Week 6 - Chicago Marathon Training and Fueling Issues

Only 6 weeks to go. Yikes. This past week didn't go as planned. Like at all. But I still feel good about it. I couldn't handle back to back hard days on Tuesday and Wednesday because I went pretty hard on the hill run on Monday night. By Wednesday, my legs were done so I did a recovery run and ended up doing a lactate threshold repeat session on Thursday morning that I crushed (yah!).

The long run has really torn me apart this training cycle though. I dread it each week and lack confidence when I start. By mile 7 I'm talking myself out of it and my pacing gets totally screwed. I've had such a hard time fueling which I think is causing a lot of anxiety. I know I can't run 20 miles without refueling my system during the run. I thought I found what worked for me when I was training for Portland last year. That same formula is not working anymore. While I love Honey Stinger waffles and chews for pre and post run fuel, the gels make my stomach churn now. I think it's the sweet flavor and the sugar content that really make it difficult to swallow. I like the idea of something liquidy because it's easy to take with water. When I first started running marathons, I tried to take the chews during a run and couldn't handle chewing and running at the same time. It threw off my breathing. When I posted my dilemma to Instagram this past weekend after my 20 miler, I got lots of good feedback for optional fueling. I've put them all in a list below if you're interested in trying any of these out.

I'm going to start with a real food option (I'm thinking sweet potatoes and the dried apricots) which means I'll have to try chewing and running again! I like the convenience of packaged products - they tend to be smaller and easily fit in the few compartments I have. 

I only have a few runs left to find something that works for me before Chicago, so some of the options are out, like Generation UCAN - I've heard great things about this in the ultra runner realm, but I've also heard it takes time for your body to adjust to it. I'll probably look at it during my next training cycle. I think I'm going to pick up some of the Huma Gels because I've heard they are not as sweet as traditional gels and they still have the convenient gel packaging. Tailwind Nutrition also sounds like it would be a good option without the sugary taste. Most of the suggestions have a bit too much sugar in them still and I think that's what really upsets my stomach. We will see! Thank you to everyone who responded. Now onto my training this week.

Week 6 Schedule:

Monday: 5.5 aerobic miles + weights
Tuesday: Track - 2/3 m w/u, 6 x 600, 2 mile c/d (8 miles total)
Wednesday: 13 mile progression run
Thursday: 6 miles (AM) + 4 miles (PM)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 18-20 miles w/ 10 at marathon pace (really ambitious for my mind to handle, so we will see)
Sunday: 6 mile trail run

I'm looking forward to the trails this weekend as they've really helped me strengthen my ankles and feet and are so much fun! I'll keep you posted on how the fuel situation unfolds.

Any fueling sources you use that aren't listed here?

How do you deal with mental blockage during a long run?

J