So I had my last long (over 20 miles) training run this past weekend and it didn’t go exactly to plan. I got my good night’s sleep, woke up early, had a good breakfast, and got out early enough that the heat wasn’t an issue. All the pre-planning went well, but the run fell apart around mile 16. My mid section was cramping real hard and I struggled for another few miles, but finally called it quits at 18.5. I set out to do 23 so running only 18.5 is disappointing.
However, in the Chi Running book they say that you can never have a “bad run”. Any time something doesn’t work out, you have the opportunity to learn from it. And that, of course, is a good thing. So this is what I’ve figured out. Hydration is key. I though for a while that the GU energy gels I take on long runs might have been causing my cramps. I normally take them every 45 minutes (every 5 miles or so) as directed. So on Sunday I took fewer of them, only 1 actually at mile 10. It’s not the GU. Its the Gatorade.
I run with a CamelBak hydration pack and fill it with Gatorade (tried both regular and G2) and ice. Once I’m over 15 or so miles I just cant drink it any more. All I want is water. I was so thirsty I even stuck my head in a broken sprinkler at mile 16! Now I know you need a sports drink on longer runs to replenish electrolytes and sodium, but I think a mix is the key. The general rule in water under 10 miles then Gatorade after 10 miles. However my CamelBak can only hold one drink. The solution? I ordered a FuelBelt.
The multiple compartments on the fuel belt will allow me to carry both water and Gatorade, so that I am not drinking Gatorade for 4 straight hours. I basically NEVER drink anything but water (no soda, coffee, juices, etc…) and my stomach just isn’t used to all that sugar. So I am hoping this will solve the problem but I will let you know. Its all part of the learning process!
Of course all of this means nothing on marathon day because they have drink stations so I will have my choice of water or Gatorade at every stop And won’t have to lug all this liquid around like a camel. Man, I wish I had drink stations on my training runs!
Out the door now for a 6 miler!