Biscuits, Black Sheep and bicyclists

My most recent Royal Parks Half newsletter was all about fuelling my training with good nutrition and hydration. The main point of this was to encourage us to buy lots of get used to drinking Lucozade Sport before the big day and I preferred today’s experiential learning entitled “what not to do”.

I warmed up by preparing to bake a batch of not-quite-ANZAC biscuits, which I suspect don’t have quite the nutritional value that I should be aiming for. It was probably a good thing that I couldn’t finish making these before I went out (a lack of dessiciated coconut in the baking cupboard) otherwise I might have replaced ‘running’ with ‘scoffing’ as my morning’s activity.

To clarify, occasionally I do bake something that isn’t make of butter, oats and syrup. Occasionally.

What today taught me is that a pre-hydration session on the Black Sheep whilst watching the rugby is ill-thought out preparation for a long run. To force myself out of the door today, I’d left my car at mum’s and planned an indirect route that I could round up to make 8 miles (rather than the 5.5 miles it usually measures). With hindsight, I should have stuck to the shorter version because I was flagging by mile 5 and run-walking half a mile later. With hindsight I probably shouldn’t have chosen the day before a long run to do my first weights session back at the gym and with hindsight my mileage this weekend has been pathetic so this was never going to be a roaring success.

Ah well, despite all this I quite enjoyed myself. Since the end of June, I’ve been running without music on my short runs, but can’t even contemplate a long run without something to distract me a little. Rather than tunes, I like using the longer runs to listen to the spoken word and am indulging in the wonderful Desert Island Discs archive (today was David Tennant and John Bishop) as well as trying to boost my IQ with the Infinite Monkey Cage and More or Less podcasts. As well as the pleasure of basking in the dulcet tones of Mr Tennant (no offence to John Bishop), I spied quite a lot of cyclists (including a team taking a break on their way from John O’Groats to Lands End) which put a smile on my face because next week the same route will be taken up by the awesome athleticism of Ironman UK competitors completing their 113 mile bike course. I must make it out to peer at them this year.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Now that the nausea and delirium have passed fully, I have been pondering on my two overheating runs and trying to work out what I can do to resolve or improve this situation. The run itself has provided some inspiration, as have the lovely people on twitter, and these are some of the solutions I’ve come up with.

The Fisherman’s Approach
This week we passed some more anglers, but this lot were a lot more casual – none of your thousand pound kit here. Umbrellas and cans of lager were the order of the day. This would solve the issue of hydration, but might be a bit gassy.

Despite it being after midday (I know, this won’t help my situation) a lot of the ducks and swans had opted out of the sunshine and were settled and asleep with their heads under their wings. This idea appeals to me a lot, but defeats the purpose of going out for a run.

It was a day of family strolls and many of the little people were being pushed along with blankets draped over the front of their pushchairs. Again this appeals to me, but I can’t see Ginge warming to the idea of pushing me down the towpath and running with a blanket over my head is likely to end in tears. Or a bloody great splash.

Boys in boats
We ran past two amazing sights of boys in boats. I say boats, the first ones were in an actual boat. But it was a leaky boat. And they were paddling with a plank. The second ones had a proper oar, but had crafted their vessel out of a piece of chipboard and two milk crates. This doesn’t solve any of my running issues, but made me grin hugely and took my mind off feeling rubbish.

Dressing appropriately
I was wearing 3/4 length tights and a t-shirt. This is the minimum I can wear without either burning to a crisp or running the gauntlet of decency laws. As I was sweltering along, we were passed by two people who can only be described as weirdos. The first was a lady running along in a sequined Burnley FC t-shirt and full make up. When I say full make up, I mean full make up in a “Before” on Snog, Marry, Avoid (I saw a bit channel hopping once…) – thick foundation, big eyes, blusher, sparkly lippy and probably a million other products I’ve never heard of – it made my face feel heavy just looking at her. The second person who passed us was a young man in shorts and a hoody. I have no idea what was going through his head as he got dressed “Oh, it’s a lovely day, sun’s shining, what shall I wear? I know, fleece”. He was going a lot faster than us, so clearly it worked for him.  I don’t think make-up and layers will help me, but I have toyed with the idea of some shorts (Long shorts. Long, long shorts. Maybe down to my calf…) and bought a hat that makes me look even more ridiculous than normal (every time I think I can’t look more daft, I find something that can).

I have been banned from eating jelly babies as I seem to flag more after I’ve eaten one. I’ve had a think about this, and I suspect that it’s salt that I need, rather than sugar. Yes, I’m getting tired but I think that’s part of my heat issues rather than simply running out of energy. This week I started to flag at seven miles and that distance isn’t usually a problem for me. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, @robjcameron (who ran this year’s London Marathon and knows about stuff)  responded to my pitiful response to @people_run’s request for sun running tips and gave me some hints involving pretzels and isotonic drinks. I have always thought that my mileage was too embarrassingly pitiful to warrant such things (the drinks, not pretzels, I love pretzels), but maybe the time has come for me to investigate them. (EDIT: PeopleRun – Hot Stuff! Top Tips for Running In Warm Weather)

So there we have it – hat, magic drinks and pretzels, as well not going out too late in the day if it can be avoided. If anyone has any more suggestions, they would be more than welcome.