Gels, water, and cobwebs

I had another solid week of marathon preparation. On Sunday, Tyler and I had our first long run with gels and water bottles. During marathon training, especially a debut, it is important to practice with fluids and gels (aka “energy”) so that your body a) learns to stomach the extra calories during the duration of a marathon and b) becomes comfortable with taking energy while in motion and especially at race pace. And, ZAP is lucky enough to be a PowerBar Team Elite member so we have plenty of water bottles, gels, and other recovery products at our disposal. Personally, I enjoy the tangerine, green apple, and strawberry banana flavored gels.

For our first long run with fluids we took 8-10 ounces of water and a gel every 40 minutes of the run. The first two were fairly easy but by the end of the run we were both not looking forward to the last bottle and gel. In addition, Pete had us do 1 minute surges every 8 minutes of the entire 2 hour and 5 minute long run. Initially, the surges were little more than a minor pace change, but as the run wore on the surges, and overall pace, got faster. And with 5 minutes to go in the run, we took our water and gel while running around 5 minutes per mile on the lake at Moses Cone National Park. And it was tough! Getting down the fluids while running 6:30 pace was fairly easy but the faster miles make it much more challenging. Overall, my stomach was pretty good at digesting the gel and water but I certainly will have to work on making sure I  force myself to drink enough water during my marathon even if I don’t want to.

On Thursday, Tyler and I made our way to Todd Railroad Grade Road. Todd, NC is about 35-40 minutes away from ZAP and offers 10 miles of flat, paved road perfect for longer tempos and progression runs. Pete had us slated to do a moderate introductory 10 to 11 mile progression run starting at 5:50 per mile and slowly working the pace down to 5:05 or a touch faster. And similar to Sunday, we were going to practice drinking water every 3 or so miles during the workout. With both Pete and Ryan out of town, ZAP teammate George Alex stepped in as guest coach for the morning.

I decided about 8 miles in that I would go 10 for the day while Tyler continued on and did 11. After starting a bit faster than prescribed, we settled in nicely and had a solid session. Here are my splits plus or minus a second or two because of rounding: 5:33, 5:36, 5:33, 5:26, 5:20, 5:23, 5:17: 5:19, 5:13, 5:05 for a total time of 53:49. I felt a little rusty but that is to be expected at this point in the training cycle.

Also Pete, Ryan, Tyler, and I all thought documenting our workouts during this build up would be neat, so in addition to handing us water bottles and reading out our splits, George was also filming the workout. Check it out the video below! There will be more to come!

Here is my last week of training (7/27-8/2):

Sunday: AM: 19 miles (1 min surges every 8 min for entire run)  PM: walk

Monday: AM: 9 miles  PM: 8 miles

Tuesday: AM: 12 miles  PM: 5.5 miles

Wednesday: AM: 10.5 miles (8×20 seconds post run)

Thursday: AM: 16 miles (Todd 10 mile progression run 53:49)

Friday: AM: 12 miles  PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 11 miles

Total: 108 miles, 10 runs

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