Thursday, February 13, 2014

Half Marathon Q&A

One of our readers is running her first half marathon (Congrats, Angela M.!) and has some newbie questions. I had the same ones when I first started training, so I thought it would be great to share in a post. See below for the little Q&A. Also, feel free to comment and share your own personal experiences. -Andrea

Q. How soon before your race should you break in new shoes?

A. Not too soon. Waiting too close to the race to break in new shoes may cause problems for your feet. Most suggest having at least 40-50 miles on them before running in a race, so it all depends on your training schedule. Also, running shoes should be replaced around every 300-500 miles, depending on the shoe, something to keep in mind after you break them in. If you haven't been fitted for running shoes I suggest heading to Runners Roost, or the like, to get a running analysis. This will ensure you are getting a shoe with the proper support.

Q. What do you guys use for music, iPod, iPhone or something else? I assume light weight is better? What about an app while running the half?

A. I have used the Spotify app for all my races. I have the premium version ($10 a month), which lets me listen to my playlists offline. This saves on storage on my phone, plus I can add and create playlists quickly. I skip the armband and use a Flipbelt, which I also use to hold my energy chews, ID, etc.

Q. Do you watch your time? If so, do you use a watch, fit-bit, or an iPod/iPhone? I worry about battery life.

A. I do watch my time but it really is personal preference. Most races have times next to their mile markers so you can estimate your pace. I use my iPhone and turn it on airplane mode so no calls come through. To save battery life I turn off the cellular and limit to WiFi. My battery has yet to die during a race. As for apps, I use Runtastic, but any running app will do. My brother uses a GPS watch, which works great too.

Q. Do you carry your own electrolytes or energy bars? Do you actually eat something while running? How does this work? I typically run on an empty stomach, how far in advance should I eat and what do I eat?

A. I do carry my own energy gels. It's best to try them before your race, as you will want to find the ones best suited for you. There are so many flavors and brands on the market it may take you a couple of tries to find your favorites. When you should take them is trial and error. Personally, I take one after mile five and another around mile ten or eleven. There's really no set time for everyone. They usually have gels or chews along the course but they may not be at the times you need them. During your longer training runs, it's suggested to eat a little something before running such as oatmeal, a banana, or whole wheat bagel.

Good Luck!!

1 comment:

  1. I have a cheap Ironman Timex watch that I got at Target years ago for runs and races. I find that when I run with a GPS I become a watch hawk - constantly checking pace and mileage. With the Timex watch, I can monitor my pace and ensure that I still hit any time goals I may have set without obsessing about it :).

    Electrolyte replacement and food during the race requires trial and error, as it will vary greatly runner to runner. I sweat - A LOT - and need to do electrolyte replacement. It took me about two races to really hone in on the formula that worked best for me and kept me feeling great during and after a long run. Typically, I take an electrolyte replacement every 30-45 minutes (depending on temperature/humidity) and eat every hour. I'd highly recommend purchasing a few types of food before committing to one. My husband loves gels like Gu, but they make me gag. I use Jelly Beans (the sport ones with caffeine and just plain ol' cherry are my faves). My paleo friends use honey and swear by it. Try a few things and see what works best for your stomach. With regards to eating before I run, I hear you Ang. I hate to run with food in my stomach, but I've learned the hard way that I need to eat before running. To ensure I don't throw up, I eat something small 45 minutes before I head out - usually a cup of coffee and an English muffin with some jelly.