Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Training: Knocking the "RUST" loose, Christmas wrap-up, and a Nutrition question for YOU.

My family appreciated my little blog break, but I am ready to dive back into reading and writing again!

Training updates:
The Eugene marathon is quickly approaching. I have been increasing my mileage without much speed work, but am now entering into the next phase. This will include 2 quality days/week for the duration of this cycle, (Unless I completely change my mind!). I managed to get back to back weeks at around 70 miles, just running easy with some strides and about 20 minutes total T pace.

Yesterday I did my first workout of "hard" repeats: 5 minutes "hard" followed by  3 minutes of aerobic recovery (AR). The recipe called for "sets" of 4 minutes of hard with 3 minutes AR, but as usual, I read my plan the night before and went out the door in the morning with something different in my mind. So, YES...I need to print this out and look at it more closely. (Nothing new there!)
Side note: I am considering posting my "plan", maybe even just a "hypothetical plan" here so that readers can more closely see it. Maybe that would be useful to me as well... :)

What is "Hard"?
HARD seems rather subjective. Perhaps the author of the plan left it that way knowing there would be a loss of speed after not racing or doing speed work for over a month. I aimed for my Interval pace for the 5 minutes hard, but hit lower than where the Vdot calculator has me (about 6:15-6:30 for 6 repeats). It felt "hard" though, so that must count for something! As I see it, I am "knocking the rust loose" and it will take time for my legs and lungs to remember. Perhaps I need to do to short race to find out where my real Vdot is, but I hate to waste money and not get a PR. So maybe I will do a little time trial instead.


Due to the mileage increase, I have been experimenting a bit with nutrition.On today's run I wore a hydration belt. This was while on the TM, because I fully expected to ditch it within the first mile, like every other belt I have ever worn....

photo by google

But, it stayed on! I really need to get used to one, because I believe I could take minutes off of my marathon PR simply by hydrating better.

 Nutrition Questions for you*:

Do you fuel while you train? Why or why not? 

Do you count calories in regards to training?

*I plan to follow this up with a "rare" performance-related nutrition post.

We had a wonderful Christmas, there are so many things I have to be thankful for. We are truly blessed to serve a Living God who showed us His mercy by sending Jesus- His son- as a ransom for us!

A few things I especially found Joy in this Christmas:
  • Having both my parents and Jon's  parents to our home on Christmas Day.
  • Spending Christmas Eve with our church family singing, worshiping and eating treats.
  • Finding out a friend of ours is breast cancer-free, for the second time!
  • Finding out that I don't have skin cancer...Thank you for the push there, Mom.
  • Seeing a sunrise on Christmas Eve morning run (while out of town), that took my breath away. Deep plum, dark gray streaks, fading to bright salmon pink and silver.
  • Keeping things SIMPLE

Some photos from our Christmas:
We never taught our children about Santa....but they find him irresistible.
Writing his own letter ...He asked for snow. :)

Oh boy!  Cabela's fun...


  1. Ahh, a Raina post. I relate to so much of what you talk about here. So great to hear more about your training. I read a bit about that sunset and your hard workout in your training on your blog but nice to read about it more in a blog post. Your hard workout sounded great...would have kicked my butt! And I have yet to get to 70 miles even off of mostly easy (if you count a typical week). This week I was hoping for 70 before my race on Sunday but I took today off after realizing that I had run the 85 in 7 freaked me out because really I have no business running that many miles right now. I'd rather be overly cautious than overly confident and injured. The day off was nice.

    Waylon is fiddling with his training schedule today after a good run this afternoon. I'm excited for him. He will be starting without a base though but I'm still excited to see him thinking that he could do this!! Please pray for him that he can stay injury free and smart.

    Calorie counting...let's chat more. Come up to Portland and have girl time!! :) I don't count my calories but I'm thinking it might be wise just to make sure I'm getting all that I need. As you know, with kids pulling us every which way, it is easy to get busy and forget to eat enough (at least for me). And I don't typically fuel during workouts besides water. Even my super long runs...I don't usually use gels or fuel...I suppose if the it is over 15 miles, I consider it. I used a fruit leather strip on mile 14 of my 16 miler last week and I liked it so much better than gel. But not nearly the same amount of carbs. I'm learning though. I want to have a plan for Boston. And I love my hydration pack...sometimes it gets annoying but most of the time, not a problem. It was great during the Sauvie marathon. In Boston, I don't think I'll need it with water stops at every mile and so much support. Might try your straw trick though.

