Tag Archives: Sports

Refueling During Long Runs

For those of you who aren’t aware, I am running the Cambridge half marathon in just over a weeks time. I have run these races before so I know what to expect but this time I am on a mission. I had a lesson taught to me a while back (see here) and I have been training fairly hard since Christmas. I am feeling fairly confident although there is just one more area I need to explore: nutrition.

Cambridge Half Marathon 2013

When I am running a fair distance and start to get tired my head goes all sort of, well, ‘fuzzy’ or numb. I assume that it happens because my body is redirecting its energy to my muscles? Whatever the reason, I hate that feeling. Also, as a lot about running is in your mind, I wish to sort this out. I need to be mentally strong otherwise the urge to give up becomes too strong. ūüė¶

One final push to make me want to get on top of this is the events of my last half marathon where I did really well only to fade badly on the last mile.

In the past I have ‘dabbled’ with those chalky tablets:

These have helped with my head but I have not really taken it very seriously and so probably have not got the best from them.

This week I have done a bit of research and found out some interesting things:

  1. The body can only cope with some energy in the form of sugar. Too much gives you nausea. (One of my fears.)
  2. When running the idea is to replenish some of the energy that has been lost, not all. Research suggest that this should be 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour for runs over 60 minutes.
  3. It is recommended that you should take a large swig or two of water or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. (I have looked at the importance of water even in cold weather here.)
  4. A pre-workout snack can give you a mental boost.(Trouble is I know that you should eat before already, maybe I need to look at what I should be eating?)
  5. The carbohydrates you eat in the build up to a race will be stored as glycogen. This gives your muscles energy. The carbohydrates you eat an hour before your race goes through your bloodstream, giving you proper blood sugar for mental energy.
  6. Good practice seems to be  to eat a snack an hour or two before or a meal three to four hours before your run. The snack should contain plenty of carbohydrate for energy. The meal, in addition to carbohydrates should also include some protein  as protein is essential for muscle repair. Clark suggests either eating a 100-200 calorie snack  20 to 60 minutes before exercise or waking up early to eat a larger meal, even if that means going back to sleep for a few hours. This way your blood sugar levels will be normal because you will have re-fueled your liver glycogen, which depletes overnight.

All the above makes perfect sense to me but this last bit of advice is practically the most useful:

A general rule of thumb is to take in about 100 calories after an hour of running, and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that.

I can do that ūüôā

Last week when I went on a 12 mile run I ate 2 jelly babies after every mile (from about 4). This worked really well for me, keeping my head with me. The biggest problem with this is carrying them. They are quite big and bulky. One of my friends suggested taking Kendal Mint Cake as it is probably almost pure sugar – a good idea except for point number 1 maybe?

This week I bought myself some ‘proper’ running gels. I have always been put off buying these in case they upset me and also because I mistakenly believed that I did not need to take on fuel when training. (WHY???)

Having overcome all that nonsense I took one of these at 7 miles. It gave me an instant hit (once I got over the sticky, sickliness of it that is) and boosted my mood no end. I then took another one around 10 miles which probably helped me to keep going through the last 3 miles, especially when I thought that I was not going to make the time that I had wanted to. Far too easy to stop and give in I am afraid, but I didn’t. I still felt very tired but I do think they made a difference. The gels I have contain 80 cals per pack so I feel justified in having one after 30 minutes rather than waiting the extra 10.

To summarise this I shall be running with a bottle of water (an extra-large one bought especially this week) as well as the 2 remaining gels I have. Maybe with these I shall finally run the race of my dreams? (I will not be holding my breath on that one!)

Do you use anything on a longer run? What works for you?


As always, click on the pictures to be taken to the image source.




Hot, hotter and even hotter!


A couple of weeks ago you may remember that I had a bit of a panic (here) with a half marathon rapidly approaching with very little training having taken place. Well last Sunday was the big day! I have to be honest that it was not the most enjoyable day ever (I should not have done it would be closer to the mark!).


With two weeks to go I set to my training in the best way that I could:




Average Pace

Monday  20th August


3.15 miles




3.26 miles






4 miles




10 miles






Average Pace

Monday 27th August


6 miles





8 miles






10 miles




As you can see not much really! It was still holiday time and it is hard to not completely go overboard and over train!


