This Saturday, BB and I ran a sixteen miler. It was a glorious day. We headed out a little after 7 am, and kept up a jogging pace. It was about 65 degF, and not too humid. A nice light breeze from time to time. My neuroma didn’t bug me too much… just a “bunched sock” kind of sticky feeling, not any “funny bone” kind of zaps. I can tolerate that. We’ve made some improvements to how we do long runs, that have really helped my endurance.
We carry a lot of water. I use the CamelBak marathoner. It holds 2L of water, and if it’s going to be hot or humid (or both) I stick a bottle of Gatorade in one of the pockets too. Water is crucial for long runs. Before, I used to have this weird, stupid bravado about running without water. That’s possible for me up to about 8 miles in decent weather, but the distances I’m running now, and the heat and humidity I have to run in to train for a fall marathon, require me to drink on the run. And I don’t know quite why I ever thought badly of it. Proper hydration allows me to run further and more comfortably, which is my goal.
We carry a lot of calories. On this sixteen miler, I ate two peanut butter Powerbars (260 kcal each) and half a strip of Cliff’s shot bloks (100 kcal). This being after a breakfast of coffee and granola that was probably worth 300 kcal. So, in total, I had almost 1000 kcal before and during the run, which my GPS estimated at 2311 kcal. Of note, there, is the kind of calories you burn. Some people put on weight during marathon training because they think they can eat anything because of all the calories they burn. But it’s a lot easier to EAT 2000 kcal than to RUN 2000 kcal. I have to be careful this way. I will easily delude myself into thinking I can eat way more than I should.
Body Glide. Chafing is a major problem for me if I’m not careful. My nipples used to get it, but I discovered a good fabric for my shirts, and that wearing them a little tighter and giving up on modesty and self-shame about my body allows me to avoid the upper body chafing. But I will chafe at the thigh without a significant slathering of Body Glide. And we are now getting into distances where I’m going to need to stop and reapply.
Salt. I sweat a lot, and it’s very salty sweat. I get little salt crusts on the zippers of my arm bands and things like that. Losing electrolytes will really screw with your performance and how you feel. So we’ve started carrying a little Ziploc baggie of salt with us. I’m considering looking into a salt tablet of some kind. I also like the shot bloks that have extra sodium in them. Being able to keep going long distances when you sweat like I do requires attention to electrolytes, because hyponatremia sucks a lot and can be fatal.
So I’ve discovered that running long distances requires a lot more planning and thinking and equipment that I expected. It seems like you ought to be able to just go out and run and run and run. But when I try to do that, I’m limited by about 10 miles and I feel like hell at the end. This weekend, doing things right, I felt pretty good at the end of 16 miles. It took us nearly three hours. We weren’t breaking any speed records. But we ran and ran and ran, and I’m really happy with the result.