Trying New Things

For the first time since I started training for the New Bedford Half Marathon, I stuck to my training plan 100%.

My weekly training plans have been scheduled as follows:

What I’ve really been doing is something like this:

Yeah, it’s not quite the same. The half-marathon plan I’ve been following is a novice level plan, and doesn’t include things like tempo runs, speed work, or hill work. I’ve started incorporating speed work and some hills into my workout, which has honestly helped my running strength A LOT! I also have been loving doing spin on Wednesdays. I thought it was going to be too much in terms of added stress to my muscles, but so far so good. I also have been doing my long runs on Saturday instead of Sunday, only because this has been happening a lot on Saturday nights:

I’ve been trying to avoid drinking too much, especially now that I’m about 4 weeks away from the race (I just realized this…holy shit!). By doing my longer runs on Saturday mornings, I can enjoy my nights out without worrying too much about how fresh my legs and my body may be for a run the next morning. This weekend, however, was very quiet so I decided to shake things up and go for my long run on Sunday morning.

I woke up this morning around 8:45, had 2 pieces of pb toast and a banana, some coffee, and water. Then I headed out the door around 10:00. The weather was deceiving this morning – it was sunny and bright, but the wind was WHIPPING!

I also tried something new with my gear this week. I broke out my fuel belt that I bought ages ago but never really ended up using. I also decided to give my first try at fueling during the run. I bought a bunch of Gu’s, sports beans, and Gu Chomps a couple weeks ago with the idea that I would play around with them and figure out which one I liked the best. On tap for today’s 7 miler: Strawberry-Banana Gu.

With some water, my Gu, and my Garmin, I was off.

Honestly, this was one of the best runs I’ve had so far. Finally seeing the sun after days of cloudy weather felt really awesome, and even with the wind, the sun warmed me up. I think I must have hit that sweet spot this morning, because the forecast said that with the wind chill it felt like -3 degrees. This was not what I experienced. I started to even get warm around mile 3 and had to unzip my Nike zip-up a little bit. At about mile 6, I broke open my Gu which I didn’t hate! I know a lot of people complain about the consistency, as it is a sort of gelatin based food item. But I don’t know if it was the really cold temperatures, but mine was the consistency of a somewhat stiff, soft gel. The flavor was pretty good too. I knew that I wasn’t going to like the flavors like coffee or chocolate, so I stuck with the fruity ones. I ate it in a couple minutes, and then downed some water. It honestly helped A LOT! I ended up run going up the Commonwealth Ave. hill, and for anyone who lives or knows the city of Boston knows, that thing is a MONSTER! The Gu helped me get up to the top and I felt stronger running up it than I did when I ran up it on Tuesday night. Gu, you’ve made me a believer.

I finished my 7 miles in a little bit over an hour – not bad. Overall, successful run! I like this “trying new things” thing.

Now I’m off to clean the house and make dinner with Bernie – I’m teaching him how to cook chicken tonight. I think I have a budding chef on my hands.

Readers, any runners out that tried something new with their training this weekend? Any long runners? How was your run?