Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sugar & salt

Last 20 miler completed today. 

I'll say it again: 20 miles is a LONG way. And I still feel like I could run 20 miles every other weekend and it would be difficult every time.

It's hard to believe that I'm supposed to be trained to run a full marathon without having actually run the distance. Right now, I feel very well trained to run a half marathon and I think I could PR again. But a full? I just don't feel ready even though this is it. Just the taper left. How can this be?

For the Seattle-ites: A lovely route with a nice mix of trail (mostly paved) & roads, rolling hills, and lots of shade. This was my favorite 20-miler route by far. It was a treat doing a loop around Kelsey Creek Farm to see the animals. Oh, and one dead raccoon.

Map courtesy of USAT&F
I love running around Mercer Island because it's densely vegetated (birds singing & shady), quiet, and is all rolling hills on curvy roads. Like a roller coaster through the woods!

I've been obsessing about fueling during my upcoming RNR marathon. During my long runs (> 15 miles), I take Perpetuem for fuel as it has some protein, fats, and carbs and is formulated for endurance events. It provides more filling, steady, though less intense, energy than taking Hammer Gel or HEED (which I use for runs 9-15 miles). This means that for the race, I will need to carry a fuel bottle with me because RNR provides Cytomax, which I've only tried once. I think that's ok, I'll just carry a single hip bottle.

But what about salt / electrolytes? I've been slipping a NUUN tablet into my water bottle after about 2 hrs and 2.5 hrs into my long runs, then drinking as I run. But since I do not plan to carry water during the race, what should I do about salt intake? I can't take the tabs with me then dissolve them in the little cups at a water station. No time for that!

One NUUN tablet is really not much sodium anyway so maybe I'm not really getting a benefit from that? As an alternative, I'm contemplating buying some salt tablets (salt stick tabs). I can carry a couple with me on my run and chug them down during the race at a water stop. Easy peasy? Or maybe I don't really need to worry about it on race day? But what if it's hot?



  1. Thanks for the route! I live in Seattle, and am starting marathon training soon (for Chicago), so its nice to see new routes. Also, I've been considering salt tablets, because I have vision problems if I am low on electrolytes. I'd love to hear about your experience with them!

  2. I carry my own fuel for two reasons. First, my stomach is OK with Hammer Products, but not alot of others. Second, sometimes they don't get the mix right and whatever they are serving is too weak or too strong.

  3. I take my fuel with me as well, for the same reason as Jamoosh said. I'll take water, banana and oranges from the race, but the rest I have with me. How did you carry your fuel with you on the 20miler? I would do the same thing for the race, if possible. Good luck!! You are READY!!

  4. I carry my fuel with me too. I don't like to take any chances. My husband carries his gels, but uses the water and gatorade given out at the race.
    Good're ready and you'll do great!! I can't wait to read all about it :)

  5. I usually just drink their fuel bc i don’t want to wear a hydration belt in addition to my spi-belt. as for salt, I literally eat salt packets (from a fast food place) with my sports drink or water. I usually do one before the race and maybe 1-2 more during. I sweat a lot and it makes a huge difference.

  6. You are TOTALLY ready!! I think I'm more excited for your first marathon than I was for mine - you are certainly more prepared than I was!
    I carry my own fuel, always. I have a VERY finicky stomach on race days (during training I can eat or drink anything, but race days? Nothing settles.) I wear a full-on waist belt with enough of everything to get me through the whole thing. Stopping at water stations becomes optional if I just need the mental break.

  7. Wow, you should make you debut in a marathon here in Londrina, Brazil!!!
    About the fuel... just water and a little bit, I am trying to my my opening in a half marathon this august... than I might need some more of these stuff!
    Good runs :)
    Someone down here.

  8. I have yet to be at a race that wasn't the limeade cytomax or gatorade. blah. I would bring my own if you could and just grab water from the tables. I'm curious about the Hammer stuff since I've seen it around a lot of blogs.

  9. I slug down the salt capsules provided at the race or take my own. So you won't be carrying perpetuem on your run? Most people I know just put the nuun into their perpetuem.

  10. You are right - 20 miles is a very long way. I agree wth you that it never seems to get any easier with those long runs. Great running!

  11. I've only done one full and I don't recall them having salt tabs available. I didn't take or train with any. I just stuck with my blocks/beans/etc and grabbed whatever looked good along the way (Coke, Gummies, Oranges!). I bought water with me but relied on aide stations for Gatorade. I've never had stomach issues from drinking whatever is available even though I know I should practice with the race drink.

    Now, I am testing out Nuun and will try SCaps as well. The heat (and humidity) and how much you sweat will factor into your plan. They explain some here:

  12. You should be so proud of your training! It's gone really well and trust that you will be able to do i!
    I used to just use what the race offered but have learned that for me it works best to use what I did in training. I carried a water bottle with me on my last one and was so glad that I did. I think I stayed better hydrated than I ever had before and was able to just add my Nuun along the way. I'd carry salt sticks with you though if you decide otherwise. You'll be glad you did.

  13. Alma, I'm sorry not to join you on 20 miles! You did great! I had Cooper all weekend, so I couldn't run too long...6 miles is about his max in warmish weather.

    Yes, salt!! From my marathon experience, I wish i had taken salt tabs.

  14. Thanks for posting the route--I'm bookmarking it for later. I am already looking forward to reading your race recap and to find out what you did for fueling and such. As I said before, you are so ready for this marathon, and you will do GREAT!

  15. AnonymousJune 06, 2011

    The RNR in Denver had tables at a couple of the stations with salt packets available. But, it was October, and really pleasant, so it wasn't something I had to think about ... oh, and I only did a half!

  16. Yes, 20 is long...our bodies don't recover very quickly from these so they are just as hard mentally and physically.

    I use Perpetuem, too, but I super concentrate it and put it in a tiny flask that I can stash in a zipped shirt pocket (I don't like a fuel belt). For salt and other mineral replacements, I take S!Caps from Succeed. I take 2 before the race and then 2 more half way if it's not very hot but if it is, then I take two 1/3 of the way and then another 2 2/3 of the way. I just put them in a tiny plastic bag and stash them in my pocket also. :)

  17. I've read a lot of bloggers that swear by salt tabs/capsules. You might want to give that a try. I'm personally a big fan of the margarita-flavored Clif Shot Bloks because they have extra salt (and they taste really good!).