*I’d love to hear your thoughts down below on several questions I have this week!*

Instead of going through last week’s workouts day-by-day, let me just say that the thing I was dreading even before I started training for this half actually happened: I got sick. Yeah, yeah, people get sick all the time. They survive. Head colds are not going to bring down the world. But I knew that because I’m a newbie runner and my training schedule is everything right now – getting sick and missing a run or three would really stress me out (other than flip-flopping days to run, the only time I’ve really missed a scheduled run is when I hurt my back a few weeks ago). And it did stress me out but I guess the benefit of feeling like I’d been hit by a bus is that I didn’t really care about anything other than where the box of tissues ended up. In hindsight, it fell on probably the best of all weeks when I was scheduled to run several 3-milers and no longer runs. I only ran twice last week and even then, it was pretty pathetic.

Training Update Week #12My sweet 9-year old left this note on my pillow one night when he knew I was feeling a bit discouraged.

Thankfully I feel like I’m on the road to recovery (thank you trusty essential oils, shots of OJ, elderberry syrup and apple cider vinegar, and week long early bedtimes) and am hoping to have a better running week this week.

The Plan:

-3 miles Monday
-Cross- or strength-train Tuesday
-4 miles on Wednesday
-3 miles on Thursday
-Rest or stretch/yoga on Friday
-7 miles on Saturday

If you are following the same schedule I posted way back when, I’ve changed things a little bit for these last weeks until race day. Most all of the 2 mile runs I’ve upped to 3 miles because I’m comfortable there and don’t mind the extra mile. Also, the next three Saturdays in a row have long runs at 8 miles. Instead of running 8 this coming Saturday, I’m “only” (sounds hilarious to say that) doing 7. Just my gut feeling that it would be better to start there and do 8 the next week since I’ll be able to run it twice. Seven will be my longest so far. Pray for me.

I received a fun and unexpected package in the mail this week from my longtime friend, Mel (her running story was featured a couple weeks ago). She told me it was time I started thinking about important things like body glide and shot blocks (who am I and how did I get here?). Thankfully she included details about how often, when, and what kinds of runs she uses both of these things for and this next week I’ll be using both on my 7-miler. Scary and kind of hard core all at the same time.
Training Update Week #12

Many of you have commented with feedback on chafing solutions, carrying water, eating before and after, etc. so in anticipation of all your wisdom, I have a few more questions.

Current dilemmas + one thing I’m loving:

-Energy Question: Do you run with gu or shot blocks? If so, how often do you eat them (will I gag?) and for how long of runs do you use them? I’m running with water in a pack for runs over 4 miles and occasionally an applesauce pouch thingie for runs over 5 miles but that’s it.

-Chafing Question: Several chimed in last week about using body glide or the T2 stuff which brings me to ask (so glad we are all friends here): any recommendations for sports bras or shorts or running clothes in general that chafe less than others?

-Something I Love: My sister (who happens to be getting back into running right now and just committed last week to the half marathon also – sweet!) told me the reason I’m getting blisters (not fun) is because I’m running in every day cotton socks. Jeez, how was I supposed to know? She told me about Feetures. As great as they sound (labeled with a Left and Right for goodness sakes, they must be awesome), I resisted for several weeks because, dude, paying $15 bucks for a pair of socks is against my religion. Finally I buckled because my blisters were killing me, and honestly, wearing them for the first time, I think my feet were singing. Plus, no more blisters. I have to wash them each time I run because I’m not buying another pair right now, but totally worth the money so far.

-Hair/Headband Question: I have short-ish hair right now that’s a pain to keep back because it’s not ponytail length and I need some good tips on running headbands/solutions that really do their thing and keep short hair back without slipping. Help?

Ok, I’ll stop bugging you. Here’s to a great running week, I can just feel it.

How was YOUR week?

45 Responses to Training Update: Week #12

  1. Jennifer Warren says:

    Mel – sweaty bands headbands will change your workout life!


  2. I love Bloks. my favorite are the orange ones. I use them about every 2 miles when I run 8 or more miles. GU’s are not my favorite but they do help when you need some energy. Those I take in if I run more than 10. I usually plan a GU every 45 minutes. As for a headband, I love my BondiBands. I have short hair so I use them to basically keep the sweat from blinding me. 🙂 Your training looks great. You are going to be fabulous come race day!

