 19th.
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