Gels vs. Chews

Remember how I said that I was going to do a gels vs. chews comparison post? Well this is it. I’ve thought about this for a while, especially when I was looking into what nutrition I would need during a long run. What I’ll do is list the pros and cons for each and then commonalities at the end.

Gels

Week 7 1

-Easy to take while on a run, (you can just kind of slurp it back and go)

-The consistency of some can be a little thick, so it might make things a little tricky

-Like eating different kinds of jam

-More calories in one gel relative to one chew

Chews

Clif Bloks Energy Chews

-The size of some of them can be massive…read my post on the Clif Bloks as a good example

-The packaging can be a bit of a challenge while on the run

-Kind of like chewing on a gummy candy

-Don’t fit in those little loops on a fuel belt

Common Ground

-No difference in flavour (generally)

-Both can be taken just as often as the other, so it’s not like you cut out some time by taking a gel vs. a chew (for example)

-Both can have caffeine

-Price wise there generally isn’t a huge difference between one singular gel and one singular pack of chews

What are your favourite gels/chews? Any other perks to either that you can think of?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

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The New (and not so improved) Leg Day!

As you guys probably know, I tore my meniscus eight days ago and am on a strict, “don’t do anything that will aggravate it”, plan for the unforeseen future. The desire to run and deadlift is strong, but I know that going against the doctor’s advice isn’t going to do me any good. As some of you have suggested, I’m going to take this time to really dial in on my nutrition and work on my strength training.

Since I can’t work my left leg, I’ve decided to change my leg day to accommodate the injury. Rather than just skipping leg day altogether, I’ve decided to change my routine from unilateral movements to isolateral movements so that I could still gain strength in my right leg. Once I’m healed, I’ll continue to do isolateral movements but use both legs so that the strength will eventually be back to normal. I’ve only done a leg day twice since the incident, but this is my current plan:

-Glute Pedal (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

-Hamstring Curl (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

-Seated Calf Press (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

I tried to do a lateral cable leg raise, however I still feel some strain in my knee since I have to stabilize myself while raising my right leg so I’ve decided to omit that. You win some, you lose some!

In addition to the above exercises that I’ll be doing on leg day, I also have the physio exercises that the doctor prescribed to me:

-Quad Sets (Held for 6 seconds followed by a 10 second rest – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Front (Raise 12 inches from the floor & hold for 5 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Outside (Raise 12 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Back (Raise 6 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Inside (Raise 6 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Hamstring Curls (Lying on the floor – 8-12 reps)

-Standing Calf Raises (Hold for 6 seconds – 8-12 reps)

-Half Squat – 8-12 reps

I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to workout like I normally do, but good things take time. Wish me luck!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Half Marathon No Longer

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know what’s going on. Near the end of my long run on Tuesday, I felt a pop behind my knee on the right side. Since I didn’t have much left of my run, (and I’m stubborn), I decided to see it through to the end. As I limped through my cool down, I knew something wasn’t quite right. After stretching and rolling out for a bit, I would still get that popping sensation whenever there was any flexion in my left leg. Would I be able to run my half marathon? Would I be able to squat ever again? I’m a huge drama queen, but my mind started going to the worst places.

The Diagnosis

After three days of RICE and no progress, I decided that I should probably get my knee checked out. After describing my symptoms, the doctor examined my knee and ordered an ultrasound; all of which led to a torn meniscus. Aside from breaking both wrists and fracturing my ulna, I’ve never done anything like this so it’s a little scary. The doctor told me that anything that could aggravate my knee is out of the question until I’m pain free; this means no half marathon.

