Monday, November 23, 2015

20 Miles: Gen UCan and a Gel

Today I tried a new product before my long run: Generation UCan. I was hoping that by taking Gen UCan, I wouldn't need to take as many other types of fuel as usual. Although I have run 17 miles without fuel before, I often eat a gel or something about every 5 miles.

The main ingredient in Gen UCan powder is corn starch and it's supposed to prevent you from bonking by keeping your blood sugar level. I ate the following mixture 30 minutes before my run.

Cranberry Raspberry Chocolate Gen UCan (mixed the night before and refrigerated)

1 packet chocolate Gen UCan (33 gm carbohydrates)
1/2 packet cranberry raspberry Gen UCan (15 gm carbohydrates)
enough water to give it a pudding-like consistency

I liked the way the chocolate powder (contains sucralose) tasted, but the fruit powder was so sweet from the stevia that I mixed the two together to tone down the sweetness. This tasted okay. I'm sure mixing peanut butter with only the chocolate would taste better, but I wanted to keep things simple since it was my first time to experiment with Gen Ucan. The powders were easy to mix with a spoon and I didn't have any problems with grittiness that I noticed others complain about online.

During My Run: Only One Gel

After 13 miles and about 2 1/2 hours of running, I ate a strawberry banana GU gel (one of my favorite flavors) because I thought it might keep me from dragging my feet, which I was beginning to do.

My last mile was my fastest and when I finished the 4 hour run (12 min/mi ave), I was hungry. I'm never hungry after a long run so this was a nice change for me because it was lunch time. So I went out with my husband to Rudy's Barbecue where I had some delicious beef brisket and peach cobbler.

Generation UCan Links 

Gen UCan Post on Marathon Fueling

Runners Connect Gen UCan Review

Would you like two free packets of Generation UCAN? Here's a link.

Monday, November 16, 2015

18 miles, Speedwork & a Smoothie

The last time I made crepes was when I took a home economics class in 9th grade and ever since I had crepes while on vacation this summer I've wanted to make them so I finally did. My crepes (recipe) were a little thick (should have added more milk), but since I haven't made them in years, I gave myself a break and a few bacon bits. I ate them before Friday's 18 mile run and today's 8 mile run with nut butters, bananas, honey and jam, but not all in one crepe!

I wasn't sore after my 18 mile run (with the last three miles the fastest) even though I thought I might be since I did so little running in the days before that long run. Gradually adding 3 miles to the long runs and doing them every 9 days is working for me.

Saturday, we were invited to a brand new restaurant that specializes in chicken, PDQ, for their "train the employees" day. Training day can be scary (it wasn't, though), but free food? Always good! My favorite item was the peanut butter chocolate shake, which reminded me of how much I like my chocolate peanut butter banana smoothies so that's what I drank after today's run.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Ingredients (amounts vary depending on what I toss into the blender):

1/2 banana, 1 1/2 Tb. PB, 1 Tb. cocoa powder and 1/4 cup milk

I had some lemonade leftover from the restaurant so I drank that mixed with an equal amount of water during today's speed work (1, 2, and 3 minutes run at hard effort with 1 minute rests three times). During my 18 mile run, I only drank Gatorade since it's served at a lot of races and I'm prepping my stomach for a possible race (even though I don't have one planned yet).

What's your favorite type of training run? I really like the challenge of running for a long time so my favorite is the long run.

Have you tried any new foods lately? I did and learned that I don't like butternut squash. I do like yellow squash and zucchini, though, so I'm not a total squash hater.

Monday, November 9, 2015

My 3 Rules: Running and Books

It's (Better Than) OK to Run at an Easy Effort Until You're Warmed Up

Today I ran 8 miles with 4 easy, 2 at a harder effort and 2 easy miles once again. Six of the miles were run at a 12 something pace. The two harder miles were run at 9:55 and then 8:59/mile pace. It must have been the music I listened to that got my legs moving.

Singing While Running is OK 

On those days when you don't think you can get out there and run because it will be hard, watch X Ambassadors' video of Renegades and then listen to it when you run. When you're running alone, I bet you can't keep from singing along - even if you are running hard!

