Ohh, We're Halfway There {Sorta}

I'm in week 7 of a 17 week marathon training plan.  Eeeek!  I know I'm not even halfway through, but it seems like it's sneaking up on me!  

Like I said in an earlier post, I'm using this book

And so far I've really like this plan.  A typical week looks like this:
Monday: Jog 40 minutes
Tuesday: Cross train 30 minutes
Wednesday: 400x___ quarter mile repeats
Thursday: Cross train 30 minutes or rest.
Friday: Jog 30 minutes
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Rest
During training plans I'm always good about getting in my long run, and this time around the speed work out.  However, I ALWAYS have trouble sticking with the plan during the week with those jogs and cross training.  Looking back at my Daily Mile  I've definitely switched days around and not followed the plan to a T, but I have gotten in miles and some cross training.

Weeks 1-8 are part of the Endurance Phase and so every Wednesday I've been increasing my endurance with quarter mile repeats.  Starting in week 9 through week 14 I will enter the Stamina Phase, and my Wednsday quarter mile repeat workout will be replaced with tempo runs.

During weeks 1-7 so far I've been using some of the "jog 40 minutes" day as a very loose tempo run.  Basically just running fast.  Since I don't own a Garmin, I have to just run at a pace which I perceive as being "fast" and then when I get home I plug my route and time into Daily Mile and get my average pace.  Not the most accurate, but it's been working.  I'm a little wary of the Stamina Phase and setting out for a "real" tempo run!  

And I don't think I'll be able to just drop the quarter mile repeats.  As much as I don't look forward to them, I've grown to enjoy them how I feel when I'm done with them.  So I think that they'll sneak their way into the stamina phase.

If you look at week 6 on my Daily Mile (this past week) it was so terrible.  In my last post I mentioned I took a break from blogging...well I also took a break from running.  Not because I was injured.  Not because I was tired.  But because I just gave up on myself for a little period of time.  I hate to admit it, but I was a weak person last week.  Mentally I knew running would make me feel better and help lift me out of my funk, but instead I had a pity party.  But I'm over it and on Monday I got in 15 miles!

These 15 miles were important for two reasons.  One because this is the furthest distance I've ran since last year.  And second because this was a key run in my fuel experimentation.  I have been toying with the idea of fueling my runs naturally and I made my own sports drink and energy gel.  No Meat Athlete is a great resource.

Natural Gel from No Meat Athlete
I didn't have all the ingredients so this is what I used:
6 dried apricots (soaked in water)
1/4 cup light agave 
lime juice
sea salt

My thoughts: It tasted alright, but it had some teeny apricot chunks in it.  Also, it was really messy.  I used a small ziplock bag (like in No Meat Athlete's picture) and tried to eat it out of the top corner.  I had to walk while taking it and it got my fingers sticky!  Also, this amount was too much and I only ate about 2/3 of it.

Sports Drink from No Meat Athlete
This is actually called Chia Iskiate.  I mixed it in a 16.9 oz Poland Springs bottle so I could hold it with me on my run.  

My thoughts: By mile 11 I had finished it and was feeling thirsty around mile 13.  I'm debating between investing in a fuel belt or a camel back for extra hydration on training runs.  The jelly like consistency of the chia seeds was a bit strange, but if I took a big gulp I didn't mind it.

Overall, I think I had enough fuel but not enough water.  Afterwards I took an ice bath and I think that definitely alleviated soreness!  Today I feel great!!!!

If you actually read all of this, thanks for sticking with me!  And sorry for the lack of pictures.

Do you follow training plans 100%? I've never been able to follow them exactly, but I'm okay with that.  Although this marathon I have a time goal (my first marathon I ran just to finish) I believe as long as I'm completing the most key workouts(i.e. quarter mile repeats/tempo and long runs)  and staying active during the week I should be fine.
How do you hydrate?  Camelback or fuel belt? Hand held bottles are out for me!  I really don't like having my hands full while running!


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