Experimenting With Gels and Ratios

With all that data stuff yesterday, I nearly forgot to post about yesterday evening’s run.

I considered having a little practice run for Saturday’s 10K. The plan was to run about a 6:10 pace for 0.9 each kilometre and walk for the remaining 0.1. With a walking pace of around 9:30 minutes per kilometre, that would give me an average pace of 6:30, and a PB of 1:05:00 for the 10K. Predictably, however, it didn’t quite work out like that.

Before heading out, I decided to experiment by having an energy gel. I had one in the cupboard that I got for free at the L2B Challenge, but didn’t want to take it at the time as I’ve never tried energy gels before. So, since I was in the mood for experimenting and trying new things generally, I took the gel.

It wasn’t as unpleasant as I’d thought it would be; in fact, it actually tasted quite nice – almost like the citrus flavour promised by the packaging. I was kind of expecting it to have a horrible after taste like some of the energy bars that I’ve tried before, but it didn’t, so that was a good sign.

The temperature was about 20C when I headed out and the breeze on the seafront was a bit warmer than I like would have liked. This, coupled with the smell of barbecues and people smoking spliffs on the lawns (don’t they know it’s illegal to barbecue on Hove Lawns?), made things a little bit uncomfortable, but I was still determined to try out my walk run ratio.

While I did manage to keep a fairly decent pace, I soon realised that there was no way I could keep it going for 10K. So, rather than run the risk of overdoing things before race day, I decided to call it a day at 3 kilometres.

2014-07-01_Splits

I’m not sure what went wrong really. Perhaps it was the heat, or the energy gel, or maybe the pace I’d set for the ratios was just too much, but I know I won’t be doing that on Saturday. Instead, I’m going to just run it as best I can and take walk breaks if needed. However, I do still have a race plan which, even with walk breaks might just work.

The plan is to run kilometres 1-3 at 6:45, which I know I can do; then, I’ll try to pick things up to about 6:30 for kilometres 4-6, which is also achievable. The challenge will be to get to 6:15 for kilometres 7-9 and then try to push as hard as I can for the finish, depending on how much energy I have left in me.

Of course, if it doesn’t work out like that, I won’t really mind. My main objective at the moment is to get my running fitness back, so as long as I get the run in, then it’s all good.

Playing With Pace

I decided to go for a run this evening. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just felt like it.

With less than a week to go until the Race For Life 10K, I realised that it would be a bad idea to do two long runs back to back, so I opted for some speed work instead. Nothing too strenuous. Nothing too rigid. Just a quick short run along the seafront.

To be honest, I’ve kind of missed doing speed work. Much as I love pushing through those long slow runs on a Sunday morning or after work, there’s nothing quite like that feeling when the momentum takes over and your legs really start moving, going  faster and faster until your lungs start to burn and your heart feels like it’s going to burst through your chest. No, really, it is a good feeling. Honestly. Although, to be fair, I don’t have to run very fast before that happens.

Anyway, this evening I wanted to run fast so I set off at a good pace and managed to sustain an average of 5:44 for the first kilometre before slowing to a walk break. Now, I know I’m not even close to being able to maintain that kind of pace over a longer distance, but it didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would, so maybe this is something that I could work on after next weekend’s 10K.

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The second kilometre, however, was made up of a couple of shorter walk breaks and running segments, working out at just over 50% running (in terms of distance), so the average pace was much slower at 7:13. In saying that though, the running sections were a bit faster than in the first kilometre, which was good in one sense, but was probably the reason I had to walk for longer.

The final 500 metres was kind of interesting though. Although I walked about 100 metres of it, my average pace came out at only ten seconds slower than in the first kilometre, which has got me thinking about the whole run/walk thing again.

2014-06-29_Splits

I know Jeff Galloway has built this whole training philosophy on how to use run/walk ratios and, much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to like the idea of it.

Of course, I’m not going to give up non-stop running. A huge part of what I love about running is the ability to push on and to keep going without stopping or walking, even if it does mean that I’m slow, but in terms of achieving quicker times over longer distances, it is an interesting idea.

How do you feel about using run/walk ratios in races? What type of difference does run/walk make to your average pace? Have you tried the Jeff Galloway program? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.