New Book Rule (Reinstated): It's OK Not to Finish Bad Books

During the easy miles today, I listened to a book. I've had to put 3 to rest recently. I don't like to not finish books, but even worse is reading a book I don't like. I recently restarted the classic Moby Dick on Kindle. This time, I'm going to dig a little deeper into the meaning with a little help like this Guide for First-time Readers of Moby Dick.

Photo: (north of Houston, Texas) That's a creek that I run by all of the time, but I have to peek through the trees to see it. It's a little swamp-like lately and quite a contrast from the pretty, bluish lakes in the rest of the park that I see all of the time when I'm at the park where I run, ride and walk my dog.

Want to share a favorite song or book you're reading? Or something you see on your running route?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Longer Training Cycle


I was glad to see five deer this week when I was out for three of my runs. There's some major tree cutting going on at the park beside my house and I was afraid that the deer would leave the park. (Enlarge the photo to see the three deer I saw one day.)

Eating Before My Morning Run 

My "fasting before all of my runs experiment" has ended in hopes that I'll have more energy when I run. I felt better when I ran 12 miles after eating first, but my pace still hasn't picked back up. See this Inside Tracker post and this post for more on the subject of eating before you run.

Am I an Obnoxious Runner? 

I asked myself that question after reading this article that makes the point that running should inspire others to do what they love even if it isn't running. Then I asked myself that question again after watching the video about the marathoner who ran without telling anyone. That would not be me!

Me and My Running Buddy at the Park Where I Run/Ride/Walk

A Longer Exercise Cycle 

After reading the book Meb for Mortals by Olympian Meb Keflezighi (my review), I was reminded of why I like the 9 day cycle. A longer plan gives me a little more recovery between the 3 main workouts of a long, tempo and speed run. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein does 9-10 day cycles and puts 2-3 easy days between hard workouts, too. After reading Revisiting the 7 Day Training Week, you may even want to schedule an even longer training cycle of 10 days or 2-3 weeks.

My Recent 9 Day Training Cycle

Besides running and riding, on most days, I did a few minutes of strength training, core and/or balance exercises and dog walking, too.

Monday- 6 mile run with speed work: 1, 2, 3 minutes fast with 1 minute recovery runs between, times 2.

Tuesday- 7 mile recovery run

Wednesday- 1 hour bike ride (all rides this week: easy to moderate effort)

Thursday- 8 mile tempo run with 3 miles faster in the middle

Friday- 1 hour bike ride

Saturday- 6 mile recovery run

Sunday- rest

Monday- 12 mile run (last 2 miles faster) with vanilla EFS liquid shot (but I prefer berry flavor)

Tuesday (today) - 1 hour bike ride

Do you work out in the usual 7 day cycles or have you used a longer cycle?

Monday, October 19, 2015

4 Tips from Meb for Mortals, the Book

I found some great advice in Meb Keflezighi's book, Meb for Mortals. Here are four of my favorite tips for training and race nutrition.

  1. Meb trains using a 9-day cycle. He feels fresher using this plan over the usual 7 day plan because the longer cycle helps him to stay injury-free. In each cycle, he will run a long run, an interval workout and a tempo run. He follows each of these runs with 2 days of recovery runs. Before reading the book, I heard he used 9 day cycles and tried them, but I didn't know about the two recovery days (easy runs) after a hard day. I'll try that with some of the recovery days as "no running" days.   
  2. For protein, he usually eats eggs (after his morning run), chicken (for most lunches and dinners) and beef (especially after a hard/long run). I've been eating more beef lately to get more iron in my diet and now I'll focus on beef for hard days.
  3. The day before a marathon, Meb doesn't change his diet very much. The day before a marathon, he might eat a turkey sandwich, spaghetti with meatballs and his usual afternoon fruit snack. I probably change things too much when I'm out of town for a race and eat out. 
  4. Nice View While Cross-training in Estes Park, Colorado
  5. When cross-training, he likes to keep the effort "easy to moderate" and to work out for 60-90 minutes. This is something I've wondered about and I plan to follow his advice. 

You'll also find strength training workouts, running drills and a month of training plans for race distances from the 5K to the marathon in Meb's book.

Have you read Meb's book or another book that has changed the way that you train or eat?
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