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Short Stops During Long Runs

SJCzar2010-05-01 11:21:16 +0000 #1
I'm in week 8 of a 16 week half marathon training program. It's been going fine so far. I have never been much of a distance runner - except for a short period at least 12-15 years when I was up to 8+ mile weekend runs. The past 3 years I've just been doing occasional 5k runs, a sprint tri, and a few duathlons, so I've never serious trained for distance before.

My longest weekly run has been 8 miles so far. I have just been drinking a bit before I start off and then finishing off a water bottle when I get done. I know that hydrating during longer distance runs would probably be much better then holding off until the end but I get nervous about stopping even for short breaks. I'm afraid that my legs will start tightening up right away and the rest of the run will be more difficult. The half marathon will have water stops every 2 miles so I'm sure it would be to smart to take advantage of at least a few of them. Am I completely wrong to worry about short breaks? Is it something that your body has to get used to? Do you do any stretching before you start off again? Or would I be better off just using a hydration belt and drinking on the go?

Any opinions or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

michelem2010-05-01 11:24:19 +0000 #2
This is just my two cents (if worth that!), and I'm sure others do things differently. For me, I use my training as practice for my actual races. I want to know how my body is going to react to what I do on race day (well, as much as possible!). So, if I am going to be drinking and/or fueling during a race, then I better practice drinking/fueling with the same stuff during my training runs.

I want as much control over everything as possible (ha ha!).

I don't want to hope for the best when I get to the aid stations. I've heard horror stories of runners thinking they were getting water and it being "gatoride" (or equivalent), or vice versa. Or, the runners practice with the beverage advertised to be used in the race and the race volunteers mix it at a different concentration than what they practiced with and that leads to tummy upsets. Or getting to an aid station expecting to be able to get some fuel and they're all out!

At the marathon I ran in December, hard plastic cups were used. I saw many people struggle with these as they couldn't "pinch" them to make a spout . . . lots of fluid was splashed around and not easily consumed.

So, I like to use a Nathan fuel belt thing (there are many different styles to choose from). I like mine because while I may only need two of the 10 oz. bottles for a 1/2, I'll use all four for a full. And it has a little flat pouch for my ID and keys. When I need calories as well, I bring a clip-on Hammer gel flask with approx. 1 Hammer Gel per hour in excess of one hour of running. My tummy doesn't like "gatorade"-type drinks, so the plain water and separate gel works well for me. I only learned this through lots of practice (and LOTS of potty stops) leading up to race day.

I know there are people who swear by walking through and drinking at the aid stations, but I like being able to bypass all the chaos and keep running. Plus, I get to drink/fuel on my own time-table rather than just when an aid station appears.

Anyway, everyone is different, so I really encourage you to practice until you find what is comfortable for YOU. This is great that you are thinking ahead.
Urlea2010-05-01 11:49:46 +0000 #3
You aren't completely wrong to worry about short breaks. Once you are at a good pace/running rhythm it can sometimes be difficult to pick that back up again post water-stop or even after a stoplight. That happens to a lot of us, but we eventually find that sweet spot again.

Hydrating on a long run (Anything over an hr.) is very important. Especially if you live in a warm climate where heavy activity means more sweating. But, there is nothing that says one must stop moving to do so. Most half & full marathoners just grab a cup at the aid station and speed walk until they've downed it.

I personally prefer to carry my own fuel belt w/ water bottle. Then I can take a sip here or there whenever I want rather than feeling like I have to gulp down a glass of water at an aid station.


Ditto to everything Michelem said!
Grog2010-05-01 12:11:56 +0000 #4
I don't run in warm weather so this only applies to cool (not cold) temperatures (I guess between 0 and 15 Celsius, 32 to 60 Fahrenheit):

Any run over an hour, I bring water. Over 1h15m, I usually take some sort of food, too. It so happens that on runs over an hour I also walk every 15 or 20 minutes for one minute. I don't stop entirely, I just walk. I use my walking breaks to drink. If I am eating as well, I might try to struggle whatever I am eating (a small square of Ritter's chocolate, for example) out of my pocket/fuel belt in the 15 seconds before I stop to walk so I can start eating right away and also have time to drink in the next minute or 75 seconds.

I find that walking for one minute or so allows me to conserve an even pace throughout my run (or race), or even to achieve a negative split (shorter second half than first half). I just feel energized when I start running again. (I also use the walking breaks for positive self-talk.

) If I don't stop to walk now and then, my speed just gets slower and slower.

BUT: if I walk for more than 90 seconds it will a lot harder to get going.

You will have to experiment a bit to find what works for you...
limewave2010-05-01 11:49:37 +0000 #5
I have found the same thing to be true as Grog said.

When I trained for the marathon, I read an article in Runners World that encouraged run/walking long distances. Part of the point was to give yourself a little breaks throughout the run so you wouldn't completely cache out your legs.

I gave it a try. I knew there would be breaks every mile at Chicago which I planned to utilize. So every 10 minutes on my long weekend runs, I walked for 20-45 seconds. You don't want to walk for too long, because your legs will start to cramp.

I found I had negative splits when I did a couple half-marathons in training. And I ended up having a good marathon for me. I was by far less sore the next day than DH who pretty much ran the entire marathon without walking at all.

Here's an article on walk/running:
eclectic2010-05-01 12:30:25 +0000 #6
Thanks for asking the question SJCZAR I was wondering the same thing and limewave thanks for posting the Galloway site - I have just heard about him and was going to google him tonight.

I think I am going to try his method of run/walk on my long run next week - I have been having trouble w/ my calves and maybe it will help.

Also I need something to help me transition from the TM and indoor track to outside
Grog2010-05-01 12:32:24 +0000 #7
I forgot to say: during a race I just walk through the water stations. Easier to drink (and I just have water, nothing else). I probably don't walk for a whole minute.



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