I am posting about a recent training run of mine on Sat, Sept 5th.
My original goal was to run 31 miles; however, I was only able to complete 27 miles of this run. The run was from Sunriver to Elk Lake (Oregon) but as I mentioned, I stopped short at the 27 mile mark, which was still a personal best for me, but not quite the 31 miles I set out for. I completed the 27 miles in 05:04:07 with an 11:15 per mile pace. The pace is actually not far off of my target pace of 11 minutes per mile.
Well, I’m not making excuses for cutting the run short but that’s what a training run is for, to train and see how things go, and let me tell you one thing about this run that was significant. It was HOT. It was very hot that day. I got a later start than I had planned, I started running at 8:30 am and ran until about 1:30 pm. When I stopped running at 27 miles it had reached 90 degrees. It was one of my most difficult runs yet. So, as for training, I feel the run was important and though short of my original goal, it was a success for me and I was able to gain some insight and info about this run that is helpful.
I am an intermediate runner but still a novice runner in many ways. I am still learning a lot about running and distance endurance. One thing I have considered and will note is that on the day of my big run it will be about 30 degrees cooler than it was on this day. That kind of temperature difference is significant when running and makes a big difference physiologically. So, I have some relief knowing it will be much cooler on Oct. 4th when I attempt my 50 mile run. Yet I know it is still going to be my biggest running challenge yet and this kind of distance steps me forward somewhat into the unknown.
Training, training, training. What am I learning and what did I take away from this run? Well, one thing that I am working on and need to improve is my intake or balance of water, electrolytes/minerals, and calorie intake (food). This has proven to be a challenge to me as I am learning as I go with these things. I have researched and obtained good information, but sorting out all the details in reality has been a challenge.
I have tried a number of sports products that are designed to maintain certain electrolyte levels in the body while running. I have learned that it is important to keep these electrolyte levels in balance as it is key for successful training and optimal performance. For me, this has been easier said than done. There are numerous products out there and it has taken some effort as well as trial and error figuring what works best for me, not just with my electrolyte levels but with hydration and calorie intake which all needs to be balanced properly for best performance and to prevent nausea when reaching higher levels of endurance.
I believe I have narrowed things down to several products that work for me. There is a product I have recently tried that seems to work well for me and is easy on the stomach. It is a Sport Hydration drink mix by a company called Scratch Labs. I found this product about a month ago and have tried it on several runs. I believe I can feel a noticeable difference with my performance. Of course, I did not have this particular product on the day of the 31 mile run, go figure. So used another product that I had recently tried, but I don’t think it works well for me. I will make sure for the day of the big run, I have it figured out to the best of my ability and am prepared with the specific things I need.
As for this run, for me it was a successful training run because I felt that I pushed myself harder than ever, particularly for that distance and in the hot temperatures. The last 10 miles I would say the temps were between 85 and 90 degrees so it was a challenge for sure. I had felt nauseous for some time and threw up once but kept running. I hadn’t eaten much since about mile 15. I wear a hydro-pack so I keep some water and food for calorie intake with me. Usually I keep some sport energy beans and candy such as gummie bears. On this particular run I had a friend driving and meeting me at certain points. I had packed an ice chest with extra water, Gatorade and some food items.
My friend Logan met me first about mile 15 where I refreshed with cold liquids (after 15 miles the warm water in my Hydro-pack is not so refreshing). At that time I had some carbs and I grabbed a peach to go. That was pretty much the last time I ate. I had a few gummies at some point several miles later but really couldn’t stomach anymore food for the rest of the run. I kept taking in liquids but this would make me nauseous and as I mentioned, I did throw up at one point. I kept going though, and for the last 10 miles or so I did not intake any calories except what was in the fluids I was drinking.
It was tough run for me. At the end of the day I think the biggest challenge was the heat. The heat took its toll. The late start was unavoidable in this case, but leaving 2 hours later in the day did make some difference with the temps I was running in. Of course a number of other things factored into my performance. As I mentioned, I have been learning what works best for me to stay hydrated and keep my energy levels optimal and as a result of this run I believe I have a much better idea what to do and what products I will use or not use. I know more specifically what my approach will be and I have the next several weeks to work on things.
Another thing this run reminds me is of the challenge ahead of me, a 50 mile run is no slight task and I am approaching it humbly knowing that I need to keep training, stay focused on my goal and be encouraged. I will do my best to formulate the best strategy to help my performance and put each step forward with my sights on completing this run.