Matt’s Guest Blog: New Breed of Running

Last Saturday was the first long run that I really wasn’t too excited for. After the previous week’s shortened long run (9 miles), we stepped up to 14 miles. Part of my hesitation in Saturday’s run was the reality that beginning this week, it feels like we’re entering the “real” training. Up until last weekend, the runs were all distances that I had done before. Saturday began the part of our training where we’ll start consistently breaking our distance PRs. That’s exciting, but pretty daunting to think about.

That said, my 14 miler was surprisingly not that bad. Other than the heat, it was a beautiful morning for a run. Mike mapped out a 14 mile out-and-back on the Capital Crescent Trail ( which I had never run on. One of the things that I’m liking a lot about the training thus far is the ability to run on trails we don’t typically have the time, endurance or ambition to normally run. It’s great to get a change of scenery.


I didn’t think to pull out my phone and take a photo while running, so here’s someone else’s photo that accurately shows the hazy heat that is DC. Photo courtesy of taylor janis (Panoramio)

Moving onto some training updates –

I’ve been wanting to develop a nutrition plan for my marathon training for some time now. Unfortunately the more I read on the subject, the more I’m realizing that everyone has very strong opinions that often disagree in one way or another. Some people recommend strict nutrition tracking, others assume I know way more about physiology that I do and some simply say “eat well” and be aware of problem foods.

I don’t like choices and having to weigh options, so I’ve decided to continue to eat normally until it becomes a problem. We’ll see how that turns out as the mileage starts ramping up…

An immediate change to my eating habit has been consuming calories while running. I had never needed food while running before, but on my 10+ mile runs, gel packs are not only helpful but necessary to keep me running at a consistent pace. Kathleen made the great observation several weeks back that we should try training with the gel pack brand that will be distributed during the Richmond Marathon. Enter: Accel Gel.


I bought a 24 pack of gel packs since I’ll probably need almost that many during the training. I find the “All Natural” label a little suspect…they’re pretty good though.


Last Saturday was the first time that I needed 2 gel packs (miles 5 and 11). My body and pace was great before, during and after the 5 mile gel, so that might become my official gel 1 distance. I think 11 miles might have been a little late for me however. I could feel myself lagging during mile 10, although I’m not sure if the direct sunlight in that portion of the run played a role. You can see that the pace inconsistencies after mile 10 in the image below. From past experience, it takes about 15 minutes for me to “feel” the gel working, so being proactive against your tiredness is something I need to work on.


You can see the clear pace crash at mile 10 and on. I finished strong for what that’s worth…

Got the Philadelphia Rock n Roll in a couple weekends and I am ready to crush my half marathon PR. Game on!


One comment

  1. David Kruczlnicki · · Reply

    Great blog! The trail looks beautiful and your strategy for gel sounds right-on. The whole prep training is getting serious now!…..comes across well in your commentary.

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