TrainingI managed to log 500 miles during my training cycle and hit most of my planned workouts. The missed workouts came when I was travelling and recovering from the Troop Trot 39k. My training plan worked well for my lifestyle. The back to backs on weekend were essential and number of miles made me confident and in good fitness by race day. Overall, I was happy with my level of training, but there are a few things I would change (aren't there always?).
50k training plan I followed. Green items were races (2 more were later added).
- More time on feet. My longest run both in terms of mileage and time was the Troop Trot 39k (~5h20min), but I didn't have another run over 3 hours. All of my other super long runs, were on road/treadmill, and my pace kept them under the 3 hour mark. Next time I would make sure to have several 3+ hour training days (regardless of the mileage) because we all know things get different after you've been on your feet that long.
- More time on terrain. I only logged a minority of my training miles on the trails and some more practice would have benefitted me. This is not to say I ever had trouble on the trail sections, but I think I would have been more comfortable and confident had I logged more time on them pre-race. I also probably would have been less sore post race and figured out the bloody feet issue earlier than in the middle of the Troop Trot.
No joke, I brought ~15 Island Boost with me to the race and ate 3.
FuelingThis is always my favorite topic but often the most stressful! I've never been good at fueling for a marathon, so the task of fueling for a 50k while sweating buckets in 90 degree heat had me pretty nervous as race day approached. I knew I hadn't fueled as much as should have during the Troop Trot and even noticed I was having salt issues in the late miles (my hands started swelling), so I really focused all raceday on fluids, salt, and fuel. This is probably why I wasn't phased by the actual mileage: I was too busy thinking about food. Here is a rundown of what I ate during the race and in true EB fashion, I even tried new things. Note: this is what worked for me, I'm not saying it will work for everyone. The salt concentration in sweat varies person to person and this salt intake worked for me during a hot, long race. I don't think I would need nearly as much in a cooler race.
- Fluids: I kept my hydration pack loaded with full strength lemon-lime flavored NUUN (the caffeinated kind because that was all we had in the house). I often run with half strength just because some of the flavors taste strong to me, but I went full strength on race day to get the extra electrolytes. I carried a few extra tabs in a baggie in my pack and had an extra tube in my cooler with the Jayhawk (he needed to hydrate too) so I could make more when I refilled. I also had a ton of ice in our cooler that I would put in my pack each lap to make the fluids more enjoyable.
- Salts: This was truly the black box item to me. I decided to carry a fuelbelt bottle in the front pocket of my hydration pack (~8oz) and kept it full of The Right Stuff salt solution. My goal was to drink the whole bottle every loop and refill from my cooler (I had a premade bottle in there) so I didn't have to lug extra. I also bought a 3 pack of SaltStick Caps (I chose them because the balance of electrolytes they offered is similar to sweat, affiliate link) and had the goal of taking one per lap (I only ended up taking 2). They advise taking them more frequently, but having never taken them and as I was also supplementing with NUUN and Right Stuff, I took 1 at the first (5.5ish) time and second (16ish) times I passed the midpoint aid station. No hand swelling this time.
- Fuel: This one I went a little wacky (No I didn't eat GU). My goal for fueling was to use Island Boost out on the course and utilize the aid station for all the junk food they had to offer (less to lug). I did a fairly good job, but I still think I am under fueling as my energy was dipping on the 3rd lap. Lap one I ate 1 Island Boost, 1 Rice Krispie treat, some gummy bears, and a banana half at the midpoint, and a cutie, a banana half, and some Smarties at the start/finish. Lap 2 I had another Island Boost, another banana, and a few Fritos at the midpoint and Coke, Smarties, and 2 cuties at the start/finish. Lap three I had another Island Boost, Fritos, Smarties, and grapes. I think that is everything. I know that sounds like a lot of junk food, but at a certain point you eat what you interests you. Not everything sounds good. Recovery was dominated by beer, ice cream, and everything else I could get my hands on. :)
First pumpkin beer selection of the season, Harpoon's UnFiltered Offering Pumpkin Ale. It's a good one.
Also tried LA 31 Biere Pale. A lot of flavor for a pale ale and I liked it.
LearningThis is a big one. I learned (and am still learning) tons from this experience. I know a lot more about what my body likes and dislikes in terms of training and recovery. I've learned that my body is much more capable at handling higher mileage than I have given it credit for. I've learned that I still need to figure out what is the best way for me to accomplish speed workouts (I really slacked on this during this training cycle) and I've learned that wearing the correct size shoe is essential for feeling comfortable during a race. I've learned to not fear the treadmill. I've learned to relax and taking training day by day and races mile by mile. Most importantly, I've learned that I really love long distance running for both the challenges and the rewards it offers.
Do you ever look back to see what you've learned from a training or racing experience?