Introduction

Hello, thank you for joining me along my journey of becoming a Runner! I've always been an active guy, played sports in high school and continued into adult recreation sports after high school. As I started my family and found a career, the activity level slowly decreased. Well my Fiance had enough of our lazy ways and started on the Weight Watchers program and completely overhauled our daily meals. Step 2 was getting more active, so we decided to JOG our annual Juvenile Diabetes charity walk and actually enjoyed the activity. The month following the charity walk, we signed up for our first official 5K and had an absolute blast. From that point forward I have officially been BIT by the running bug and this is my journey to becoming a RUNNER!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lessons Learned Part 1

Hey Everyone!!

I know it’s crazy right, back to back blog posts.  Trust me I can’t believe it either lol.


This is the first post in a series dedicated to those areas in my training that I’ve had to work through some trial and error to find out what works best for me.  Many of us know that we need to go through the trial and error process with certain items; which food can I eat before a run?  Do gels mess with my stomach? Etc.  As I worked with my coach and started planning for the 50k, I had to take a lot of time to work through some of these aspects and a bunch more that I never thought about.  Honestly, a lot of this was a first for me because truthfully, I was too lazy to properly investigate all the options.  So hopefully this helps someone out there because I know it was pretty eye opening when I actually went through the process.

Today’s Topic – Fueling!!

Background – When I first started running, I was literally putting my workout clothes on and running out the front door.  Eventually I purchased a waist belt for hydration but water was the only thing I was taking in during my runs.  As I trained more and moved up in distance, I started to run with gels as my primary source of calorie intake.  As long as I’ve been following blogs, I’m fully aware that I’m blessed because I have a pretty strong stomach so I can slam down some gels and it doesn’t faze me at all.  But I also had two disastrous marathons and a tough half marathon trail run using this plan, coincidence?



Frequency – When it comes to the gels, at the marathon distance and now training for the 50K distance, I feel comfortable taking a gel about every 30 minutes to keep my calories up and to also give me a boost of energy throughout my run.  I never really felt like I was getting hungry and never really felt like I was over consuming calories.  To this point I have never adjusted that time frame because it seems to work out pretty well and to he honest, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right…lol!

Negatives – Speaking with my coach, I had the right mindset trying to keep calories in my body throughout a long run.  Problem is that I was taking in the wrong types of calories.  The gels offer general calories to keep your body fueled, a good amount of sugar/caffeine to give you a boost of energy, but really lack the electrolytes that I needed during these runs.  During my long training runs, my two marathons, and the half marathon trail race, I ran into very similar symptoms related to this: cramping and salt deposit on my arms and face.  (Side note, I firmly believe that lack of training leads to cramping but lack of electrolytes played a huge role in my terrible performance at these races).

Trial and Error – First thing my coach told me is that I would need to look into different calories for the ultra.  He had three suggestions: 1) endurance fuel which is powdered calories you put in your water, 2) solid foods similar to what would be provided at the aid stations during the race, and 3) electrolyte powder.

1)      Endurance Fuel - My coach was able to get me some samples of Tailwind to try during my long runs and to see how they work for me.  You take one of these tailwind packets and mix it with about 24 oz of water and drink throughout your run.  One of these packets provides about 200 calories which is to be taken throughout an hour of running.  The positive is that the Tailwind didn’t mess with my stomach and I actually felt like the calories were keeping me well fueled throughout my run.  The first negative that I had was the process of intake.  I’m a schedule person, give me something to take every 15 or 30 minutes and I can knock that out like clockwork.  Give me something I have to monitor throughout a period of time, well that gets annoying to me.  The second negative is that I naturally discard water throughout my runs.  If I take a drink of water there is a certain portion that I end up spitting out, can’t explain why.  So the thought that I HAD to keep the Tailwind and couldn’t spit any out got annoying real quick.  So the powdered calories were not high on my list.



2)      Solid Foods - This is where my good old PB&J sandwiches come into play.  A basic PB&J sandwich is about 175 calories.  I like to take the sandwich and cut it into quarter sections then during my run I consume a quarter every 15 minutes.  Essentially I’m right around the 200 calories per hour that is recommended with the powdered fuel.  Pretty east to see that this is my preferred method of calorie intake.  It’s on a schedule like I prefer and who the heck doesn’t like PB&J LOL.