  3. Suzanne Christensen says:

    My thoughts on the food- use your training runs to test out what you need. Because pacing/ pre run meals/ bodies/ etc, are all so different, it will vary. It took me a while to work out what worked for me, and now I have a good pre race/ morning of/ during race plan. Your training time is a good time to experiment with different food and times to fuel up.
    I only use the Gu (or similar gel/blox (those make me gag!)/etc) for runs 10 miles and up. If I am running for more that 1.5- 2 hours I will have a baggie of pretzels. I have a small sports fanny pack (so fun!) to stash my snacks, chap stick, and baby wipes or tissues (have needed them for various reasons on many runs). I like going over the route the night before and “hiding” my water bottles along the way.
    Ditto on finding socks at TJ Maxx/ Marshalls. I use an Under Armor sports visor- you could do pig tails to keep it all from bouncing around as you run.
    High five for all your hard work- you will LOVE the feeling of finishing!

  4. Kathy says:

    I like Gu and I like Clif Shot Blocks, but they can get expensive. The last time I trained for a full, I used fig newtons and they worked great. I was able to chew them up without any problem (maybe because I’m not the fastest runner) and one pack would last several weeks.

  5. Rita says:

    I’m going to echo a lot of what has already been posted. Nutrition: General guideline is to fuel if you’re running over an hour. You’ll have to try different supplements to see what you like. I’m okay with GU, but only certain flavors. You can usually buy trial packages at running stores. If I’m running long I usually fuel about every 45 minutes. Hair: mine is really short, but I always wear a running had. Keeps the sun off my face and sweat out of my eyes.
    Blisters: Get your shoes checked for fit, and find tech socks. Not all are $15/pair. Sometimes discount stores, like Ross or TJ Maxx has tech socks at much lower prices.

  6. sarah says:

    My hair is also too short for a ponytail, but there is enough of it that I need it out of the way. I use a baseball cap because I also like my eyes to be out of the sun.
    For energy, I use an energy gel called Huma (all natural and made from chia seeds) and I personally like it better than Gu because where I am it gets colder and sometimes the Gu gets a little too solid. I haven’t had that issue with Huma, although it does not come in as many flavors as Gu. I bring it with me if I’m running more than 7 or 8 miles and I try to eat it before I really feel I need it so I don’t get a crash before it kicks in.
    And you definitely need the special socks. I also used to struggle with blisters, and now I don’t have that issue except on much longer runs, or if my shoes are wearing down, or if I don’t tie my shoes tight enough. It stinks to pay so much for socks, but it pays off in happy feet!
    Good luck on your half!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Hi Mel – I have to comment on the book in the background of your picture: “Idaho’s Noxious Weeds, 5th Edition” ??? Sounds like fascinating reading – just curious of it’s presence and purpose there… 🙂 🙂 BTW, I grew up in Idaho, Magic Valley area, so I know all about those weeds. I live in Utah now. I wish you the best of luck in your running adventures. Your progress is an inspiration to many of us readers.

    • Mel says:

      Haha! I saw that after I posted and wondered if anyone would take notice. The embarrassing thing is that our neighbor dropped it off after he visited one day. Looks like we have some yard work to do. 🙂

  8. Jessica says:

    Mel, I’m not a marathoner but here’s what I’ve used for 10k and longer runs. I use Gu pouch if running longer than 1 hour. I find vanilla most palatable. I use Nike running socks. Love them. I run in a racerback tank, rather than a sports bra. I am small chested so this may not be an option for someone with any amount of anything up top. I run in Nike running shorts with built in liners, no undies. That’s it for me. I’ve never had any chafing problems but 9 miles is my longest run. Good luck!! PS, I’m local and met your famous Aunt Marilyn today. So sweet!

