Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Confession: I train 15 minutes at a time

Well, that's kind of true.  Anything over an hour, I take in nutrition.  And I start taking in nutrition early.  Recent research has led me to adapt what I'm doing, and I'll be changing my methods a bit.  USAT had a good article on nutrition myths this month that is worth a read-emphasizing the importance of individual nutrition.  Meaning-don't take the cookie cutter approach to your race/training nutrition.  What nutrition works for one athlete is not guaranteed to work for you.  But this blog is less about the nutrition, and more about what happens between the nutrition...

Read on:

For a triathlon, I'll take in a half serving of my Infinit marathon formula about 15 minutes before the triathlon starts, then I'll start with my cycling formula right out of T1 and every 15 minutes after that until I hit T2, then I switch to my marathon formula.
For a running race, it depends on the distance.  I'll take in nutrition starting 15 minutes before the race starts, and nothing else unless the race is more than an hour.  If it is, I'll take in my marathon mix every 15 minutes.

But back to my point.  I train 15 minutes at a time.  I break down my 60 minute, 90 minute, 120 minute (OH MY GOSH THIS WORKOUT IS NEVER GOING TO END) into smaller, more bearable portions, broken up by my nutrition needs.  How does this translate to race day?  I swim/bike/run from transition to aid station, or from aid station to aid station.  And that's it.  I focus on each portion as one manageable bit at a time

And the best part?  Each 15 minute segment is different.  The scenery changes, the people change, my train of thoughts change, etc. It's like my system reboots every time I take a nutrition break and I'm ready to start again.

During a half/marathon I usually run aid station to aid station and I walk through the aid station so I don't unintentionally wear my water.  The 15 minute rule gets a little more flexible, but the concept is the same, and the nutrition still happens on the 15 minute mark.

"Why 15 minutes?" a person might ask.  I've set up my nutrition to take in about 18-20 oz of water per hour as recommended and trained for, and the Infinit as directed and trained with.  If I take it in every 15 minutes, I tend not to get "sloshy" or bloated.  So the answer is "personal choice."

Truthfully, switching to Infinit has helped substantially.  No more "What was next? Gel? Drink mix? Ugh, NO MOAR," and abandoning my plan to switch to on-course offerings. I know my stomach won't revolt.  It's simple and doesn't take any extra thought.

But the race or training session is manageable.  It's not one huge event, but several smaller ones that don't overwhelm me with the thought of completing it.  Beyond that, I take one day at a time.  Ironman training for IM Texas in May? Nah.  I entered each day from the Beginner Triathlete basic Ironman plan into my calendar, and I'm looking a few days ahead at a time.  Not weeks, not even to the race.  Just to the next day or so to make sure I have time to complete the training sessions, and switch around what I need to. I did the same for the Marathon in February, and the Ultramarathon on Saturday.

The lesson is the same whether you're training or racing.  Small, manageable parts.  I've chosen to break mine up by nutrition breaks (and sleeping at night!).

How do you break your training sessions up?

To my readers:  Infinit Nutrition has ended their amazing yearly sale, but you can still save some money.  Use the code "firegirl" at checkout to save 10% and help to fund the scholarship that I'll be running a marathon for in firefighting gear!


  1. What a great picture! I like your running strategy. This is going to be an awesome marathon. Just seeing you in that gear makes me tired. Think how the other runners and spectators are going to react when they see you in that gear! I hope you have good weather, cloudy and cool to keep you comfortable all race morning.

  2. Thanks for the well wishes, tougholdbuzzard!