I, like many runners, have always loved the concept of Nuun: a tab you dissolve in your water that gives you all the electrolytes you need without all the sugar, carbs and calories that are in Gatorade or other sports drinks. But the reality of Nuun can be summed up in this picture:
I have never met a Gu I truly liked, and certainly there has never been one that I would even consider eating outside of running and racing. Heck, I often look for ways to fuel during runs and races that don’t involve the sticky, overpowering and thick, fake taste that is Gu Gels. I have tried other brands with much the same result.
But! Recently I had the opportunity to try Huma Chia Energy Gels, and I absolutely love the taste. So far my favorite flavor is cinnamon apple. And I am happy to report that these gels contain the same carb content and electrolyte profile to Gu and similar gels. Here are some pictures to compare as well as the company site for Huma.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on how to set a workout on your Garmin Forerunner watch; today I will introduce you to another feature that many Garmin users are unaware of: the lap button, which is located in the lower right side of most Garmin watches. It’s that little loopy arrow down there.
When your watch is in GPS mode and you are running, the auto lap alert will go off every time you hit the distance that the alert is set for. If you have never changed it, the auto lap alert will go off every mile that you run, basically it’s just the beep you hear every time you hit a mile. You can change this setting inside the activity menu and make the alert go off every half mile or every two miles.
But! You can also change the lap alert as you are running. Every time you hit the lap button, the watch will give you a time since the last time you hit the button. It will then go off one mile from the moment you last hit the button. So what does this mean?
Let’s say I wanted to do a workout that was 2 miles warm up, 4 miles tempo, 2 miles cool down. I got to mile 2 and realized I wanted to add another half mile of warm up. I could hit the lap button at the 2.5 mile mark and the watch would reset the mile lap alert and I could go into my 4 tempo miles knowing my exact pace and distance for the tempo. The lap alert would then be at 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, and so on.
You can use the lap button for fartleks and strides; begin the interval by hitting the lap button and press it again once the interval is done or when it’s time to rest or recovery. You will be able to see the pace and time you ran in that interval on your Garmin Connect read out:
You can use the lap button to get your time and pace for track workouts. If you program an 8×800 (400 rest) workout into your watch and go run that workout on a track, your intervals will be slightly off, GPS is just like that when you are running around and around in an oval. But, if you are on a track, you can use the measurements on the track itself and simply hit the lap button to begin each 800 and press it once more when you cross the 800 finish line, giving you a more exact time and distance.
So get out there and start lapping!
I feel like there is just no beating the Triangle area when it comes to running routes, and the following photo tour is my absolute favorite in this area. It has a little of everything: road, trail, bridle path, greenway, lakes, creeks, hills, and plenty of water and bathrooms stops along the way. A runner cannot ask for a better route!
When I started writing this post, I tried to come up with a catchy title for about a minute before it occurred to me that you can’t sugar coat a bad habit. It is what it is. At the karate school I use to teach at, we would say “Good habits are hard to make but easy to live with; bad habits are easy to make but hard to live with.” That’s a bit too long for a title, but I think it serves as a great lead in to this important topic.
Some bad habits are known to you, others might be things you have never thought of but do anyway, some are things you are neglecting to do, but they all have one thing in common: they make you slower.
A good marathon plan will typically start with 4 weeks of hill training. Within those 4 weeks, the runner will work on three different hill workouts: hill sprints, medium hills, and long hills. I am always scoping out new hills in my long and easy runs, filing them away for the hill module to keep things interesting.
Have you ever let these thoughts creep into your head during a run? They worm their way in and try to convince you to shave off a little distance from your goal, trying to convince you that “this far is enough.”
It’s almost like being back in college. The idea of skipping class occurs to you…maybe when you wake up in the middle of the night and class is at 9:30AM. I could just skip. And there it is, that thought, and now it’s like you have no choice! You are simply doomed to skip class.
I learned that I need to fight these thoughts when it comes to running.
If you bonk in a 10k, miss your PR in a 5k, or simply just have a bad race in a short or middle distance run, the fix can be as simple as waiting a week and trying again. It’s cheap, easy and you don’t need to recover too much from these distances. If you DNF a marathon at mile 23 like I did, you are left holding the shattered remains of 4 months of hard training and dedication, and your body will likely not be ready for another go at the marathon distance for weeks or even months.
In short, you get a lot of time to think about the mistakes you made.
But, for me, it also gave me the motivation to seek change. What can I change? What do I have no control over? If there is a Serenity Prayer for Runners, I found it in Matt Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight. And I made the decision to change the things that I can change and accept the things that are beyond my control.
“You sound like a philosopher.”
That was a comment I got once while on a group run when I happened to get into my “book worm” mode and started talking about the changes I have seen in my running since reading Greg McMillan’s YOU (Only Faster).
That’s me, and it always has been. I love reading, and my running obsession has combined with this love of the written word. There are many fabulous books about running, whether they are more “How to” in nature, stories of personal journeys, or in depth training and nutrition guides. I have gained invaluable knowledge from reading about this sport, and I encourage others to do so as well.
Here is a list of some of my favorite running literature:
The White Oak Creek Greenway runs 6 miles, with a section of sidewalk connector included, from Bond Park in Cary, NC all the way to Green Level Church Road, where it will eventually connect with the 22 mile American Tobacco Trail. This greenway has multiple bathroom, water and rest stops as well as connections to playgrounds, area parks, and schools.