Before spending a ton of time training with the Hansons plan, I wanted to see if I could have a hope of surviving it.
I am trying the advanced plan..which peaks at 60miles per week or so (you can do more). The scary part is that there is some fast running to do (of course) along with the easy miles..
I didn't want to start the program and then have it wipe me out halfway through..that would throw a monkey wrench into my plans for Chicago: So for the last 8 weeks, I've built up my mileage by running 6 days per week (a first!) and also keeping the paces slow. Finally this last week I tossed in some speedwork to see if I could do a 60 mile week with that thrown in too...
Notice I've added a count of the number of runs done in each week...I did 7 last week: I didn't have time to do a full run in the morning so I double-trained....all slow paces so ok.
So far so good...no injuries lurking at all (knock wood). I have discovered some things I need to work on though: my lower back muscles tense up too much during all this running so I've been doing 'hang stretches' and that has helped a lot. I also found the muscles on the inside of my thighs were tightening up and so some foam rollering of the them was in order.
I did a bunch of my easy running with no GU (I don't eat breakfast either) Sometimes I would have one gu just to get me going if I felt really ravenous. I did semi-bonk a couple of times doing this....and when I detected that I would eat my emergency GU to get me home. It is amazing how your 'tired' legs become more fresh after you feed your brain a bit ;) I think it's good to do some runs like this....but it's a balancing act with getting your body also used to eating on the run.. (more below).
This last week I did 61 miles and managed to do a 11x400's at 5k pace on Wednesday and I did a 16 miler at 9:30 pace on Sunday into a nasty 15 mph headwind out on the baylands levys....I think I have a shot at doing well on this program..
Race FuelingI have recently realized that I don't eat enough during marathons. The old saw used to be you can take in about 200 calories / hour but recently I read this number is thought to be more like 300 cals/hour. I don't come close to either of these numbers: 200 cals/hour in a 4 hour race would be 8 GUs, I usually only take 6 or 7.
Once I started thinking about this I decided to abandon GU packs and switch to gel bottles and Hammer gel in bulk bottles. The packs are expensive and become sticky, slippery litter if dropped. The GU packs don't even have the 'litter leash' that clif gels do and so you have this little bit of torn off top to deal with.
I theorized (read: 'hoped') by taking gel in smaller but more frequent increments (e.g. each mile) I could eat more without getting an upset tummy.
To test this I got some Ultimate Direction gel holders (I like their water bottles too) and have been trying them out. I have 3 bottles on my belt and each can hold 5+ 90 cal 'servings'
But, I only fill them about 80% and then I top them off with hot water and shake hard for a minute until the gel is diluted a bit. This is way easier to squirt into your mouth and goes down cleanly until you can take some water. Water stops are not every mile in a race and so this is important.
On this weekend's 16 mile Sunday run I emptied 2.5 of these gel bottles(!) That is about 10 hammer 'servings' of 90cal or about 900 cals / 2.5 hrs = 360 cals/hour(!) I burped only a couple of times and never felt nauseous. I got tired fighting the wind but kept the pace. (ok so 9:30 ain't that fast for me but this is after 45 miles of running in the previous 5 days)
I can believe that I might be able to take in more than the elite types.... they are running much faster than I do. I will have to practice this at full marathon paces as well to see if my tummy can still take it. I might also find I can't do it reliably on any given day....time will tell.
(I've also found that if it's warm at all my ability to eat just vanishes...but that's not a problem because if it's warm you ain't running no PR anyway.)
I feel like an idiot for not trying this earlier....a few more calories during a race could make a huge difference in the last miles.