I couldn’t wait to get home and check off week 7 after completing Saturday’s long run. It wasn’t because I had a bad week. In fact, I had some great runs this week. In any case, I felt like I worked hard and earned that check mark! It’s the little things in life that count, right?
This week I ran 41.44 miles. These were the workouts:
Monday – 6 miles w hill repeats
Tuesday – cycle 45 mins.
Wednesday – 8 miles w 3 miles of tempo
Thursday – 5 miles
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 22.4 miles
Sunday – rest day
In addition to these workouts, I did 3 days of core and upper body exercises.
On Saturday, I went to a wonderful training run in Auburn State Recreation Area in the town of Cool. There were 4 different courses to choose from and I chose the long one, ~23 miles. This was a training run for the Way too Cool 50k race held in March.
Although I am not doing this 50k, I was grateful for the opportunity to preview the beautiful and challenging course. Most of the course is on single track trails. There were quite a few areas where we were able to keep a good pace. But, there were also quite a few hills. There was one hill in particular that kicked my butt. It was difficult just to walk up Goat Hill. I don’t know how the elite runners run up it.
The course was well marked and we didn’t have any trouble staying on course. There was one time that I wanted to continue on a flat section instead of climbing a hill, but that was just wishful thinking on my part.
I’m still learning a lot about these long runs. I do know that I have to start off a lot slower than my body feels like running. If I start off too fast, I will “blow up” towards the end. Looking at my pace for the first 5 miles, we did a good job keeping a conservative and consistent pace. We were able to keep the pace at a relaxed one and talk the whole way which makes these long runs much more fun.
Based on my pace alone, I consider this run a success. With the exception of a few miles including big climbs, it wasn’t until mile 21 that my pace started to fade. I finished the 23 mile course and felt pretty good! This was the longest that I have run on the trails and every long run I am feeling stronger. In addition to being the longest run, it was also the hilliest run I have ever gone on.
My fueling plan was also a success in my opinion. Here is what worked for me:
I’m working on eating the least amount of calories while out on the trail. I carried more than I needed (I wouldn’t want to bonk), but ended up eating almost a whole peanut butter and honey sandwich (490 calories) and 1 package of Stinger chews (160 calories). The combination of my peanut butter sandwich with the sweet chews was perfect. And, those chews tasted like candy, something I could probably eat any time! In the almost 4 hours of running, I ate 560 calories which is ~140 per hour.
I think it was just enough calories, maybe a little too much if anything. On a positive note, I know that I ate fewer calories than on the previous long run. I’ll try just a few less on the next run and see if I can’t get my body to use some of my stored fat for energy.
I also made sure I used electrolytes (Salt Stick Caps). Perhaps this whole time I’ve thought that I’ve needed more calories when I’ve actually needed more electrolytes.
I took 1 capsule each hour ~200mg of sodium (along with some vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium) each hour. I think this made all the difference in the world. The previous long run I didn’t use enough and I felt it. This time, I didn’t feel depleted.
I carried 40 ounces of water in my hydration pack. I knew that there would be water on the course at some point. Unfortunately, I didn’t know at where it was going to be ahead of time. I should have known it would be strategically placed half way through the course. I refilled my pack only having a few ounces left. However, I finished the run with plenty of water left. I find that interesting because the second half of the run was warmer and I think there was more climbing, too. I would have guessed that I needed more water in the second half of the run.
Once we finished, I grabbed a coke (something I rarely drink, but boy did it hit the spot!) and picked up a few post run snacks.
Thank you to all the volunteers and to James Barstad who put on this event. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to run this well marked course with an aid station!
My only regret is that I didn’t have a camera with me to take some pictures of the course. But, I’ll be going back, hopefully soon!