I just finished week 4 of my 50K training and am onto week 5 with 9 more weeks left before race day. I am now following the plan to a T after quickly learning the importance of Monday recovery days and taking when it says run 2 miles and just 2 miles, seriously. Gradually adjusting to mileage is better than what I normally do when not following a training plan which is one week suddenly run 40 and then the next week maybe do like 25-30 and cycle through this pattern.
The key I think is doing the back to back long runs on the weekend. Last weekend with a 12 and an 8, I bonked on what was supposed to be my 12 on Saturday on a trail run and ended up running 8 and then doing 12 on the road on Sunday. Adjusting to mileage on trails was proving difficult to me. I was getting hungry by mile 6 which I never do on road running – I can often go a whole half Marathon without needing nutrition. Trail running – nope, not so much. I get hungrier sooner. I was also completely wiped out after my runs on both Saturday and Sunday, drained like a zombie, and crashed bad on Sunday, sleeping until 7 and then just ordering dinner out because I was too exhausted to make anything. I also made the really bad mistake of coming home from that run and not eating anything because I was too exhausted.
So this week, I decided to try something different. I had bought this Hammer Heed powder to try out on these long runs, but never tried it. Actually, I did try it on Sun night after I was feeling like I was dying at 7 pm when I woke up and realized I really should do something about dinner. And it made me feel alive again. So I thought, woah, I really need to try this stuff on my long runs next weekend and maybe I won’t feel like total crap after them. And guess what? It worked! I was still able to do stuff (including go to a wedding after running 24 freaking miles) and felt energetic and my body was not in so much pain like it was last weekend. Either I have adjusted to doing back-to-back distance, or that stuff is like a magical potion. Regardless, I’m using it again next weekend for my 16 miler and 10 miler. I know I have a major issue with electrolyte imbalance. I have what’s called volume depletion disorder. So whatever I can do to make it not a problem and not end up in an ER, is what I am going to do. I also did both my long runs on trails this weekend and feel a little more confident about being out there on the trails forever. Well, hopefully not forever. But, a long time.
For nutrition I have been using Honey Stinger, fruity Gu (but I really only have like 1-2 of those on a long run unless I’m desperately starving), sweet potatoes cut up in little chunks baked with salt and pepper, and dates. But, the Hammer Heed also made a huge difference here too – I did not get hungry so early into the run and I felt pretty great the whole run. I’ll have to see when I get up to 20 milers +, what I’ll need for nutrition with this help. In the past I have done a quarter of a bagel or a half a peanut butter & jelly.