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Half Marathon Training Diaries Week 7: Refining My Fueling Strategy

Thanks for stopping by my half marathon training series!

Currently, I’m training for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 13th. My week 1 post has a comprehensive overview of my goals for this race, my half marathon training plan and philosophy, as well as my previous base training before starting this training cycle.

Half Marathon Training Diaries Week 7_ Refining My Fueling Strategy

If you’d like to read the previous weekly recaps, here they are:

1st Week: Kick-off, Goals, and Base Training

2nd Week: Feeling like less than Superwoman

3rd Week: Easy Week + Sweetheart 5k

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4th: Making Friends with the Treadmill

5th Week: Just Keep Running

6th Week: Focus on Recovery

This training week was awesome.

No seriously, it was. I pushed my miles further than any week of training so far at 24 miles, and I finished the week with an incredible 9 mile long run. I’ve noticed that my “easy” pace seems to be quite a bit quicker than it used to be, and I definitely feel more fit. All thanks to 80/20 Running!

Related: 80/20 Running Why You Need to Slow Down

This makes me super excited for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon…only 5 weeks away!

Oh, I’ve also been much better with my nutrition this week, and my weight has followed in the right direction.

Good things, all good things…

Monday

Scheduled: 4.5 miles easy

What I Did: 4.54 miles at an easy effort + 10 min abs

Monday’s easy run was refreshing and relaxing after week focused on recovery. I relaxed into a groove and ended up averaging a 10:59 min/mi pace, which is on the faster end of my easy spectrum, but it still felt great.

After my run, I knocked out 10 minutes of ab work including sit-ups, planks, knees-to-chest, and Russian twists.

Yeah I look SUPER dorky in this picture, thanks to sunglasses over the headband!

Tuesday

Scheduled: 8 x 400 meter repeats @ 8:45 min/mi pace

What I Did: 3.30 miles on the treadmill @ 8:32 min/mi pace

I was wearing my new shoes for this one, and they still need more miles before they’ll be comfortable and broken-in. The focus for this run was maintaining my breathing and quick leg turnover to keep up a fast cadence.

Wednesday

Scheduled: 3 easy miles

What I Did: 3.06 easy miles + 14 mins leg strength

Wednesday was cold, windy, and rainy but I managed to squeeze in 3 easy miles between rain showers.

Quick, windy 3 miles

I’m starting to feel like 11:00 min/mi is my new easy pace, which makes me feel great that my fitness is improving!

When I got my teeth cleaned at the dentist this morning, the machine that took my blood pressure started going crazy because my pulse was too low. I thought that was hilarious! Low resting heart rate for the win.

Thursday

Scheduled: Rest.

What I Did: Rest.

Ah…rest day!

My sweet Ginger puppy got spayed today, so I spent my evening picking her up from the vet and getting her comfortable. I don’t think I would’ve had time to run if I wanted to…

She looked SO miserable!

The cone the vet clinic gave her was way too big…and she ended up catching it on the ground every time she walked. There was no way she would be able to keep this thing on a full 10-14 days.

Still not thrilled…but at least she could walk!

Thus, we made a last-minute run to PetCo. There, we found an inflatable donut that we could attach to her collar—she was far more comfortable!

Friday

Scheduled: 4 miles at half marathon goal pace (9:55 min/mi)

What I Did: 4.00 miles on the treadmill somewhere close to my goal pace + Push-ups & Sit-ups

Friday was really cold AND rainy. I can do cold or wet, but I’m really uncomfortable with cold AND wet.

So…I ran on my treadmill because I have the option. I warmed up for the first half mile fairly slow, and then pushed my pace up little by little until I was running between 9:40-10:00 pace. The speed and incline adjusted up and down just a little bit to change how my effort felt and keep from getting bored. This effort definitely wasn’t easy, but I was able to stick with it pretty well.

I’m starting to feel more confident that I’ll be able to hit and hold my goal pace on race day!

