Today I wanted to write what goes into preparing for a long outdoor exercise session. I have a checklist that I check before heading out the door. Trust me when I say that forgetting your sunscreen or water bottle on a hot day is none too pleasant.
- ID: You MUST have some sort of identification on you. Although most likely you will never need it, if something happened to you and you were unable to speak, you would want the paramedics to be able to notify your family and know your name and any medical condition you may have. I have a pocket that attaches to my shoelace in which I keep my house key and a slip of paper with my name, my husband’s phone number and the suggestion that I might respond best to English not Hebrew.
- Sunscreen: I never wore sunscreen before this year when I began to notice brown spots appearing on my cheeks. It’s too late to reverse the damage I’ve already done, but not too late to prevent future damage. Don’t be cocky like me. Just because you don’t burn, doesn’t mean you are not incurring damage that will show up years later. I am seriously bummed out about those spots.
- A hat: Same reason as above, plus protection against heat building up on a dark head like mine. A hat with a brim also keeps rain out of your eyes on a rainy day.
- Sunglasses: My husband and I are addicted to Native Dash XP’s. We have been wearing them for years and would not wear anything else. They are perfection.
- Vaseline or other anti-chafing gel: Anything that rubs – be it skin or fabric – will end up chafing. That’s breasts, nipples, armpits, butt cheeks, testicles (so I’m told), and the elastic band of your undies. Grease it all up! I have used aloe vera gel and Vaseline. Some runners use diaper cream.
- Ibuprofen taped to arm: This is one of the techniques I have worked out during this training period. I tape two advils to my inner arm and one hour into my run, I pop them into my mouth. One hour in and things are starting to swell, especially those knees! Also helpful in case you fall or get blisters or chafing. Goes without saying that I’m not a doctor so don’t take medicine advice from me.
- Kleenex: When I run, so does my nose. Take kleenex to avoid wiping it on your shirt. Stick it in your waistband.
- Music/ipod: If you want to listen to music or a podcast, don’t forget your mp3 player! Sometimes I run with, sometimes without. I am still trying to decide about this year’s race, but I think I will probably use it to dial in my desired pace at the beginning of the race. Running too fast early on is the key mistake long-distance racers make. I use PodRunner Podcasts to match my cadence to a pre-determined steps-per-minute: 174-175 to start the race. Then, after the pack thins out (ie, I get left behind), and I am not tempted to try to keep up, I will probably take the music off and soak in the sounds of the surf, the city, the spectators, the entertainment and my own thoughts.
- Watch and foot pod. I have a Polar RS300X with a SD Foot pod. This is my 2nd year with it and I love it. It tells me time, distance, pace, heart rate, calories burned if I wear the chest strap (which I don’t for running, see chafing above), and all sorts of other cool features.
- However, because last year I had a bit of a disaster with an inaccurate foot pod that led me to believe I should be finished with the finish line nowhere in sight, I now double check my mileage by logging my route into www.sportdistancecalculator.com.
- Food and Drink: Big topic, let me break it down.
If you are exercising for less than an hour, you probably don’t need to eat anything and you can just drink plain water. However, if your workout is going to be longer than 1 hour, you will need to eat something and to drink an electrolyte beverage.
Food during a workout:
Your body generally has enough fuel for about 60-80 minutes of strenuous activity. I personally have found the best results by eating some carbs before I get hungry – at about 80 minutes into the workout. I use a commercial gel called Gu, my raw cookies, or just plain old dates. Runners pin their food into their shorts, or buy shorts with built-in pockets like these big-butt beauties from RaceReady.
First of all, do I get major crazy points for putting a picture of my butt up in public??
If you are overseas and want to order from Race Ready, contact customer service for the lowest shipping option. They shipped my shorts for about $12 USD and marked the package in such a way that it flew right through customs. It also arrived 2 days after I ordered it.
Now, in my case, I have learned via many, many blood sugar crashes that I can’t just eat sweats during my runs. Although I do not have diabetes any more, I do still have hypoglycemia. I don’t eat any sugar in regular life and doing so on my runs doesn’t work well for me. So I mix sweet snacks up with some sandwiches. Yes, I run with two half-sandwiches tucked into my shorts! I’ve been using peanut butter and salt, but a friend suggested marmite and I’m going to try that. I know this is not as easy to digest as the gels and drinks, but it is the only way I have been able to keep my blood sugar steady.
For me, the timing is: 1:20 for the first snack and then every 30-45 minutes until the finish. I expect to be out on the marathon course for over 5 hours, so basically I am a running buffet. Smaller, faster runners with normal blood sugar don’t need to eat quite this much, in case you were wondering. Some probably run the entire race without eating a thing. Everyone is different and you need to figure out what works for you. You will know when it has been too long without food because you will become cranky, tired, your legs will feel like lead and you will want to quit. The classic Hitting the Wall symptoms. It works best if you don’t let yourself get to that point in the first place, hence the buffet in my shorts.
Exercise over an hour and you need to replace electrolytes. You can use a commercial sports drink like Gatorade, or if like me, you want to avoid all that sugar, try Ultima Replenisher, which uses stevia. I couldn’t find it the last time I was in the US and came home with Emergen-C instead. I ran with that for a few weeks, but again, the fructose gave me trouble. So….
I made my own of course!
Emily’s Electrolyte Drink
Squeeze the juice of 2 clementines into your 750 ml sport water bottle. Add 1/4 tsp salt.
Fill with water and shake. Sip during your workout, adding more water as when it becomes available.
I finish about 2-3 of these bottles over a 5 hour period.
BE CAREFUL! Plain water can literally kill you when you are competing in an endurance event!!! People have died from drinking too much plain water without any electrolytes. You need the salt to keep things in balance. Apparently you can buy salt tablets, but I haven’t used them.
OK, you’re all geared up and ready to get out there and RUN!
Five days until my marathon…Pin It