    I hear you on spending money on a race without a PR...I'm getting to that point so this Sunday better be a PR even after 60 miles in the weekly bank. I need one. Or rather, I want one. I'm due. ;)

    Okay, I'll stop rambling now. Again, so great to see a Raina post. I miss you. Keep up the good work with training. Maybe we can meet up for a spring race before our marathons.

  2. holy moly, sorry for the book there. Yikes, it has just been way too long since I've left an Amanda comment...I felt like you were due. Yikes!

  3. Here's where I stand with nutrition pre/post run. If it's an easy, breezy run, I do nothing- just go.

    If I ate a very light dinner or feel honestly *hungry*, I will sip some Gatoraide Prime before a workout. (I can't do solid foods before running. This is 2nd best for me.) I also drink this before my long runs (16+).

    During long runs, I carry a hand-held bottle and take a gel during the run, usually at about mile 11ish.

    In the summer months, I will carry a hand-held on ANY run/workout over an hour b/c it is blazin, scorching hot here. :)

    Something I did few years ago was throw away my scale and quit counting calories. This was so liberating. For a lot of women, this is a huge step and is very difficult. For me, it has helped more than any diet plan out there. I have never had more energy and finally (FINALLY) feel comfortable with my body. *Side note- I do use a pair of skinny jeans as a guide. If they get tight- time to rein things in...

    Happy New Year!

  4. I love my hydration pack. Yes, it adds weight, but I love not having to stop for water. I don't count calories, just eat when I am hungry. I have never had an issue of loosing too much weight:) so I think I am OK. I don't take anything during short runs, except maybe a shot block during a tempo or speed. I do take one gel or 2 during 20+ milers.

    I hear you on losing speed. After one week of super super slow running, I am so sore after just a little speed. I am nowhere near where I was, and I can't push it right now because I am sore. Grr! But, patience. I am sure you will feel like yourself very soon, Raina. I love following your training. Darn, too bad I can't comment:)
    Oh, and love Matthew's letter to Santa. To the point:)

  5. I would love to hear more about what you're doing with nutrition. I have really struggled with this in the past and now that I am ramping up my training again I really need to focus on this! It isn't this time for me as much about weight as it is fueling my runs so that my performance can match!

    Love the letter to should say send me everything boy!

  6. Love this post Raina especially the things you found joy in over Christmas♥ The Santa letter is so cute!
    I have tried several hydration belts and just don't like how they bounce around. I have got to find something as the summers out here are brutal. I'm considering a hand held bottle.
    I struggle with nutrition because I'm trying to loose weight at the same time build up my mileage. I know I don't eat enough. I too would like to hear more about how you are finding the right balance.
    Have a blessed New Year!

  7. Ah Raina! Great to see a blog post from you! Actually, I'm realizing here that I missed the one below too!! I was just going to email and I saw Amanda's FB post so I signed in here! Now, you get a blog comment AND an email. I know, you're so lucky:)

    Always love to read about your training and related thoughts. Great job on your consecutive high mileage weeks-you are stepping into your next phase in a very good place!! Yes, Hard-moderate etc. subjective. I think at this point in training, effort plays a huge part though. Part of my "moderate" portion of my run the other day was slower than I would have liked but my effort level was harder than "moderate" I'm accepting that right now as I really just start to break into my plan. (read MF's post the other day about her long run and her effort etc.) My hard pace OR effort is MUCH slower than yours-ha ha! 6:15 is like my "run from the cops" in college effort-ha ha!

    I just started wearing a hydration belt this summer. In reality, I DON'T love it but it serves a great purpose-much better than trying to run with a handheld or laying water bottles out everywhere. I've never tried to wear it for a race and I probably never will but the marathon's I've run have been VERY big with great water support so I haven't needed it. I don't drink nearly as much in the winter so I don't use it now. My long runs are usually done on a loop where I can grab my water bottle every 5.6 miles out of my car. How BORING and there are NO beautiful Elk! I don't take many gels at this point in training. I've taken 4 total since my marathon. One on a HM TT and 3 on a 22 mile long run-just water and heed or powerade zero. I will start to take more gels closer to the race and perhaps I should be taking them now???.... I can eat and run though! I've been knowing to be running and having my hubby bring me an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana and barely breaking stride-ha! I don't count calories but I'm not at risk for not getting enough. I'm looking forward to your nutrition related post!!