3)      Electrolyte Powder - To assist with the solid food intake, my coach suggested electrolyte powder.  This also fits in perfect with my preference for schedules during my run.  I ended up purchasing BASE Performance electrolyte salt.  It comes in a round container and you get smaller salt vials to be used during your runs.  The suggested consumption is to lick your thumb, place your thumb over the vial top, turn the bottle over so the salt sticks to your thumb, then consume the powder that’s on your thumb.  Schedules vary but I’m doing this after every mile because it gets a little hot here in AZ.  First trial run was this past weekend and man oh man does this make a difference.  Similar to the other fuels, no stomach issues with the electrolyte salt.  The biggest take away was that I didn’t have salt deposit all over my arms and face after my run.  This is a game changer right here!!!


Race Plan – I think there are a few items I need to iron out but for the most part this is what the plan is for the 50K.  I’ll be wearing my UD Hardrocker vest with two Nathan hydration flasks in the front pockets.  I am preparing PB&J sandwiches to consume quarter sections every 15 minutes, I will have Clif Gel Shots to be taken every 30 minutes, and I will have my electrolyte salt to be taken after every mile.

You can see, there is a ton of planning that goes into racing for roughly 5 or 6 hours.  I’m pretty sure my two marathons were water, gels every 30 minutes, and let’s see what happens LOL.

I’m always open to adjusting and trying new options so let me know if you have any tips or tricks that have worked out for you.  At this point my plan is pretty locked in as we near the race but I doubt this will be my last ultra marathon lol.

Where do you get your race tips and tricks, internet? Friends? Blogs?

Are you a trial and error person or do you find what works and stick with that

12 comments:

  1. You sound so much more prepared! I have not tried BASE - I get those salt deposits I may need to try especially when it gets hot again. I do use Nuun every run, I can not take plain water, it seems to increase my nausea feeling. I am still trying to figure out how much and how to carry it for my race. I have not tried Tailwind, but i have a few bloggers friends that swear by it! I see success in your near future!!

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    1. I think all the electrolyte/salt products are about the same. Just need them to do their job lol.

      Yeah a lot of runners swear by the endurance powders. I'm sure I'll make the jump some day. Just not now lol.

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  2. I am like you - lucky. I do not have a fussy stomach so I've been able to get through all my long runs and marathons on just water, a little Gatorade, and Clif Shot Bloks every 5ish miles. But I've also never run an ultra, so there's that :-)

    One thing to remember is that good fueling and hydration has to start BEFORE your race! I spend the 3 days before a marathon drinking water like it's my job, and I make sure I'm carbin' it up all week long and eating healthy the minute taper starts. If you're waiting until the race or even the day before the race to start fueling/hydrating it up, you're too late.

    Glad you are starting to get better at fueling, I bet it will really help your race performance!

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    1. I say try an ultra, what the hell lol.

      Agree that hydration starts way before. I'm planning a gallon a day the week leading up to the race. Want to be sure I'm well hydrated.

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  3. so do you carry a PBJ with you? I know in ultras they often have them at aid stations. So smart to be practicing this all along. THis is a real weak area for me.

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    1. Yeah I carry them with me. Based on trial and error I'm pretty finicky about the bread. So I'll do the same race day but if things go bad I'm sure I'll take whatever i can get lol.

      Did I miss something or did you stop posting??

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  4. Posts like this always make me think I am seriously under-fueling. My last long run I took in 160 calories (Honey stinger waffle) at the halfway point of my 2.5 hour run. And some water, of course, but that was it. I should probably get a bit more serious with the fueling part of running if I want to do this ultra.

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    1. There are other factors, terrain, temps, etc. Cold days on flat terrain I can take in less calories. Right now I'm planning on needing a lot of calories so I'm testing that through training. Just trial and error. You do the same and you'll be fine.

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  5. Hey there! sounds like you are getting some great info and tips and working out all the bugs! Good job! I was going to say exactly what Hanna said....so just reread her comment! :)) always love your enthusiasm! hope the week ahead is a good one for you!

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    1. Def working out the bugs. Hope to have it all dialed in these next two weeks then just enjoy the taper.

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  6. You are so lucky to be training under a knowledgeable coach for your first ultra! My first marathon was a disaster and I know it's cuz I had no idea what the heck was going on. :P It IS a learning experience for SURE, and I know you're going to be well trained and rock your race.

    I was going to ask you what vest you use because after chatting with my husband I think it is time that I invest in one, but it sounds like the UD Hardrocker.

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    1. You have no idea how much I appreciate all he has done. My two marathons were disasters all because my ego was too big. I feel so much more prepared now than I ever have for a race.

      You are correct. I am using the UD Hardrocker. Love that pack. I prefer the hybrid packs over the true race packs and the through hiking packs. Not as minimal as the racing packs, but isn't huge like the hiking packs. Let me know which one he is looking at, I checked them all out.

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