Last time I trained for a 1/2 marathon it was UGLY. My long runs were also followed by diarrhea, dizzy spells, extreme fatigue, and muscle pain for days afterwards. If that wasn't enough, by the end of my training I HATED running. Hate seems like a strong word, but I assure you it was hate. I didn't run for weeks after my first half.
This time my training was so different and so much better for both my physical and emotional state.
Here's what worked for me:
By the end of my training two years ago I had figured out my nutrition during my run- Nuun and part of a snickers bar every two miles starting at mile 3. This time I solved the post run nutrition- 1/2 cup egg whites+2 eggs+toast with butter. YUM! Eating protein after my run seemed to solve the post-run digestive issues.
I'm much slower this go around (12:30-13 minute miles vs 11:30 mile). The slower piece does bother me, but being slower seems to have decreased the side effects of my long runs. Not sure how/if they are connected.
Partner! Last time I had no partner for my long runs. Now I have the most amazing Julia to trudge along with me. Having a partner eases the emotional side of those long runs. I actually look forward to spending several hours (3?!?!) chatting and running.
Days running- Last time I ran 4 and cross trained one. This time I am running 3 and cross training 2. One less day of running each week makes for a much happier Kari.
Compression gear- I caved and bought compression leg sleeves. I LOVE THEM!!! I don't wear them when I run, but definitely post run and pre-long run days.
Epsom salt- I now take (after eating my eggs and toast) a 20 minute epsom salt bath. I don't know how those salts work, but they do!
I'm actually sad that my training is over. Good thing I have a Sprint Tri to train for! :)
How do you train for long races? What tips do you have for someone who is suffering through a training program?