Training Week Nine – Hills & New Fuel

Another training week down! Only 5 weeks until race day which means only 3 weeks of full on training left before it’s time to taper. Race day is coming up fast and I am feeling great. This week I completed 27.55 miles.

Monday – 6 miles, 9:02 average pace. Ran through a very hilly park which was probably not the best idea the Monday after a race, but it was a tough & great workout.
Tuesday – 4 miles, 8:37 average pace. It was snowing during this run. My legs were also pretty tired, but I pushed through.
Wednesday – Rest Day.
Thursday – 4.2 miles, 8:43 average pace. Nice & easy run.
Friday – 3 miles, 8:22 average pace. 3 mile runs feel so short, but I usually spend most of the time thinking about how 3 miles used to feel really difficult.
Saturday – 10.35 miles, 9:02 average pace. Great group run on a hilly course. We ran what’s known as “The W” because on the elevation map it looks like, well, a W!

See the "W" shape on the right?
See the “W” shape on the right?

Despite the horror stories of “The W,” I didn’t actually think it was that bad. Our group powered through it pretty quickly and ahead of our pace. I think starting my running journey in Virginia a few years ago gave me some experience with hills. I actually like a little challenge and knowing that once I get up the hills I’m done with them makes it easier for me to power through them. We were also lucky enough to finish our run minutes before it began to rain. Those training for a full and the slower pace groups unfortunately got caught in a downpour.

I also tried out some new fuel this week. Last weekend during the 15K I went with my normal Gu gel routine, but for some reason when I took my gel during the race I was suddenly repulsed by it. It tasted fine, but something about the texture and trying to choke it all down in a short time just wasn’t doing it for me. Plus, it’s always so sticky! With longer runs coming into the mix it was time to pick up some protein bars for snacks so during my shopping I also picked up some Gu Chomps.

Protein bars and Gu Chomps!
Protein bars and Gu Chomps!

Gu Chomps are basically fruit snacks. There are 8 pieces in a package which is a total of 2 servings. I tried out the regular orange flavored ones by eating some before my shorter runs this week to make sure they didn’t irritate my stomach. They seemed to settle fine so for my long run I brought along the Strawberry flavor which contains caffeine. I ate one serving about 15-20 minutes before we started our run, ate two more chomps about 40 minutes into the run, and finished them off about an hour into the run. I didn’t find them difficult to eat while running which was something I was a bit concerned about. I actually feel like these worked better for me than the Gu gels because I was able to split up the second serving over the course of my run and I didn’t have a crashing feeling in the later miles. Now my only obstacle is figuring out how to carry them on race day since the packaging is big and bulky and definitely won’t fit into the small space in my running pants. Luckily I was wearing my jacket today and had them in the pocket, but it’s not likely I will be wearing that during the race. I have a few weeks to experiment and figure it out!

Onward and upward. This upcoming week is my last “fall back” week. Saturday’s run is only 5 miles and the second race of the training series is on Sunday so I am trying to decide if I’m going to do the 5 miles on Saturday or do a 10K on Sunday.

I hope everyone had a great week!

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12 thoughts on “Training Week Nine – Hills & New Fuel

  1. I have the same problem with the Gu Chomps – I think they’re so much better than the gels. It’s nice to have something “solid” during a race rather than just liquids, I just can’t figure out how to carry them. I usually just have them before the race and then the gels during the race. One race I did actually offered chomps at one of the aid stations, which was awesome, but I don’t think that happens very often….

  2. I’m thinking of switching to the chomps but the only reason I haven’t is because of not knowing how to carry them. If you find a way, let me know! 🙂 Good training week, too!

  3. Thanks for the insight into Gu Chomps. I’ll definitely have to give those a try! I’ve always used Gu Gel, but they’re so sticky. I figured out that if I swish water in my mouth after eating one (like you’re using mouthwash) that you can get the stickiness to go away faster…but it’s still cumbersome while trying to maintain pace! Good luck with your remaining weeks of training 🙂

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