Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Long Run: Collecting Information for Race Day

I am less than a month away from the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler.  While my training is going well and I will be well-prepared for the actual running part, I realized it was time to get serious about all of the details that I need to figure out to help ensure the race goes smoothly.  Today I ran 9.11 miles (!!!) and I was able to start to sort out some of the racing details.

Numb Feet
Last week I blogged about the problems I was having with my feet going numb after a few miles.  I got lots of good suggestions from folks, including hickies and superfeet, and even deliberately wiggling my toes intermittently.  I am relieved to be able to report that the lock laces I got last week seem to have done the trick.  My feet did not go numb at all during today's long run.  The lock laces are elastic and they are easy to adjust mid-run for an even looser fit (which I do).  And not having to tie my shoes at all is an awesome bonus!

Fueling during the Race
I've settled on gu/gel as the right medium for my refueling, along with water from either a water stop or the bottles on my Nathan hydration belt.  But there are lots of flavors and brands out there and I haven't been too focused on figuring out what I really like and what sits well in my stomach.  I'm paying more attention and collecting some data points:
  • Roctane Endurance Gel in Chocolate Raspberry: I had this today at mile 4.  It tasted good, not overly sweet, and had a boost of caffeine to boot.  A leading contender for race day.
  • Peanut Butter GU: I had this during one of my mid-week training runs.  It didn't sit well in my stomach or taste as good as I expected.  Not going back to that one.  Other GUs that aren't my favorite are Chocolate Outrage (too much like chocolate frosting, which isn't a great thing when you are running) and Salted Caramel (sounds better in theory than it tastes in reality).
  • Clif Shot Gel: I've had a few of these over the past weeks but didn't pay enough attention to what I liked.  I recall them sitting well and tasting fairly good.  I may try some out this upcoming week to collect more data.
To Compress or not to Compress
I've been wearing compression socks while I run for the last few months.  The data on compression is unclear.  I definitely believe they help with my recovery, but I'm not sure if they help or hinder my runs.  For the first few miles (before my feet have swollen), they tend to feel a little tight on my calves.  After that, they feel great and supportive.  I was a little nervous to go on a long run without them, but I figured I needed to test it out so I would know what works best on race day.  I found that running without compression socks was fine.  My calves did not feel weak towards the end of my run like I was worried they might. 

Today I got some unexpected practice in - making sure your spectators know where to find you!  I sent my Garmin LiveTrack link to my husband as I typically do when I run.  Imagine my surprise and utter delight when I found Rick and Freddy on the side of the trail at mile 2, cheering me on my training run!

I wrapped up my 9.11 miles with a lot of good data points and some nice endorphins to carry me through the day.  I am proud to report that once again, I came in last and felt pretty darn good about it!

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