    Yes, you have SO much to be thankful for for Christmas. Cabela's fun is right. I'm thinking of suing Cabela's actually for 2 lamp shades and punitive damages for a welt on my cheek....Love your pics as always!

  8. Guns and swords and fishing equipment - sounds like my husband's wish list haha! I do train with nutrition. Not really in a counting calorie way but more of a trying to keep food in the system so I don't pass out kind of way (if that makes sense...).

  9. I have just taught myself in this cycle to fuel while doing long runs and it has made a huge difference in my ability to execute the workout. I have been eating a light breakfast (Special K usually, or some other low-fiber cereal), then taking a Gu before heading out. Then I eat Shot Bloks every four miles or so. It gets harder for me to eat them the longer I'm out, so I try to "front-load". But lately I've been OK eating them even in the later miles. This is what I'm hoping to do in my race in 2.5 weeks.

    I don't fuel for easy runs and I haven't been ahead of speed/tempo either, though today on my speed workout I did drink some Gatorade because as I was falling asleep I realized I was hungry.

    I HATE hydration belts, too, so I rely on the aid stops in races. I wonder if this holds me back as far as times go....but the annoyance of having to carry something might hold me back, too, if only psychologically....Ah, well, still learning, right?

    Will be interested to hear how your strategy for this evolves!

  10. As I said, I don't wear a belt in races but I do on long runs. I sometimes carry a handheld instead - I'm not sure whether I like it better or not.

    I don't count calories. I do fuel on long runs, with whatever gel/block I got in my last race goodie bag! Or with dried fruit. Last LR I ate a sample-size Clif bar, and it was fine. Sometimes I put Heed in my water bottle(s) instead (I got a big container of it from LA Runner, who doesn't like it, in preparation for a race I was going to do that uses it...and then DNS'ed it due to the sfx).

    I want to see your program, yes!

  11. Raina! so good to see this post! sounds like things are going great for you! you have become so strong this year. your workout sounded great.....the workouts JOhn has be me starting in January....I won't be doing anything faster than 7min pace....why do I feel so behind everyone else???

    Fuel. This is a good questions. I have always thought it was important to practice fueling in long runs so that I can know how to fuel in my marathon. I don't fuel on tempos, seepdwork etc. John actually told me not to eat before 5K's ...that is't better for the body to learn to do without on shorter stuff.

    I am hoping to have a good plan set before boston when it comes to fuelling b/c I agree it can make ALL the difference ina good race. I don't count calories. I probably should once ina while....b/c I could be getting too much or too little. really have NO idea! I find it all so overwhelming trying to figure out if I'm getting enough carbs,protein, calories etc!......then when I start thinking about it I get discouraged and feel like I'll never get it right!!!

    Christmas sounded delightful. I had a sunrise like that too that just made my whole day after my morning run. we are so blessed!!!
    hope you are coming up soon? miss you!! xxx

  12. Sounds like a lovely Christmas! We worked hard to keep things simple too, as much as was in our control. :) The only time I fuel is on runs over 14-15 miles... I don't like gu/gels but prefer to use dried fruit or nut/date balls and recently started wearing a fuel belt for those distances, too.

  13. Love Matthew's letter to Santa! Sounds like a boy!! ;o) Fuel while I run = yes, if the run is 90min or more. I have a Gu Energy Gel about halfway through and then every 30min...I also have a half a banana before I get started on those long ones. Calorie counting = yes. I need to make sure I am getting the right kind of nutrition even if I'm not trying to gain/lose weight.

  14. Hi Raina! You know you run way more miles on regulare basis than I. Some day I will have more time for it all, and less injuries. However, for it is worth for my peak training needs I fuel up with peanut butter and yogurt. Not all together. that would be yuck - or maybe not? :) Spoonful 3-4 shots of PB a day, and Brown Cow Yogurt is my love of life when I am putting in the miles. Two a day - breakfast and afternoon or evening snack. I also eat more baked potato's as well during these times. Training in the dry desert has lead me to load up not so much with carbs - but potassium rich foods. Taters gives me the best of both worlds of Carbs and Potassium. I need that electrolyte balance.

    Hydration - used to be an issue, but not so much for a few years now. Again, living in the desert your body just gets used to less. However, I try to stay hydrated through the days. Running - I carry a handheld now on really hot days and on long runs in general. I used to use a hydration pack, but now only use if I hit the trails for a long one. There are enough mini-marts, taco shops, McD's and other stops to refill my handheld when needed on all my routes. I always take a few endurolyte capsules along for the run when it is hot.

