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I’m not sure the energy gels are helping.

hitting-the-wall

Week 4 of marathon training is almost complete!  I’ll try to get in a couple of miles today, along with some PiYO for cross-training, for a total of 18 miles this week.

My long run yesterday was supposed to be 6-8 miles.  I ended up doing only 6.  I hit that dreaded WALL, and I thought about pushing myself to do more, but I thought screw it.  I ran a damn half-marathon last weekend, so I’m good.  As someone who has been running for awhile, whenever I hit a wall, I start to analyze why it’s happening.  For yesterday’s run, lots of reasons started going through my head.  Was it the pub food and two pints of beer I had the night before?  I did a bunch of housework that left me sweaty and tired the morning before the run – mopping, laundry, vacuuming.  Did I eat enough before the run?  Should I be doing my long runs first thing in the morning rather than waiting until later after my Saturday chores are done?  Why?  Why do I hit a wall?

And why aren’t these energy gels that I spent a bunch of money on not helping?  They didn’t seem to help during my half-marathon last week, and they definitely didn’t help for yesterday’s run.

The gels I’m using are the Huma Chia gels; I got a variety pack so that I could try the different flavors.  Not knowing much about energy gels, I’m just wondering if the flavors matter.  Do some flavors provide more energy than others?  Do some brands work better than others?  Do energy gels help some people, but not others?  (Like me. Meh.)  Yesterday I took one right before the run, and then I took another one after 4 miles.  Someone told me that I need to take one before I feel I need it; otherwise, it’s too late.  During yesterday’s run, I was feeling pretty good for the first 4 miles, so I took one after that, but once I got to 6 miles, I felt like I was done.

Here is my fear.  If I hit a wall at 6 miles, or 9 miles, or anything after that, and gels don’t help, how the hell am I going to be able to complete an entire marathon?

Or is it just mental?  Do I need to figure out a way to mentally motivate myself to push through?

I know that every runner has struggles during training and that there will be moments when I have self-doubts and bad runs.  I also know that every runner is different and what may work for one runner may not necessarily work for another.  Perhaps energy gels are not my thing.  If that’s the case, I have to figure out what is my energy gel.

I did receive my medal in the mail for the half-marathon I did last weekend.

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Isn’t it sweet?  I have four medals now: one for a 7-mile race and three for half-marathons!  My medal collection is slowly growing!

Okay, my peeps, I need your advice on this energy gel thing.  I also need to hear what you do when you hit a wall.  How do you push through it?

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13 thoughts on “I’m not sure the energy gels are helping.

  1. The training plan called for 6 – 8 and you did 6, so I’m not quite sure what you’re upset about 😉 Remember that every other week is a cut back on mileage so you are doing great!

    I have no answer on the gels. I take them when I remember, but I can’t really say that they actually help. I do believe a lot of it is mental. There are times when i can run a half on no food/fuel and be fine, and sometimes I struggle through 5 miles. For me though, a lot of it depends on how my tummy is (IBS) as to what I take beforehand.

    I’ve also never tried that particular gel. I look for coffee flavored and what has the most caffeine in it. But because I already drink so much coffee, I don’t think caffeine really even affects me anymore, Lol!

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    1. I don’t really know why I’m being so hard on myself, either. I think it’s because I had it in my head that I was going to do 8 miles. At 4 miles, I felt pretty good and I thought that I’d be able to do the 8 miles, but then I hit 6 and felt like I was done and part of me feels like I just gave up. It was also frustrating that the gels seemed to do nothing to help.

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      1. I think you’re looking at the gels as a sort of magic potion and that’s not really what they are. Also remember all that housework you did before you ran??!! That figures in there as well! Stop beating yourself up – you’re doing fantastic!!

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  2. What a cool medal!

    Race fuel and what it is and when you take it and how much is so personal. Definitely figure it out now, when it’s okay to feel crappy during your long run (rather than at the race)! I eat a lot more than most of my friends with I run long/race long (every 30 mins) but that works for me! There are so many different flavors – try them out, and see how much caffeine you can handle – some have none, some have a little, some have a lot. You can also eat “real” (lol) food or try chews or waffles (well, if you are a “vegan” like me who eats honey, ha ha). But you do definitely want to take them before you feel hungry. Kind of like you want to drink before you are thirsty. You’ll figure out what works for you with practice!

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  3. A marathoner that I train with at the local running store gave me more tips that I like. Chop up snickers or eat jelly beans. Jelly beans or gummy bears are really great on long runs. He also suggested chopped dates and those really help. They pour on the sugar! haha My husband like’s the Huma Chia gels, I prefer GU or Honey Stingers. As I said earlier, I didn’t really know if they worked but that’s when they work! Also I didn’t want to chance hitting the wall.

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    1. I like the Huma Chia gels and will probably continue to use them. They don’t upset my stomach, no matter what flavor I’ve had so far (although the chocolate is definitely my favorite!) and they taste good, so I’ll stock up on them! I’ve tried dates, but I don’t really like to eat them plain. Too sweet or chewy or something!

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