This weekend was the first long run in my marathon training program. According to FIRST, it should be 13 miles at Marathon Pace plus thirty seconds. For me, that means 13 miles at an average pace of 8:30. I ran two loops around my hilly seven mile course in Westchester County, which has about 300 feet of elevation gain and loss per loop. A couple of tough hills and then other rolling pieces and some flats. Plus, I know where to strategically hide water and gel along my route so that I don't have to carry it with me.
Without getting into boring splits (which I'll post below for my own review later in this 16 week cycle), I ended up going 14.1 miles with average pace of 8:21. Felt pretty tired after, and my left calf muscle was killing me. Tight, and just sore. It is still sore two days later, but not so bad.
For gel, I tried something new -- Accelerade Gel. It was good, and I liked it. Accelerade's hook is that it has some protein in it, so, according to its science, it is absorbed faster by the body. I couldn't tell really. But it tasted OK, had a decent texture, and did not upset my stomach. I also drank Accelerade sports drink, and it tasted OK I guess. One thing I did taste and seemed to give me a boost was Amino Vital drink. Amino Vital supplies amino acids, and given that amino acids are supposed to help create energy in cells, the theory is more amino acids means more energy. I have no idea if that is correct. But I did have a chug of drink at mile 7 and it seemed to really help. I am little hesitant to build too much of it into my workouts because it is not available in any race or in the marathon.
As for diet,I forgot how hungry a big run can make me. I ate like a mad man all day. Pretzels, chips, bread, steak, potatoes, beer, you name it. Now I remember why it is so hard to lose weight while training -- my appetite is just huge. And yesterday (Sunday), the day after, I was still starved and gorged on carbs too. But my weight was only up three pounds from my carb-less state. (Eating or not eating carbs significantly affects water retention, and for me can produce a swing of up to 5 pounds.) So, I am not worried about relative weight right now.
One week down, 15 to go. This week's long run will be 15 miles at 8:45 pace. I may run on flat course this week to give calf muscles a week off from hard stuff.
And I had many technology glitches this weekend. Managed to erase my iPod Touch. And I left my Nano at the gym, which is a real disaster because it had all my running lists and tunes. And I love that Nano -- so much so that I am giving up my Touch soon.