Dear Beginner runners,
I hope you all enjoyed your break and ‘recovery week’. We are now 5 weeks away from the race! We have 3 more long runs – this week’s run for 1 hour 50 minutes, then a 2 hour run to Canary Wharf, and a 2 hour 10 minute run to Kew on March 20th which will be to Kew. Please clear your schedules for these runs – the ones to Canary and Kew will take up a large part of the morning because of the destinations. Please let me know if for some reason you are unable to run on one of these days – it is essential that you try to run with the group for these long runs – the routes are not so easy to figure out on your own as they are either on the canal, or on a dirt track along the river (as in the Kew run) and you need to know which exits to take off the canal/river path.
This week we have a run which will be part canal, part street and part park running, plus a hill! This is a good route to take before we do the Canary Wharf next week which is almost all canal running. Once again, do not take any notice of the mileage on the map – depending on where in the pack you are running, the coaches will be making adjustments to the route towards the end.
Now a bit about gels. There has been all sorts of information, and opinions about gels, so I have decided to copy and paste what Paula wrote this time last year to the beginner runners then. She is the expert on running, and it is best to take the read the information in her words. Please take the time to read this carefully.
You are all incredibly bright women and many of you are doing a bunch of research/reading/studying about running (which is fabulous). Announcing to your friends that you’re running a half-marathon usually results in an onslaught of advice. It’s kind of like having a baby. The unsolicited advice just pours in. So, it’s highly likely that you are getting information that conflicts with my advice/guidance/suggestions. The problem with that is their advice is usually valid but doesn’t always apply to beginner running (or our type of beginner running). Competitive/elite runners have an entirely different fuel requirement than we do. Runners completing races at high intensities fuel differently. Uninformed racers fuel differently than we do. There are beginner groups who’s goal is to do a race in a fast time so they fuel differently. Our group/program is designed to complete a half-marathon (with time being very secondary). So, I think this is how we should proceed…. I’ll give my recommendation and everyone can decide whether they want to take that advice or not. I promise I won’t be offended if you disagree.
What type of fuel?
I recommend gels. Period. There are issues/problems/complications with all other types of fuel when considering what our group is trying to achieve. Again, this would be different if we were not beginner runners who’s aim it is to finish a half-marathon. If you chose to use a different fuel source, I recommend taking in an equivalent amount of carbs at the same time that everyone else is doing their gel. For example, if you are going to use shot-blocks or sport-beans, you need to take in the equivalent of a gel within a few minutes (not just eating a shot-block every now and then). The body responds differently to periodic fuel injections (snacking on sport-beans) than a one-off significant fuel injection (ie., a gel). For what we are trying to achieve, a one-off injection has less of a chance of disturbing the body’s fuel sourcing system. We want the body to fuel primarily with fat for this half-marathon. Once you have one half-marathon under your belt, then you can decide to push the pace (or distance) and you will have different fuel requirements. Remember to drink 50-100ml of water after doing most gels. There are a few gels that don’t require water. The downsides of those types of gels is that they are bulkier and I’ve seen quite a few women throw them up (which is kind of unpleasant but more importantly, you lose the carbs you just took in).
When to fuel?
For our three remaining long runs and the race, I recommend doing a gel between 70-80 minutes (of running time). I’m sure you’ve noticed that some runners are needing a gel earlier and some later. This window will give everyone fuel before you reach meltdown! On race-day, I will recommend that everyone do a second gel at 1:55-2:10. It is a really bad idea to do gels/sport-beans/shot-blocks before the race or before 70 minutes in the race. It is also a bad idea to do gels closer together than 35 minutes (again, these guidelines are for us as beginner runners). These guidelines will keep us safe and best prepared for the distance.
Please let any of your coaches know if you have any questions/concerns.
See you on Thursday!
Beginner Note 23 February 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014