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When taking the long road, we need to refuel

Blog #2 on my first marathon training

One of the things I really enjoy about long runs (anything over six miles starts feeling long to me right now) is getting a little lost or at least feel like I’m a fair distance from home. I like to go out in one big loop, making sure not to cross the same area twice if at all possible. It’s an exhilarating thought to be that far from home on foot - powerful, possible, and it often means I’m seeing new things, which is fun. Discovery in exercise! There is a limit however.

Last week I ran nine miles and was noticing some pain - not a lot, but enough to be concerned as I felt I had trained well enough for that level not to hurt. Part of the pain, I think, was about not drinking water during that run as I don’t want to carry and, unlike race day, there are no refill/refuel stations on training runs. So this week I decided to go for a bowtie run.

What I mean by that is I set up a mini-refuel station in my backyard. I ran for six miles, got a sip of Gatorade and a half pack of GU (these things are so tasty), then ran for another 3.5 miles, got another sip and the rest of the GU, then ran one more mile. So actually I ended up with an old school western bow tie pattern…or something like that. The point is, I allowed for the breaks and it really made a difference. I felt stronger throughout and the recovery has been very good. It’s a good life lesson.

There’s an ego part of running for me that just wants to push through at all costs, break personal records for time, etc... There’s another part that recognizes I’m 52 years old and running my first marathon, so I need to be conscious of that and train accordingly. In many ways, I’m fortunate that I’ve maintained my health well enough to have this opportunity. And who knows how much longer I’ll have it? Life happens, so I’m grateful for each day, each mile, each sip of Gatorade, and especially each chomp of GU.

I know the GU packs well from when I rode my bike across the country with my great, lifelong friend and mentor, Gary Earl. The lessons learned on that, my first elevated endurance activity (100 miles a day for 35 days - pretty good stuff), continue to flourish.

I’m grateful for the work, the friendship, and sharing this journey with you all.

Robert will push his father, Dan Cochrane, in a Hoyt Running Chair in the Walt DisneyWorld Marathon on Jan. 8, 2023. Click here if you’d like to run virtually with them and support their non-profit organization, Yes, And…eXercise!

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