Marathon Training: Chapter Four ‘Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot’

Marathon Training: Week Four  ‘Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot’

Like Buster Pointdexter sang, ‘It is HOT, HOT, HOT!’

This week was a scorcher where I live. So very hot and humid. I am certainly glad that I am not working and have some flexibility with training while on vacation. That being said, I also continue to struggle balancing my workouts with the the workout schedule of my wife and the responsibility of parenting two young children.

This week, I continue to concentrate on fueling. I have always had issues fueling when running. The issue I have is that I don’t fuel. I don’t like drinking fluids until I am completed a run. I don’t really feel super comfortable wearing a fuel belt. I think gels taste like I threw up in my mouth and I am not a huge sugar fan, so chews are sweet and much too sugary for my taste, liking and sometimes my body (I like to call it the ‘running reaction’. Where you are running and all of a sudden, you have that sudden urge to run to the bathroom!). One days like this week, you have to be especially cognizant of fueling properly to ensure that running in the heat doesn’t have a lasting impact on your immediate health!

So, this is my second week readjusting to running with a fuel belt. I usually don’t run with a fuel belt as most of my distances were shorter (under 8K) and I felt I didn’t need to bring water or fuel with me, so this is a bit of an adjustment for me, but necessary for the extreme heat and humidity.  Here is a great link on hydration habits and how it can affect your race time

However, due to the heat and humidity (and safety), I have chosen to ride my road bike as a substitute to running during this hot and humid week. I chose to do this because it forces me to drink fluids when exercising (which I still find difficult to do) and as the distance continues to increase, so does the increasing aches and pains in my legs, especially my knees and IT bands (More on that in my next post)!

All right. Here is a record of the training this week

Day 1. Hot. Did I mention it was hot out today? And humid? Today, I did a BRICK workout where I biked for 60 min and rain for 15 minutes. I really didn’t focus too much on distance but more on time. I am trying to get a feel or working my threshold to ride or run when uncomfortable. Add in the heat and humidity, and working your body at 80% of its capacity, that is an algebraic formula for uncomfortable. Lots of liquids on the bike. No liquids on the run. Did I mention it was hot?

Day 2. 12.5Km run in 1:22 at a 6:23 pace. A slow long run at a slow pace on a very hot and humid day. Today was the day to run slow but my mind is having difficulty telling my body to run slow. My mind and my body seem to want to run faster than the intended 6:30 pace. I worry about the long term training on my legs and knees as they are starting to get sore, ache or worrisome at different parts of the run.

Day 3. Today I was to do a 6K tempo run with a pace of 5:50. Instead I rode my bike for 19.5K in 40:11 at a 2:04 pace on another hot and humid day. I also did this ride at 2:30 in the afternoon as this was the ‘optimal’ time in our scheduled day to exercise. Did I mention it was hot and humid? A great way to ensure that I am drinking when riding/exercising to help train my mind and body to replenish with fluids regularly when exercising.

Day 4.Today is my favourite running schedule day. Hills! I really like running hills. Most people moan and groan but I take it as an individual challenge. A slow 3k warm up and then two hills repeats that are about 300-400 metres on another hot and humid day.  I will be the first to admit that this is the first time that I ever ran hills wearing a fuel belt. The water and sports drink were much needed as I was wiped by the end of the hill repeats and then had 3k to ‘cool down’ (no pun intended)!

Day 5. I was supposed to do a 8K steady run but instead I hopped on my bike instead. I did a short but hilly 2o k route in 45:28 at a slower than usual 2:16 pace. did I mention that my ride was when it was very hot and humid?  The heat and humidity were definitely getting to me and I am riding in a regular cycling jersey. I went home and immediately ordered two lightweight sleeveless cycling jerseys to be cooler when I rode!

Day 6. Off (thank goodness)

Day 7. I was scheduled to run but instead I did 1.5 hours of pilates, stretching and core exercises using Youtube and my cool basement as my workout area using videos from the bossy trainer and Efit30.

I wonder who I will be able to continue to increase my distance in the extreme heat if it continues as well as how to balance the hurt of my legs and knees. However, that is a story for next time!

For more information on Andy running the Niagara Falls Marathon in October 2013 for Brian the Great or to make a donation, please see the link on the homepage of the museum website at


Chapter One – Marathon Training – Week One


Chapter One – Marathon Training – Week One         


Week one of marathon training starts as I recover from my participation in an Olympic distance Duathlon (2 K run, 40 K bike, 10 K run) at the 5150 event in Huntsville. This was my first race where I had to bike and run in the same race. I had been training for this event since the beginning of April, biking, running a variety of workouts (intervals, hills, time trials, BRICK workouts (where you run after you bike) and doing core strength exercises (and pilates). It went very well. I was very happy with all three times (9:09 2K run, 1:19:00 40K bike, 56:57 10K run) and finished 13 out of 23 participants.


Cross training was totally new to me. Thanks from some help from the Internet and a few friends, I was able to piece together a training plan that started in April. I was able to reflect a bit on the training for three months for a race. There were a couple of highlights. First, I was able to increase my pace on my bike and my runs throughout the training. Secondly, I felt good sticking to a set schedule for training. Thirdly, I haven’t felt better in years. I was energized (more so than usual).


However, in reflection, there were also some improvements and adjustments that needed to be made to ensure that I would be successful in this race and for the marathon training that I was about to embark on.


  1. Fuel – I am not accustomed to running with a fuel belt and really am sort of clueless about how to fuel and when to fuel and what to fuel with. This was something that I would have to learn about over the course of my training
  2. Nutrition – I am a pretty healthy guy who eats well. But being a vegetarian, I am always concerned about getting enough protein. I also had to change my breakfast to ensure that I had enough good food to fuel my exercise so I wasn’t lethargic our bunt out. I also had to revisit what I was eating and drinking pre, during and post exercise.
  3. Equipment – I run with running shoes, a good pair of shorts and a technical t-shirt. Either than that, I didn’t really have good equipment. I used an app on my phone to help with distance, time and pace. I didn’t run with a fuel belt. Didn’t run with a hat. Didn’t run with sun glasses. I didn’t really look like a long distance runner, and I was OK with that. My wife. She was not! She bought me a GPS watch so that I didn’t have to carry my phone. She made me use her fuel belt. She suggested that I run with a hat. She suggested that I look more of the part of a long distance runner


These three areas were identified as growth areas for me over the course of my training for the 5150 event and marathon training.


 So, when I started my training for the marathon, I was just coming off of the duathlon. It was also one of the busiest weeks of the year professionally for me as it was one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. Needless to say, I enjoyed recovery more than actual training. I rode my bike for 20K mid week, squeezed in a 6K run at a decent pace (5:40 per km) and then rode my bike again on the weekend, riding close to 26K on Sat and 28k on Sunday.


I really do enjoy the cross training aspect as I know my legs will be in shock when the distance starts to really increase when I start running 4 to 5 days a week, doing core strength on day a week and then figure out when I can fit the bike in!


However, that is a story for next time!