How am I Feeling

Really bummed. I feel like the last few months have just been flushed down the drain and have been a waste of time. All the time, energy, and money I’ve spent FEELS like it was wasted. In terms of my knee, I don’t have any issues walking, but stairs kill and I can’t do anything past a leisurely stroll. My range of motion is limited, and the right side of my knee is fairly swollen. The doctor that I spoke with gave me some exercises that I’m supposed to do once or twice a day, (they take about 5-10 minutes), in addition to a referral for physio. Since I’ve never been to physio, I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I’ll be sure to blog about my experience. I’m discouraged, but it’s time to heal.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

End of Week Check-In (Week 10)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! I think a mixture of blog scheduling and my own schedule had something to do with that. This past week has been so challenging. Final exams are around the corner, (literally, my exam’s on Thursday) and I’ve had a ton of papers due this whole month. A well-planned week can only get you so far before you have to cut something out. After Thursday passes, I should be back to normal again, so I’m just trying to hang in there! Without further ado, here’s what this past week looked like:

Monday

7.6mi run with an average pace of 10:59/mi and a moving time of 1:24:08.

Week 10

*I talked about this run a week ago on the blog…it was actually supposed to be longer, (13.1mi), but if you read the blog post, you’ll discover why it wasn’t.

Tuesday

Rest Day.

Wednesday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm up

-Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown: 110lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Concentrated Bicep Curls: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Deadlift: 100lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Barbells Preacher Curls: 40lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Low Row: 105lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bicep Curls (machine): 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

*This day was awesome! I was super happy with my deadlift results since it’s such a difficult exercise.

Thursday

3mi Progression Run with an average pace of 9:40/mi and a moving time of 29:11.

Week 10 1

*I was super wowed by this. I don’t think I’ve ever run a pace this quick for this duration of time. Maybe this is a sign of things to come!

Friday

8.5mi run with an average pace of 10:53/mi and a moving time of 1:32:32.

*Since it was Good Friday and Daniel had the day off from work, I got to run part of this run with him, (his knee started bothering him so he stopped early). I forgot what it was like to run with someone!

Saturday

Chest & Triceps:

-5min warm up

-Assisted Dips: 50lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Cable Flyes: 27.5lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Kickbacks: 30lbs @ 17 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Dumbbell Bench Press: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

*There’s a few things worth mentioning for this workout. One, I felt HORRIBLE going into it. It was just one of those days where I wasn’t into it and it was definitely reflected in the results. I didn’t do any incline bench press since the only incline bench was constantly in use, (with people working in with each other no less!), and my dumbbell bench press weight had to be knocked down 10lbs since I had zero energy. Not super happy about that. Just as a side note, the weight for the cable flyes is per arm and not cumulative.

Sunday

Rest Day.

Not the greatest week, right? It happens. School is clearly my priority and if I have to drop some runs/workouts in order to feel better prepared for my exam/finish a paper, so be it. That being said, I’m very excited for the end of the semester so I don’t have to do that for a bit.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

Redefining Goals

I have 22 days until my first half-marathon. 22. That’s not a lot. I’ve put in work though and have changed up my nutrition, so I’m hoping that that won’t be in vain. Wish me luck!

I’ve been looking at my Strava account and all the runs I’ve been doing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to re-evaluate my goal time for the race. Initially, I was aiming for a sub 2:20 time, which would mean an average pace of 10:41/mi. While I could hold that pace for six MAYBE eight miles, I don’t think I could do it for 13.1. I thought about changing my goal to be a sub 2:25 time, which would add up to an average pace of 11:04. Much more manageable I think.

I’m still torn though. I’ve had some pretty fast runs recently that make me think I’m capable of a sub 2:20 time. That being said, I’m still struggling with nutrition during runs and that definitely slows things down. 10:41/mi or 11:04/mi?!?! I’m so lost. *rant over*

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Clif Bloks Energy Chews

A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip to National Sports to get some chews/gels. I ended up buying two packs of Clif Bloks Energy Chews, (one black cherry and one tropical punch), and two Clif Shot Energy Gels, (both were the razz flavour), while I’ve already done a review on the gels, here’s my review on the chews. Just as a head’s up, you can probably expect a gel vs. chew post in the very near future.

