Friday, 9 October 2009

Exercising Caution

Mondays run was a recovery run with Brendan at lunchtime. The effort certainly felt harder than the pace/HR displayed on the Garmin and my legs were pretty stiff after Sundays run. The 138 HR for the 8 minute pace was certainly higher than normal for me which showed that I was recovering despite the fact that I had not run hard on Sunday. Still I suppose 15 miles at MP should have some impact if 26.2 miles at the same pace makes walking downstairs a chore. Brendan on the other had appeared very energetic after his 1:38 Cork to Cobh. As I was unable to get to the track on Tuesday evening I opted for an easy 7 miler in the park which was all I needed as there was still some residual tightness in my calves from Sunday. I was also conscious of the fact that following Cork to Cobh last year I had a track session on the Tuesday and suffered a calf strain during a 2 mile tempo run on the Thursday which upset the rest of my training plan for Amsterdam. Obviously I had not recovered fully following Cork to Cobh. Wednesday was mid-week long run day although the (half ) planned 15 miles was cut to under 14 as I was a bit tardy in getting up and out the door (one foot in the bed syndrome). With a work induced day off on Thursday I was ready for a bit of speedwork this morning - I can't avoid it altogether. Despite the early rise on Wednesday and again for work on Thursday I was reasonably refreshed this morning with all the residual tightness in my legs gone. I had enough time for 2 x 3 miles @ HM pace (the slower end of Tempo pace). The first 3 miles went by reasonably well in 6:38/35/32 (6:35 avg). On the return leg along Inchagaggin Lane and back out the Straight Road through Ballincollig I kept pace behind a guy on a bike for about a mile and a half (his flashing red tail-light was all I could see). He pulled away on the flat but came back to me on the rise past Carrigrohane Post Office. I must have spooked him a little - a bit disconcerting hearing footfalls and heavy breathing behind you in the pre-dawn darkness. My pace suffered over the second mile (net rise) but recovered to give a 6:39 average pace (6:38/46/33). The good news is that my calves held up to run another day. I've been thinking about my race day nutrition strategy as it is the single most important factor when it come to maintaining race pace, particularly over the last 6 miles, if I am lucky enough to get that far without bonking. What got me thinking about it was Nics experience in the Fox Cities Marathon, (where he missed a sub-3 hour time by 8 seconds) and how a lack of fuel can lead to a serious bonk, despite feeling on top of the world beforehand. Although I think Nics problem on the day was his body's inability/refusal to take on fuel. I have read that about 300 calories per hour is the optimum requirement. This site recommends 0.5g of carbs per lb of body weight per hour which for me (about 180lbs) equates to about 90g of carbs per hour. The GO gels I use have 22g of carbs & 87 calories - so i'd need to take 4 per hour which appears a bit excessive. This other site reckons that, for my body weight and race pace, I will burn 972 calories per hour and that as "Research shows runners can physically absorb about 30 percent of what they expend" I should be replacing 292 calories per hour, but only after 60 to 90 minutes of racing (I assume when glycogen stores diminish) They all point towards taking 3 to 4 gels per hour (assuming water is the only fluid intake) but I would be a bit reluctant to wait 60 to 90 minutes before taking on carbs. My own thoughts are that if I can keep it down the more the merrier. Comments/advice welcome.............. especially on how to carry that many gels.
Have a good weekend Mon 5th Oct 5.67 miles in 45:12 (7:59 pace @ 138 HR) Tue 6th Oct 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - treadmill) 7.26 miles in 56:12 (7:44 pace @ 131 HR) Wed 7th Oct 13.71 miles in 1:45:24 (7:42 pace @ 135HR) Fri 9th Oct 10 miles in 1:11:54 (7:11 pace @ 147HR) with 2 x 3 miles in19:45 & 19:57 (39:42 - 6:37 avg)


  1. I normally carry 3 to 4 on me. You can carry 3 in a little fuel belt pouch that will strap around your waist and you can tuck into your shorts.........although I am having visions of the lycra tight shorts you wear which is worrying me! You can have another taped to your wrist. I normally have someone at half way with more gels. I take them every 4 miles or 30 minutes but have never been able to take more than 6. As the race progresses you will just refuse them. They look like Brussels sprouts (or whatever you mum used to make you eat.) I take SIS gels which weigh 60g as opposed to the normal 45g gels but they don't need water so I can take them when I want and not wait for a race (also, I find that the powerbar ones are like snot).

  2. Hi Grellan.
    Holding a lot of gels is always hard and I am not one for wearing fuel belts.
    When I run marathons I carry 4 gels and 2 sachets of Biofreeze. Biofreeze is brilliant if you get a cramp. Helps immediately. Most chemists have them now in the little sachets which are really easy to carry. They are under a euro each and its money well spent if you cramp.
    Anyway my point is how I carry them. For me I wear shorts made by Sugoi called 42k shorts. About 3 years ago I bought a pair in the U.S. and thought they were brilliant. I found it really hard to get them here but eventually I found them at
    They have 3 pockets in the back and hold everything for me. Lots of shorts with 2 pockets but a third makes all the difference. Only problem then is the weight but after you start taken the gels naturally the weight drops.
    Hope this helps. Best of luck.

  3. I can fit 3 gels into the back pocket of my marathon running shorts, and in Dublin they give out 2 gels during the race (miles 15 and 18 I think), which makes it 5 gels. I have never taken more than 3 in a marathon, though. 4 per hours would mean 12 or 13 gels. You'd need a mule to carry them alongside you!

  4. Thanks for the info Guys. I think 4 gels an hour is a bit much. The only thing about taking taking gels at watering stations is the risk of breaking rule no 1 - Don't try anything new on race day. I have a tri belt that holds three gels and a pair of shorts with two pockets so I think i'm covered. Paudie i'll look into the biofreeze, although it reminds me of something you put into the car.