Every runner out there started somewhere. Some were lucky enough to start when they were wee little ones, maybe they had parent runners or an influence in school that led them to the fantastic world of running. Whatever the case, I’ve met quite a few folks now that got a jump-start at an early age and have just continued on, with perhaps a lapse of time here and there where they took a break and did other things. These runners *usually* are versed in shoes, clothing, gear, and racing strategies. They’ve had time to adapt to the changes that have occurred in the big world of running…shoes going from flat to fat to flat. Shirts going from cotton to tech to super ultra tech. Shorts going from mega short to short to spandex to bun hugger. Fuel going from PB&J to granola to Gatorade to GU and gel back to PB&J and granola. Handheld bottles, hip packs, vests, headlamps, arm warmers, calf sleeves, compression, foam rollers…the runner who’s been around has tried it and figured out what works for them and what doesn’t.
When you’re new to running you’ll get a lot of advice. Sometimes it will fit what you’re doing, sometimes it won’t. Runners are quirky and individual. Sometimes something that works for one causes problems for another. Does that mean if you’re having issues or trying something new you shouldn’t ask for advice? Definitely not. It just means that instead of getting advice and taking it as a rule, take the advice as something to try and know it will be a trial with potential error and be ready to move on to the next piece of advice is that’s the case. Also when you share your tried-and-true-for-you…share it with “it worked for me” versus “this is the only way to do it” especially when doling it out to a new running friend.
I’m helping someone run their first 5K. She asked me about wearing a fuel belt. She gets very thirsty when she runs and 5K’s don’t have water stops.
I first asked where she is training (indoor or outdoor). She is training indoors, on a treadmill and drinking constantly from a bottle she has on the machine. Now when she goes outside, she needs the water while running.
What was my advice?
I first explained that I too am a new runner so she should take my advice and decide whether to follow it based on that. She also should go talk to a few more runners to gather a bit more knowledge on the subject and then decide what she would like to do and then make a plan. For water, I drink a full bottle of water approximately 1 hour before going on a run or racing. I found that even if I *feel* thirsty, it’s really just a dry mouth due to sucking air/wind and as long as I’ve properly hydrated the day before a race/training run and the morning of a race/training run- I don’t actually need any form of liquid until I’ve been running for a little over an hour and when it’s cool out I can go up nearly 2 hours on that initial bottle alone. If it’s extremely hot out, I try to run a route that has water available within 4-5 miles. If she could teach her body to run on a hydrated tank just for the 5K distance, there will be a treat of water at the finish line for that well done run. Yay, carrot on a stick. If it’s dry mouth bothering, some people run well with gum (I burped too much when I tried but apparently it’s great for a lot of folks).
The water talk got me to thinking. I’m going to be attempting longer distances now. Yesterday I ran 11 miles and was able to do that easily with my normal bottle of water before running and a chug out of a drinking fountain at mile 6. My assumption is that when I get to runs that are >15 miles I’ll need to actually drink and eat more than water from a fountain though I have no actual knowledge of what or how. I do know that I hate fuel belts. I tried to run with one on a 10 mile run with Mark B and it was a complete fail. I also hate carrying things in my hands. I realize that leaves the hydration pack you wear on your back. My upper body strength is rated at a 3 out of 10 so that makes me a little wary. Besides that, I don’t know when or what to drink or eat in order to actually be efficient or not have to poop six times in the woods. I guess with a pack at least I can have TP. That’s s bonus. So—People who run with these, what do you eat? What do you drink? And better yet…when? Can I wait until I hit 20 miles? Is that asking for trouble?
This post has been brought to you by… the wrinkles in my forehead.