I decided to take one chew every 35 minutes rather than 3 every 45. There are two reasons as to why I arrived at that time interval:

  1. When I was taking the gels, I only used half a pack every 45 minutes and that seemed to work for me.
  2. The chews from Clif are HUGE.

With that said, this is what I gathered from my experience with Clif Bloks Energy Chews:

-Like it said, it’s huge. Because of its size, it makes it challenging to chew…especially while running.

-The tropical punch flavour was really tasty. I always have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s kind of nice to get that while on a run.

-Not super convenient to take while on a run since it comes in a long package.

-Digests well, (it’s also organic which is a plus)

-The caffeine gives you a quick boost without the crash

I still have one more pack of chews to go through, but I think I’m going to stick to gels after this. Question for you guys: how do you guys run and take gels or eat chews? I literally have to stop and do it…clearly I’m not the greatest multitasker!

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: I’m going to say yes, but I wish the size was smaller.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Lesson Learned…

Usually I like to do a weekly recap on Mondays, but I had a really interesting, (if you want to call it that), run today that I felt was a little more important to document than what I did this past week. I’m considering this a lesson learned, although I feel like it’s a rookie mistake…hear me out:

Today was supposed to be my long run for the week. I tend to do my long runs on Mondays, since it gives me enough time to take a rest day afterwards and then get back on track. Since getting my Garmin for my birthday, I’ve stopped running with my phone so I only bring keys, gels, (if needed), my iPod, and a hydration pack, (if needed). Today was no exception. Daniel happened to be working from home today and advised that I throw in some Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator in my hydration pack to which I obliged. I checked the weather one last time before heading out when I saw that it was scheduled to rain pretty heavy in the evening. Not a big deal though, since I was already suited up for my run and it wasn’t even 2:00. Off I go.

Lesson Learned 1

Smiling because I don’t know what’s in store for me yet!

My route was one that I’ve done before, the only difference was that I ran to the end of the trail and had to continue on the street. I planned an out-and-back, with the turn around point being at 6.6 miles. The turn around point was also at the bottom of the hill, so when it was time to turn around, I had to go back up and gassed it a little too hard, (problem number 1). Once the elevation began to even out, I went to drink some of my Vega only to discover that I finished it all. 1.5L down and I was only just over half way through, (problem number 2). This meant that my chews had to be put on the backburner since I didn’t have any liquids to take them with, (and Clif Bloks are MASSIVE – also problem number 3). Again, not the end of the world, I was just probably going to be fatigued more than usual.

As I approached a highway overpass, I got a really good look at the sky and realized how gray it was. I thought to stop since I was passing potential shelter, (a gas station), but kept going since it wasn’t even raining. Two blocks later, I saw a giant bolt of lightning about 200 yards away from me. Game over. My world started to crumble…especially when I realized I had no bus pass, no money, and no phone. The level of screwed I was was unreal. Desperate, I ran to a convenience store and asked to use their phone. I was so thankful when they said yes, and I quickly tried to remember Daniel’s phone number, (damn you speed dial). After telling Daniel my dilemma and where I was, he rushed over and picked me up. Literally as soon as I got off the phone with him, the sky opened up and it really poured. “You really should have some money on you or something.” Daniel said. Yeah. You’re telling me.

I’m so thankful that my boyfriend was home, or else I would’ve been crazy stranded. I never thought to run with money or a bus pass before despite hearing it all the time, but now that I was in this situation, I’m thinking about it a lot. Never doing that again, especially on a day where the weather’s bad.

