Here's the thing that's been troubling me about my London Marathon training at the moment: 'should I train with what they're going to give me on the day'.
The sensible answer is yes, but with the London Marathon, they're going to be handing out Lucozade, and I've never really been a fan of Lucozade - it just reminds me of being ill and having to go round my Nan's house.
I know Lucozade has come on since then, but I'm still not 100% sure I want to be married to the stuff for the next seven weeks. So, I can't decide whether to train with the energy gels and drinks I've been using, and then just carry plenty in a bum bag, or whether to abandon, and embrace Lucozade. I have a feeling that after a certain mileage, I might abandon all hope anyway and just drink whatever I can lay my hands on. I'm sure if someone thrust a cup of sweat into my hand at mile 25, I'd drink it.
I've been training with a mixture of gels, shakes, powders, hydro tablets and the like, to find what works best for me. I've tried lots of things, but none of them in controlled conditions, so it's impossible to work out what is actually making a difference.
The first time I tried the new Science In Sport Electrolyte Powder, I felt on top of the world. I had my fastest, easiest, most enjoyable long run so far. Now, this could have been for many reasons, the sun being out, new trainers, the training plan actually working, etc, but I figure, that day I found some magic running alchemy, and am sticking with it.
This SiS powder is great for hydrating pre-run, but tricky to take with me, as I don't want to run with a water bottle. My current plan is to run with it, in it's powder form, and then add it to plain water at the water stations. You can buy it in sachets, but it's more economical in tub form, so I'm going to make my own sachets with tin foil, and look deeply suspicious, should my running bum bag ever be subject to a search.
I also don't want to be weighed down with a load of stuff on the day. On a ten mile race this weekend I saw a man running with a "marathon belt", which is a belt for gels that you keep around your waist. It looked like a gun holster, but for a cowboy with a love of sachets. I'm not ready to be the sachet cowboy.
I'm trying to make sure I'm getting enough protein, which is tricky as I don't eat meat, so I figured that protein shakes are the best way forward. Although choosing one can be a bit daunting, especially when faced with a shelf of "man powders". Lifestyle Labs is a lovely website for buying supplements (plus they give discount if you share the link on social media - I knew joining google plus would be good for something). At the moment I'm taking Forza Protein Shakes, and they seem to be doing the job. What "job" that is, is yet to be decided, as I don't appear to have developed abs by magic (that's how protein shakes work, right?), BUT my mileage is going up week by week, and I'm maintaining the pace that I've set out to maintain.
So far, so good.