  9. Angela says:

    I love your blog (both the food and running sections) and am excited to run in the Utah Valley Half with you! I just wanted to echo a previous comment (from Amy, who I’m pretty sure is my sister!) about the Asics Quick-Lyte cushion tab running socks. I recently bought a 3-pack and loved them so much I ordered several more pairs to replace all my running socks. I have a nicer pair of socks I’ve loved for longer runs (10+ miles) but I wore the Asics socks last weekend for my 10 mile run and they were great. Also, since you asked, I’ve recently decided to invest in some new (and cute!) sports bras and am loving the Moving Comfort Urban X-Over A/B sports bra and the Adidas Supernova Racerback sports bra. (You can find both bras and the Asics socks on Running Warehouse’s website.) Good luck with your 7 miler this week!

    • Mel says:

      I’m excited about the half, too, Angela! All of you awesome runners can help me limp along. 🙂 Thanks for the rec on the socks and the sports bras. I’ve never been on Runner’s Warehouse so thanks for that tip, too.

  10. Rachael says:

    Ditto on the Honey Stingers; they don’t give me a headache and they actually taste good. Personally I prefer the chewable stuff over Gu, which is soooo hard for me to choke down, and I do mean choke. I usually eat one every 3 miles or so for runs over 10 miles (although I ate like one every mile during the last four miles of my first marathon because it gave me something to look forward to–hah!).

    I am not a fan of anything that is too dry (I tried Kashi bars once while I was running and they were so hard to chew!) but just plan on being hungry and anticipate that with your fueling choices. Depending on how long it takes you to run, the hunger can get more overpowering than the fatigue! I usually start getting ravenous right around 2 hours.

    Definitely experiment with fueling before race day. I find that the fruit flavors are much more palatable, and would take Honey Stingers and Shot Blox over Gu (although the chomps aren’t bad). I can’t tolerate Gatorade at all. You’ll also probably want to experiment with your pre-race breakfast, I recommend a PBJ. 🙂

    Not sure if you’ve read this yet elsewhere, but I’m also a fan of walking through water stops, especially for your first race! This ensures that you actually drink your little cup instead of dumping it down your shirt, plus let’s be honest: so much of this is a mental game, and knowing you can walk for 10 seconds can be amazingly motivational. 🙂

    I have some great socks from Wigwam, Asics, and New Balance. The key is that you don’t want cotton, and you do want socks made specifically for running. Runners’ World has some great sock articles. 🙂 I find that I need them to come up over my shoe (i.e. no short invisible socks) to prevent heel blisters. If I’m running longer than 3 hours I use anti-chafing stuff on my feet, but it really isn’t a problem with good socks. They’re worth the money. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Love your comments, thanks for chiming in, Rachael! I’m taking copious notes from all the wonderful input everyone is giving, that’s for sure.

  11. Sam says:

    Hi Mel –
    It’s great to hear about your running progress and I know you are encouraging others as you share, so thank you! I am a runner and a dietitian, so I hope I can offer some helpful tips for fueling. There are tons of products out there that can work well for fueling during a long run. A helpful rule of thumb is to fuel for exercise that will last 60 minutes or longer. You could start trialing some different nutrition products during your long runs and see which ones you like – you don’t want to try something new on race day. Personally I really like Honey Stinger products, both the gels and the chews. I also recommend dried fruit. Basically you want easy to digest carbohydrates for fast energy. It takes some trial and error, but you will find what works best for you!

    Hair – check out Headsweats – I really like their visors but have some hats, too. Also, for headbands, look at Bani Bands.

    Best of luck!

  12. Anna says:

    So my method for the short hair pony tail, is to do two ponies. The first one is a half up pony placed around the top-back of my head. The second grabs all the remaining hair below this and sits lower. I try to tuck the top pony into the bottom one, And then a soft head band too keep it all tucked together. I prefer the soft cloth strechy ones as opposed to the gripper ones. Good luck with your training!

  13. Lisa says:

    I must have a weird-shaped head because headbands will not stay on my head and they give me a huge headache. But I started using a half Buff, and it is perfect for running! They also have a lot of super cute prints and are really comfortable. You could even wear a hat on top of it if you wanted.

    • Mel says:

      The pictures of those runners wearing them definitely look intense. I wonder if I could run farther and faster if I wore one? 🙂 Thanks for the tip especially for a wrap that doesn’t slip.

  14. I’ve ran half a dozen half marathons and am running my first full on Sunday, so here is my advice on your questions:

    I pretty much despise all of those gu/shot blocks/gel energy stuff. Personally I think it tastes disgusting and my stomach never took to it. When I fuel during a run, I much prefer to use real food. So, typically I’ll take some larabars with me. It’s pretty much dates, nuts, and salt mixed up into a bar. Also, I don’t fuel for half marathons, other than water, but if you really need to, I would say have something at the half point mark and you should be good. You don’t want to go too crazy. Over fueling can be just as bad as under fueling.

    Most of my running clothes are either from Target or Fabletics and I haven’t had any problems with chafing. I do use the body glide for long runs on my underarms because sometimes I’ll chafe there.

    I think if you are getting blisters that it could be your socks, but you probably also are not in the right shoes. You should go get your gait analyzed at a running store and have them tell you what type of shoes you should be wearing.

    For headbands, the only ones that do not slip on me (and believe me I’ve tried a million) are Sweaty Bands. You can get them on Amazon or directly from their website. They have a velvet type material on the inside so they stay put. And they’re super cute.

    Good luck!

  15. Katheryn says:

    I’ve used gu, shot bloks, gatorade, jelly beans, and loads of other stuff. My favorite is the black cherry shot blok. Seriously love it. I only use them if I’m going to be running for longer than an hour and then I take in a couple bloks between 30-45 minutes and another every half hour after. This is what works for me, but I’m a strong believer in that everyone needs to experiment and find what works best for them.

    As for the hair thing. I’ve had every length of hair while running, and no matter what I wear a running hat. Keeps the hair out of my face, on sunny days it helps keep the sun off my face, and rainy and windy days it keeps the rain and wind off.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Katheryn – I agree that so much depends on the individual person. I appreciate everyone chiming in on their own experiences!

  16. Lindsey R says:

    I’ll take the sports bra question. If you are bigger than a D cup you need to purchase a moving comfort brand sports bra. They are sized just like regular bras and are amazing. This sports bra makes the difference between me running or not. They will hold the girls and keep them happy. I just got the Juno style, which is not a racerback and have been astonished at how much I prefer those straps. Before that I had the rebounder, which is a beast to get in and out of, but worth all of the effort. If you have a good running store near you call and see if they have them in stock so you can try them out before ordering one.

    Good luck!

    • Mel says:

      You are awesome for addressing this more delicate issue, Lindsey. 🙂 Only in my dreams am I a D – I’m a couple letters higher up on the spectrum, if you know what I mean, but I’ll still take a look at your recommendations. Thank you!

  17. Katie King says:

    I love, love reading your running updates! I signed up to do a relay marathon in May (only, like, 5 miles but a big thing for me) but over Easter weekend, I unexpectedly had to have my gallbladder removed due to some serious gallstones. Since I just had a baby in December, my doctor tells me exercise is a no-go for me right now if I want to have abs ever again. I’m seriously bummed but cheering from home for everyone who is kicking butt and getting fit this year!

    • Mel says:

      Oh, Katie – super bummer about your health!! Although it sounds like patience will pay off if you can stay low for a while then you’ll be way better off. I hope you recover FAST!

  18. Amy says:

    I am loving your running section (I also love your food section!) and am excited to be running in the Utah Valley Half with you. I just bought some Asics Quick-Lyte socks that might just be my new favorite running socks and are on the less expensive side for running socks ($14 for 3 pairs). I usually wear Balegas for longer runs, but I tried these Asics on my 11-mile run last weekend and they were great. As for your hair question, I like to wear a visor to keep my hair (and the sun) out of my face. I hope you have a better week this week!

    • Mel says:

      Love the tips, Amy, on the socks and the visor! And I’m super excited you’ll be at the half marathon! I actually ran three miles this morning pushing the double jogger (with my 6-year old and 3-year old). Talk about a hefty workout! But it felt good and I didn’t die, which is a plus.

      • Amy says:

        Way to go! I am super impressed with you pushing 2 kids in the running stroller! I have done that before, and it is tough!

