For this post I’ve partnered with goodnessknows® Snack Squares. As such, I have been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine and as always, I only bring you products I personally have tried and approve of. #TryALittleGoodness #CollectiveBias
I remember when I ran my very first half marathon. I had only ever run a 5K before I made the leap into the half. I was sooooo unprepared.
The normal progression of things is to go from 3.1 miles, the 5K, and then get your feet wet in a 10K which is 6.2 miles and then jump up to the half marathon distance of 13.1 miles. There’s a big difference in running strategy, training and nutrition that you need to consider when making the leap from 5K to half marathon.
That first half that I ran was an exercise in discovering my pain threshold, both physically and mentally. I went in with only a four mile training run under my belt and with no nutrition plan. Needless to say, I was out of gas by about mile 5. I finished…but it wasn’t pretty. Now that I am better educated on what I need to get me through 13.1 miles I can tell you that the experience is entirely different. A half marathon is a walk in the park now and I actually really enjoy getting out there and challenging myself to the distance. I’ve even put a couple of full marathon medals on my finisher rack since that very first half.
And speaking of races, those entry fees can be steep. Here’s a giveaway for two $500 VISA Gift Cards sponsored by goodnessknows® Snack Squares. That would put a nice dent into your race season funding.
So here’s what I know.
Nutrition during a distance race is key!
You can’t expect to go out and run a half marathon without taking in some calories while doing it. Your body only has so much energy stored. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and you are going to need to replenish those energy stores while out on the course. I’ve also discovered a few other things that I can’t live without during a long distance run. Here are the five most crucial.
5 THINGS I ALWAYS BRING WHEN RUNNING A HALF MARATHON
- GPS RUNNING WATCH – I’m obsessed with tracking my runs. How else am I going to be able to beat my last time? I will never go out for a 13.1 mile run without strapping on my GPS watch. My running watch lets me know my distance, pace, average pace and time out on the course with just a glace down at my wrist.
- MUSIC – Wow! What a difference a few motivational tunes make when you’re out on the road for three hours. I use this cheapie MP3 player instead of my iPhone. It’s small and fits easily in my fuel belt and I don’t have to worry about my phone battery dying out on the course. Yes, I also run with my iPhone but I use it mainly for taking pictures…I’m a blogger after all. We have to document everything.
- SUNGLASSES – So…most of the half marathons I run in start at ungodly hours when it is still pitch black outside. However, by mid race the Florida sun has started to ascend and there’s no greater misery then running directly into a bright and glorious sunrise without a pair of shades to protect your eyes. These sunglasses are made specifically for runners and fit snug on the top of my head. I will normally throw a tissue into my fuel belt to wipe them clean before putting them on. Since they have been resting on the top of my head for a few hours and heat rises from my noggin. They will normally be damp with condensation. Gross! And you can’t see through foggy lenses.
- HYDRATION – These two bottles fit right inside my fuel belt. I fill one with water and the other with a 50/50 mix of water and an electrolyte sports drink. You have to replace water and salt while out on the course and every course is different. You never know where the next hydration station is going to be positioned on the course so I always like to have what I need at the ready. Plus, running in Florida can be brutal and the water bottle doubles as a way to cool myself off on those hot days. I just squirt a stream of H2O over the top of my head.
- NUTRITION – This was one of those things I learned the hard way. For me, and for a lot of distance runners, you need to take in calories about every 45 minutes while out on the course. The norm is around 150 calories and you need a mix of sodium and carbs. This is another great reason to use a sports watch. When I am running a half marathon I will take in some form of fuel at mile 3, 6 and 9 and then a recovery snack at the finish.
If you’ve ever attempted a distance run without taking some form of nutrition out with you then it’s time to make a change in your training. This one tip can make a big difference in how you feel when attempting a distance longer than a 5K. Trust me. I’ve been in your shoes. It’s no fun pushing on when there’s nothing left in your tank.
I’ve run with things in my fuel belt like candy, sport beans, gels, tortillas, pretzels and cookies. Experiment with what works for you. These goodnessknows® Snack Squares are a solid option to try out. Available at Walmart, they come in packs of four bite sized portions, are 150 calories per serving and are packaged so that they would tuck nicely into a fuel belt. Flavor options include:
- Cranberry, Almond, Dark Chocolate
- Apple, Almond & Peanut, Dark Chocolate
- Peach & Cherry, Almond, Dark Chocolate
I’m partial to the goodnessknows® Cranberry, Almond, Dark Chocolate flavor.
See more Goodness to Greatness stories here and I hope to see you out there on a race course in 2016! #FinishStrong