Two days before the race a had a really encouraging text from a fellow participant to say that it was forecast to be 28′ on Sunday. Great! We have the wettest summer on record and yet the one weekend when I don’t want hot sun I get it. I do not run in heat. I read these blogs of people in America where they train in 30+ temps regularly but I am simply not built for it.

Grunty Fen

This is the name of the race and, as suggested takes place in the fens. For those of you who don’t know about fens they are very, very flat (great for runners) and consist of long straight roads through boring countryside:

Now I don’t mind the fens at all, we have great sunsets and you can literally see for miles but wind and sun are exaggerated here. There is no shade at all and therefore no shield from the wind either. Just long straight uneven tarmacked roads!

English: Stubble field, Grunty fen Flat arable...

Race Organisation

Brilliant! There were drink stations every 3 miles with sponges as well. There were also a few hose-pipes being sprayed which were more than welcome! For anyone who had problems there were first aiders cycling the route regularly and so able to get to wherever they were needed. (Unfortunately they were needed too ūüė¶ )

My Race

Very unpleasant indeed! I ran the race with two others. we did very well for the first half and then by mile 10 we seriously began to flag. With the race starting at 10.30 it was nearly mid-day by now, supposedly the hottest part of the day. Here is the break down for you:

Mile 1: 9.19 pace

Mile 2: 9.27 pace

Mile 3: 9.30 pace

Mile 4: 9.19 pace

Mile 5: 9.27 pace

Mile 6: 9.30 pace

Mile 7: 9.32 pace

Mile 8: 9.33 pace

Mile 9: 9.29 pace

Mile 10: 10.07 pace

Mile 11: 10.26 pace

Mile 12: 10.19 pace

Mile 13: 10. 58 pace

As you can see things were going ok until mile 10 where they got progressively worse. I think that we started off too fast but it is always easy to be wise after the event!

What next?

I have another race planned for the end of October which will not be anywhere near as hot! I am now going to run 10-13 miles every week with two 6 ish miles in between. I never ever want to feel so horrible ever again! No doubt life may well have a say in whether I manage to keep this plan going or not (I have already been ill this week so no running taken place yet!) Watch this space to see.


Too much running?

Running Too much?

Last week I found a new blog (well new to me!): healthyfrenchie, Reading this really made me think about my training. I spend a lot of time running. Now this is for several reasons

1. It is quicker than going to the gym (no traveling required!)

2. It is effective

3. (Probably the most influential) When training for my half marathons earlier this year running is the training you do!


Now this may sound really obvious as training to run a half marathon is going to involve running! However reading the lovely blog healthyfrenchie and also watching some documentaries on Olympian athletes I have realised that I have very much neglected much of my body (in terms of fitness that is.) Running is not going to tone my upper body. Does this matter? Honestly – I am not actually sure but I have had a bit of a shake up!

The Gym.

On Saturday I headed off to the gym and, after running outside  (3 miles) I did some weight work on my upper body. It felt quite good and I really ached the next day (evidence to how much I had neglected this!)

The Garden!

Yes you read correctly. Monday evening I did a workout in the garden (and I have a very small garden at that!). My wonderful husband came home and said that he would quite like to go the golf course. Of course I said fine! Only, however because I was thinking about this post from Healthyfrenchie: Making Up Your Own Workout. I can definitely do that thinks me and so I did. With the company of my eldest son and the timing abilities of my next eldest we had quite a good workout. (yes I do ache!)

My Personal Workout!

I did 1 minute of each exercise x2!

1.        2.                 3.

Step ups                                                     dips                                        star jumps

4.              5.                      6.

bench step ups                              walking lunges                                      push ups

7.               8.  Burpees (no image!)             9.

Squat jumps                                                                                                     plank

10.             11.         12.

Jump lunges                                        sit ups                                            shuttle runs

13. Boxing!

So what do you think? Is it fairly balanced? Can anyone give me some bicep and back exercises to add in? Fancy giving it a go?

I am going to do a bit more research into training so will get back to you in due course.