Jenn’s Long Run Part I: Preparation

Tonight’s training run: 20 miles.
TWENTY. MILES.
Okay. I have the option of doing eighteen if it’s just not clicking for me. But I really want that twenty. If I can do it in four hours, I’ll be happy. Then I’ll have my longest run under my belt and I can being tapering for the Marine Corps Marathon.
I’ll admit: I’m a little nervous. I’ve done twenty miles twice in the past but that was about a year ago and for some reason rather than improve I have actually gotten SLOWER over the past months. Sigh. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? And I have SO MUCH treadmill will. (Yeah, I’m doing it on the treadmill. I have my reasons.)
I have prepped as best I can. In my arsenal:
KT TAPE. My knee has been fine for awhile but I’m going to tape it anyway. And my hip has been bugging me a little lately, so I’m going to try taping that too. Hopefully that’s just a product of being way overdue for new shoes and will go away.
Speaking of which…
NEW SNEAKERS. Look at them. LOOK AT THEM. How pretty are my new Brooks Ravenna 5s?! I’ve been using Ravennas for about a year and it’s been working really well for me. Hopefully that keeps happening.
CLOTHES. I’m going to stop by Marshall’s later today and see if I can’t find some running pants or even a shirt with more pockets; my favorite running capris have none and I have a shirt with only one. Regardless, I will be using the clothes I intend to run in on the day – and Vaselining up ANY area that could potentially chafe under the lengthy friction conditions.

HYDRATION. In addition to my trusty 32 oz squeeze water bottle, I have a bottle of VitaCoco Sport, which is like what Gatorade would be if it got all its electrolytes from coconut water. 
FUEL. Clif ShotBloks are my go-to. I have two packages to run through as needed.
MUSIC. In addition to my regular staples like Flogging Molly and Jukebox the Ghost, I’ve got TONS of Disney music to keep me going. Soundtracks for Wishes and IllumiNations and Festival of the Lion King help me pretend I’m living it up at Walt Disney World and not, y’know, running in a basement gym.
THE PROMISE OF LATER REWARDS. I will take a glorious shower. Then my roommate wants to go to the bar where we know the staff and they give us free beer. We will also eat fish tacos. Recovery FTW.
That’s my tool kit – am I missing anything? How do you prep for a long run? Are you gonna wish me luck or what?
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Discusses Mid-Run Fueling

I dunno, guys. I must be doing it wrong.

Earlier we talked about pre- and post-run fueling, and that’s very important. But it seems like there’s a whole lot of buzz surrounding the gels and beans and shots and such that provide energy during a run. Many reported that they found substantial improvement in their runs when they consumed something during, and as a fledgling runner I thought: clearly I need some energy gels!

After Moon and I had somewhat mixed results with Energy Bits, I was determined to figure out what WOULD work. I went straight to the store and bought several types of fuel: Honey Stinger organic chews, Clif Shots, Clif Shot Bloks, and, as my control group, some Swedish fish. I have tried them all multiple times and I can say now, with confidence, what makes a definitive difference in my performance.

None of them.

Oh, sure, I had some good runs using the fuels. But I had just as many lackluster runs. I never felt any energy surges, and at no point can I report feeling AWESOME I COULD RUN FOREVER which, puzzlingly to me, many people seem to. (Is it the caffeine? I can drink a cup of coffee and go right to sleep. I KNEW that would come back to bite me!)

Now, I will note one advantage. I mentioned before that occasionally, if I’ve pounded particularly hard or long, I feel a little sick after a run, and need to sit down and eat something immediately. I did find that, if I had eat something during the run, I was far less likely to feel sick afterward. For this purpose, there was a winner – Clif Shot Bloks, which were reasonably tasty, fairly easy to get down, and did tend to make me feel a little more together. If any one fuel worked for me, it would be that one. But even with the Bloks I never really felt more capable, and where I succeeded it seemed more due to mental endurance than added physical endurance.

What I have decided is that I will consume Bloks under the following circumstances:

  1. For races, where it’s best to be able to pound hard AND long without worry.
  2. If I plan to run more than 14 miles, which seems to be around where I start needing the extra oomph.

Other than that, the jury’s still out. I know there are LOTS of other options out there, but most of them require special trips or ordering online, and the ones I tried were readily available in the store. I suppose I could try one of those sample box subscriptions like Kona Kase, but I’m not at all sure I want to make that financial commitment.

Hmmm… Would anyone like some Swedish fish?

Anyone out there have a similar problem? Have you found your perfect mid-run fuel?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!