  19. Cindy P says:

    Haven’t found a great headband to date (although the look SO cute)~ I use a running hat. It absorbs a bit of sweat, keeps most of the wispy hairs from tickling my face, and shields from sun or rain. I love it.

    Gu or chomps do the job (anything helps, right!?) but my personal favorite…. Like I actually look forward to my long runs ’cause I get to eat these little guys….. is- Sport Beans made by Jelly Belly. I wish I knew how to insert a picture but here’s a pic link… I hope it works.
    They taste like jellly bellys and are, to me, the easiest to get down… I have a hard time swallowing the chomps if I am thirsty, the Gu is better, but sometimes I only want a half, then I make a mess with the rest or end up wasting it. 🙁
    Maybe it’s just the kid in me, but somehow they just appear fun…. like a treat… 🙂
    I find them at our local Safeway for about 1.25 per pack when they are on sale next to all the sport fuel drinks.
    I am so excited for your progress! Can’t wait till race day! 🙂
    Thanks for the sock recommendation~ I am going to check that brand out!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the reminder of the sport jelly belly’s, Cindy! I think someone mentioned those many weeks ago in the comments but I forgot all about them. And if they can actually make me look forward to an 8 mile run, well, then I’ll consider them miraculous. 🙂

  20. Mary Sorensen says:

    I have short hair and I love wearing a lightweight hat. I have an Underarmor one I got at Big 5. Keeps my hair totally out of my way and shades my face. I’ve tried Gu and chomps. I prefer the Gu because it’s easier to get down while I’m running (the salted caramel flavor is pretty awesome). A marathon runner at the store I bought it from said he likes to squirt it into the back of his cheek and let it kind of dissolve down slowly. That’s worked well for me. I usually eat some on any run six miles or more.
    I ran my first 10K on Saturday. Thanks for pushing me to do this. It’s been so great!

    • Mel says:

      Way to go on your 10K, Mary! That made me so happy. Plus, thanks for the other notes about the hat and the Gu stuff (just sounds gross but I probably need to get over that). Love your comments!

  21. Angela says:

    I like to use Gu or similar gels during my runs of 8+ miles. They are easy to carry, easy to open and squish out, and some are tasty. I’ve liked the mountain huckleberry Gu and the raspberry Clif Shot. I have a root beer flavored Gu I’m going to try out soon. They are a little hard to swallow if not followed immediately with water. I’ve never tried anything you have to chew; it just seems too hard to do that and run at the same time. Plus I’ve heard it might not be usable energy during a run unless you’re doing crazy-long ultra-marathons.

    Have you tried wearing a hat to keep your hair away from your face? I have a Nike one that’s really lightweight that I like to wear. I’m glad you’re coming out of the doldrums. Take care!

    • Mel says:

      Root beer? Now that’s interesting. So many of you have recommended hats! I wear them all the time during the week but it looks like I need to start looking for a lightweight running hat.

      • Mollie says:

        Or even just a visor. I know it sounds totally geeky, but I have a silly running visor I found off amazon that works great for me – keeps my hair out of my face, and the sun off my face too. It has terry cloth where it straps around my head, so it keeps the sweat off my face too. I know, totally geeky.

        • Mel says:

          Not geeky at all, Mollie. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I’m the least fashionable runner out there but I’d rather finish than look amazing. Ok, I’d like to look amazing, too, but finishing is pretty important. Bring on the geek! I’m totally going to look for a visor.

  22. Jolene says:

    I have short hair and use sweaty bands. I love them! They do not slip at all. You can find similar bands on etsy too and they work just as well and cost a little less. I have been wondering about gu and shot blocks, so I’m glad you asked that question! I have been trying to run longer distances and was wondering if something like that might help get me through those runs. Thanks for the running updates! It really helps me get through my tough weeks!!

  23. April M says:

    I haven’t ran since I got shin splints. Hoping to get back into it. Your family is so supportive. I love it. Keep it up Mel.

  24. Teresa says:

    Mel, I am enjoying your running section to read about your (great) progress. I am not a runner, but my husband and two boys are. They all wear Balega socks and love them. They may be a little cheaper? Good luck this week and glad you are feeling better.

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