    Go Huskies! Alamo Bowl tonight!

  15. I'm glad you got a skin issue checked, you can never be too careful!!

    I only use fueling during a hard workout if I didn't eat well that day or the night before because I don't want to bonk or hurt myself. I will take a bottle of water mixed with HEED(Hammer)that has electrolytes and matlodextryn. I take this on my last two long runs before the marathon. This is my choice because I'm a little older and don't always eat enough due to work, etc.

    Many track friends/running and training friends and our track coach say that you shouldn't fuel on any runs before a marathon so that you can teach your body to make it's own fuel. This truly works for many and then they just fuel during their marathon. I get tummy problems from GUs so I will do the same for the marathon that I did for my training runs. My husband is going to hand me bottles throughout the race! This is my first attempt at this...we'll see in a few weeks how it worked!

  16. I am a little late on this one, but Merry Christmas!

    On to the nutrition question-I live in Texas, so Hydration is an absolute must!! I don't do the sweat test, although I should, but I go by how it feels and find that every 15 minutes taking 3-4 big sips of water best. I get pretty bad "gas mileage" on long runs, so I do 300 solid calories an hour before, and I always do my Power Gels-my advice is to play with the spacing out of them.

    I think personal rules of thumb are good and give you confidence. For yours truly along with water, its a gel withing the first :45 and then 1 or 2 more every :30 if the milege is 14 or more. And I typically do the caffeinated ones, for whatever reason I can focus better with them.

    ...not scientific, but hey its something:)

  17. Merry Christmas! I was excited to read this post and all the comments that have been written. I know very little about nutrition and running. This is how little I know...I used water and skittles as my nutrition during my marathon. Luckily I ended up meeting a knowledgeable man who had me take a few salt packets and start drinking gatorade at the water stations. The most painful part of my whole marathon was the horrible stomach cramps I had that afternoon. I really needed this post!

  18. Great pictures of a Christmas to remember with also a real meeting with Santa!!!
    I fuel only after 28/30 km but only Gatorade or similar + water to avoid stomachache.
    I don' t count calories because I don't want to finish my strength during a workout or a race.
    Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family.

  19. Great questions! I know it is very important to fuel during long efforts, but I never really have. I am working on it starting tomorrow! As for calorie counting, I have in the past to a tee, but now if I do it is just an estimate to ensure I get enough.

  20. i think fueling before and after is crucial. I think you know from Matt Dixons podcast what we practice, but it makes a WORLD of a difference. And as for long efforts, fueling during. Great questions!

  21. I use to keep track of calories, protein, fiber, fat and carbs, but I eat when I'm hungry.

    When I run about 10 miles+ or do some speedwork, I usually eat gels or clifbloks (often one gel every 45 minutes). OTOH, sometimes I skip eating anything because I've read that's a good idea, too. I almost always eat something before I run, though.

    Usually, I run at a park, where there are water fountains, but if I want to drink something besides water (usually something with sodium in the heat), I wear my fuel belt or even my Camelbak.

  22. I used a calories counting apparently after having my baby for about 3 months until I took off the weight. I don't count calories, but I never over eat so I don't have problems. If I feel like I'm packing on pounds I cut out evening snacks for a few weeks.
    I always take gels during my weekly long runs, about every 5 miles. Sometimes I even take them if I'm doing a mid week longer run on the treadmill. I also have clifbar blocks on hand and sometimes I will chew one in the morning. I also take salt during my ling runs all year round (salt stick). I don't carry water, we just stop for it every once in a while. On ling runs we stop every 4 miles. Hope this helps!

  23. Gosh! I typed this on my smart phone! Hope you can make sense of that!

  24. I never count calories. Calories? What are those:) I drink water and eat Gu while training on long runs. Oh yeah, and always have a filling breakfast before and have a clif bar handy for right after. Good luck with your training and Happy New Year!
    My Running Shortz

  25. I use my distance running as an excuse to eat like a 16 year old. Not really a good idea - bad habits and likely not supporting healthy distances. However, I am a super hydrator the day before and morning of my runs - I swear it's the differences between good and great races. On longs I have a weird regimen of one cliff shot or 3 sports beans every mile - if I feel I need them or not. Keep me chugging.


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