Saturday

Scheduled: 9 mile long run

What I Did: 9.01 mile long run with a 5k pace kick for the last mile!

This. Run. Felt. Great.

Although I’ve implemented energy gels for fueling on other runs, this run was the first time I really applied a fueling strategy. I must say, it left me feeling freaking awesome and I was ready to conquer the world!

            Related: 3 Powerful Strategies for Fueling Your Next Half Marathon

9 mile long run half marathon training
Ready to conquer the world heading into my long run!

The first 8 miles, I averaged around an 11 minute per mile pace. When I was coming up on my last mile before home I was thinking that I felt pretty dang good, so I decided to kick the last mile. I really cranked it up and ran the last mile at an 8:51 pace, which is actually faster than the last 5k I ran only 4 weeks ago.

During my run, I couldn’t help but think:

THIS IS THE YEAR.

This is the year I’m going to make it happen. All of my dreams that I was previously putting off because they were too crazy or “out there”. Right now I’m doing the hard work in silence (except sharing it with you on this blog) to make my goals happen.

I’m going to run my half marathon personal record, create a side business I’m proud of, and design my dream life.

This is happening, and it’s happening now!

-Alexis, Saturday morning long run thoughts

My Half Marathon Fueling Strategy

I wrote a blog post on half marathon fueling, which will be released on March 21st, 2019… Until then, here’s what you need to know if you’re working on your own fueling strategy.

For my long run at 9 miles, I took my first gel at 3.5 miles, my 2nd gel at 6.5 miles. I consumed my sports drink that I had in my running belt in between and to wash down the gel.

Sports nutritionist and author Matt Fitzgerald recommends 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. I got my carbs through a combination of Honey Stinger Gels and my favorite sports drink (I can carry 2 bottles of 10 ounces each on my running belt).

Here is the Honey Stinger sampler pack I’m using right now:

I tried Vanilla and Fruit Smoothie on this run–both of which tasted amazing! This is the second run I’ve used these gels on and it hasn’t upset my stomach at all, which I’m actually really surprised by since my stomach is easily bothered.

During my race, I plan to drink more water in between at aid stations during my half marathon. Typically, the best hydration strategy is drinking 13-27 ounces per hour (by thirst).

Each gel had 27 grams of carbs in it, and my drink had 30 grams total…so that turns out for me consuming around 50 grams of carbs per hour (I ran for 97 minutes).

This entire fueling strategy is boiled down from principles in Matt Fitzgerald’s book, The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition.

It literally revolutionized how I look at race fueling and running nutrition as a whole!

Sunday

Scheduled: 50 minutes cross training

What I Did: 50 active minutes downhill skiing

We got out to Park City for another beautiful morning and some great snow!

It was snowing literally the whole time, and I took a few runs with moguls that I wouldn’t normally run unless there is a ton of fresh powder! It was a fun time, even though I was pretty stiff from my 9 mile run Saturday, and a great way to close out week 7 of my half marathon training plan.

What is your favorite fueling strategy?

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RunningMyBestLife

Run Happy,

Alexis

About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>

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3 thoughts on “Half Marathon Training Diaries Week 7: Refining My Fueling Strategy”

  1. That was an awesome week, congrats. But wait. Unless I misread your times, on Tuesday you crushed your 5k PR. When I put your time in the pace calculator [http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/4/4_1/96.shtml] it said you did a 5k in 26:31. Amazing! You’re going to do great in the half.

    My fueling strategy on long runs (and long hikes, too) is fruit, gels from Clif, and, if I need a meal, I’ll use tuna fish in the foil packets. Drinks, I use water and, occasionally, a protein drink (more on the hikes).

    I think it’s awesome you and your husband ski, too. It’s a great alternative exercise. I used to go ice skating on an indoor rink in the summer right after my long runs. It was a great way to cool down.

    • Yes, I have done some splits faster than my 5k PR and I’m confident I could PR the 5k at this point, but right now I’m focused on the half marathons in the coming months. In June or July, I’ll do another 5k 🙂

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