Daily Run: Remaining Vigilant

November 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Daily Run, Nutrition, Product Review, Training Method | 7 Comments

Time of Day: 5:50 AM

Weather: 61*. Very overcast. Gloomy.

Duration: 51 minutes

Estimated Distance (based on assumed pace of 7:50/mile): 6.5 miles

Notes: Today’s run may have been a little faster, but I did keep it very slow on the uphills and there are a lot of those, so I’ll continue to calculate at 7:50/mile for now. I had more pain today than yesterday, but still much less than last week. I need to get over some of my fear and yet remain vigilant and careful at the same time. I’m going to cross-train tomorrow. I saw my ART practitioner today and he says that I do not have to place any restrictions on my running right now, and that’s very good news, of course.

Cranky Knee has awakened from its peaceful slumber and is all, “Wait a second…another body part is getting more attention than me! I ache too! I demand ice and ibuprofen! Stretch me! Roll me out! I demand care and coddling!” So I’ve sicked my ART practitioner on my knee as well, and really, Cranky Knee, I already know how to deal with you and you just do not scare me as much as before. I’ll be teaching you a lesson with my Trigger Point kit tonight.

Marathon Fuel

A question from Andrea:

Hi, I have a question regarding electrolyte/fluid intake during a marathon. I have read a lot of different opinions on how to hydrate/refuel properly during a marathon, from salt sticks to gel packs, to drinking Gatorade for replacing electrolytes. Based on your previous experience or anybody else, what did you find works best for you? I think I am going to experiment with gels on a long run and washing it down with water, should I also be drinking something like Gatorade as well? Do you think bringing a couple gel packs and water will be fine for a marathon? I’m worried if I don’t take enough sodium, my muscles are going to start cramping up during the last few miles of the marathon, but I don’t want to overdo it on the sodium. Also, if you do replenish with something, any specific brands you would recommend? Thanks for any advice you can give me!

I am training for my very first marathon, so I am not a fueling expert by any means. I think you are encountering a lot of different opinions because there is no one right way; everyone has different stomach tolerances when it comes to running. Also, I imagine that larger runners need more fuel since they burn more calories.

I am doing exactly what you are doing–experimenting on my long runs. I’m doing well with taking one gel per hour and stopping at water fountains along the way. I think I can get away with drinking less water during my runs because I drink it constantly throughout the day, so I’m quite hydrated when I start. Sometimes I drink Gatorade before I leave the house, but I don’t carry it with me.

I like the Clif Shot Bloks, but I’ve only had these and the Power Gels, which I did not like. My favorite Bloks are the Mocha ones with a little caffeine. I haven’t used salt sticks or any special sodium products, but then again, I’m not prone to cramping.

I also suggest that you experiment with what you eat before your long run. I find that I can’t eat very much, so I usually stick with an energy bar because they are small and calorie dense. A lot of people like to eat bananas beforehand. I recommend not eating something with a lot of fiber. 😉

To refuel after the run, I make a recovery shake or use one of the Myoplex products.

Hope that helps! Readers, comment below and give Andrea and me your long run fueling tips.



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  1. Glad to hear the runs are progressing well (and the knee is “sort of behaving”)!
    As for Andrea’s questions – I don’t normally exceed 5 miles so I don’t really know much about in-between fuel!

  2. For Andrea –

    I think Jess said it best when she recommended trying out what works for you on your long runs. I have always been a gels with plain water kinda gal – I don’t like having to chew the sport beans or shot bloks, and I think the gels are more concentrated and I can definitely tell when they kick in. Personally, I don’t think you need gatorade in addition to that, unless you are a large(r) man. (Which, judging by your name, I do not think you are.) I used to run with a bunch of guys who would do that, and it worked for them, but us wee lassies don’t sweat as much or need as much for our fueling. Also, I think washing down gels with another flavory thing is blech. But that could just be my own weirdness.

    As for refueling, I say HUZZAH! chocolate milk! It is the best post-long run drink, IMO. So creamy and delicious – I’ve come to crave it on my runs. Plus, you know, all that science-y stuff about protein/carb ratios and it being used in endurance studies, etc. But really, let’s focus on the yum. Yummmm.

  3. Cranky Knee and Achilles need to get outta town! Hopefully your ART fella can work his magic!

  4. definitely try things out on your long runs. i have also noticed that my tastes have changed. when i was training for my first marathon i used only gu up until about 6 weeks before then i switched to luna moons and i loved them. now i cant stand them and am back to gu. i used to have stomach problems with gu but it isnt bothering me so much anymore. i always use my fuel belt and have one bottle with just water and one with 3/4 gatorade, 1/4 water. for me i like to hydrate during the whole run (i take small sips every mile) and i like to be used to drinking during my runs. i dont run without fluids until i am doing about 6 miles or less. oh and i eat a banana and/or toast with peanut butter before i run.

    hope all your pains knock it off!! its funny how you just forget about some when others are showing up.

  5. Alex: Good idea with the chocolate milk. Sometimes I mix the chocolate-flavored No Sugar Added Carnation Instant Breakfast into milk for recovery.
    Aron: Maybe I’ll try the Luna Moons.

  6. Definitely use the long runs to experiment. That’s one of the reasons they are there… 🙂 First marathon in 2 weeks, so grain of salt and all that… 🙂

    I’ve got some notes I had found a few months ago up in my blog http://aaronrunsagain.blogspot.com/2008/07/hydrationnutrition-advice.html

    I would recommend experimenting with different fuel sources/vendors as you run. Remember that Gatorade is a fuel source. It has the added advantage of providing hydration and electrolytes, but don’t replace water with it and do Gatorade and GU for example. Something I’ve read implies that it throws the water/sugar proportions off and can cause ‘intestinal distress’.
    Experimentation lets you figure out if your stomach can handle the sugars provide, if you like the texture and flavors, if you can chew and run (I can’t, so ShotBloks, Sports Beans, etc are out). I can handle any gel, but have pretty much settled on GU, with Hammer as a backup. Some flavors however…bleah!

    I’ve currently settled on the first at 45 min/5 miles and one every 30 min/3 miles after that. It may be more than I need, but one of my long runs where I tried to push the time between GUs was ‘unpleasant’.

    I like nuun(http://www.nuun.com) for my electolytes because the have no calories/sugar and you can just add them to regular water. I like them because they aren’t just salt, but other needed electolytes as well. I’ve heard good things about SCaps too.

    My current hydration strategy is based on the 22ox Nathon Bottles I use for hydration. I’ve got a handheld and Nathan 2V Elite that holds 2 22oz bottles and has pouches for GUs, etc. Under an hour, I don’t take any fluids. Up to 9 or 10 miels (90 minutes or so) I take the handheld. 10 or more I switch to the fuel belt and shoot for a bottle an hour. I try to drink a few oounces a mile or so. More when I’m washing down a GU. Runs over 16 I use nuun with the water.

    I’m probably going to carry my handheld for the marathon, refill at water stops, carry nuun in the pouch of the handheld, and GUs pinned to my shorts. The marathon proved GU, but at only 2 spots.

    For recovery I’m a big fan of Chocolate milk as well.

    Sorry for the long reply. 🙂 Enjoy your running!

  7. Thanks Aaron!

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