Lesson Learned

Right where I crossed the 401 is where things got a little hairy.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Clif Shot Energy Gel

Week 7 1

Price: $1.50 (at mec.ca)

The decision to run long distances comes with a host of new elements: hydration packs, electrolytes, gels/chews, the list goes on. I felt like my hydration game was pretty on point, but I needed to figure out something on the chew/gel front. Since I work at a running store, I’ve tried a fair bit of running nutrition, however I’ve never been able to try them during a run. I had put a fair amount of research into this, since messing up nutrition during a run can really make or break you. When trying to find a brand and type of running nutrition, I took into account the following:

-Chew vs. Gel: (chews can be a little tricky to navigate since you have to chew them mid run, whereas gels can just be slurped down). That being said, gels sometimes are a little on the thicker side and make it harder to swallow.

-Accessible Packing: I don’t want to fight with the package mid-run.

-Certified Organic: I tend to get headaches and digestive issues sometimes post-run, so I wanted to make sure the ingredients were something that could be easily digested with no issues.

-Caffeine: An immediate burst of energy is nice, but a non-caffeine gel/chew wasn’t a write-off.

-Good Flavour: This one is pretty self-explanatory.

After reading some blogs on here and doing my own research, (and trying some stuff at work), I settled on the Clif Shot Energy Gel. I also bought the chews, but I haven’t used those on a run yet so I’ll save those for another review. In the mean time, here’s what I thought of the gel:

-I still haven’t mastered the running and eating thing, so it’s been a little challenging running and swallowing the gel. This isn’t anything to do with the brand, (in fact, I find Clif’s gels pretty easy to swallow), but more so with my lack of experience.

-Tastes like raspberry jam, (I bought the razz flavour, also a huge win).

-Caffeine delivers immediate energy with no crash

I should probably note that when I use the Clif Shot Energy Gel, I only use on half a gel every 45 minutes. When I first tried running and gels, I didn’t want to take an aggressive approach in fear that I would mess with my digestive system. So far, that seems to be an effective method, so I think I’m going to stick to it.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

End of Week Check-In (Week 8)

This week was an interesting one, haha. On Monday, I decided to take my interval workout to the track at my gym. Mid-interval, I felt a breeze on my right mid-thigh. Once I stopped that particular interval, I looked down and noticed that there was a tear about two and a half inches long along the inner seem of my leggings. Reluctant to stop and go home due to my wardrobe malfunction, I continued to run which caused EXTREME chafe on my thigh. I literally thought I was going to die from the pain. Since walking was extremely painful as the chafed area would rub against the fabric of my shorts/pants, I had to rearrange my workouts until it healed. I’m fine now, (it actually scarred), but here’s what I managed to squeeze in this week:

Monday

Interval Run (Chafe Day): 3mi with an average pace of 10:25/mi and a moving time of 31:14.

Tuesday

Rest Day.

Wednesday

With the help of some gauze and medical tape, I was able to get in a leg/shoulder day:

-5 min warm up

-V-Squat: 140lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Calf Press: 75lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Shoulder Press: 55lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 190lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 20lbs @ 16 reps (1 min rest between sets)

*I talked about this briefly on Instagram, but after having issues lifting the barbell over my head for my standing shoulder press, it suddenly dawned on me that I should use a squat rack. A huge world of a difference! I also wanted to use the hip abductor machine, however it was in use and wasn’t in the mood to set in with someone.

Thursday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm-up

-Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown: 75lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Concentrated Bicep Curls: 20lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Deadlift: 90lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Barbell Preacher Curls: 35lbs @ 20 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Seated Row: 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bicep Curls (machine): 50lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

Rest Day.

Sunday

Chest & Triceps:

-5 min warm-up

-Incline Bench Press: 40lbs @ 10 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Assisted Dips: 70lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Cable Flyes: 17.5lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Kickbacks: 15lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Dumbbell Bench Press: 25lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Press: 100lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

3mi Run: average pace of 10:17/mi with a moving time of 30:51.

Since my thigh’s feeling good, I’m pumped to go hard this week. Like I said last week, I decided to combine my leg day with my shoulder day since they were both relatively short and would buy me an extra rest day. I really want to up my mileage this month, so I might try to get out there and run a couple extra miles, even if it’s on the treadmill.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy