Hitting the wall, fuel and belts

I LOVED taking Tony Horton’s classes this past weekend at IDEA.

Tony  1 of 1

Not only is he full of awesome tricks and valuable info -I used a couple of his moves in my Tabata class this morning- but he’s also a jokester. He called us baby pterodactyls at one point, and even though we were all in pain, he still managed to make me crack up. One of the things that made me chuckle was his impression of marathon runners. He pretended like he had a belt with 16 water bottles on it and shuffled across the stage. (Obviously not all marathon runners are like that, and who cares as long as you have fun and are safe, etc etc, but I thought it was pretty funny.) He was emphasizing the importance of functional fitness (being able to go through full range of motion and move like a child), but when he mentioned the belt with the water bottles, my brain immediately went to race fueling.

I have a tricky time with this one and am trying to figure out some things to try as I get into longer runs with my training.

Snacks  1 of 1 4

My friend Monica helped me out with a half marathon training plan, since she’s a running coach and I was looking for guidance with mileage. I also talked a little with her about fueling for races. I ALWAYS hit the wall around mile 10, have to walk, and have a tough time finishing the last part of the race. Even when I was training more consistently than I am now, the wall always happened. I figured I’ve been taking fuel too late (usually mile 6 and 10) when my body’s fuel sources are already depleted. Monica suggested taking my fuel earlier (a couple of shot bloks at miles 4 and 8) to see if it helps. (Here are a couple of posts I’ve found about half marathon fueling, too. )

I’m also trying to figure out the “how the heck do you carry stuff?” dilemma. I have a Spibelt that I’ve used forever, but during my last few runs, my phone has been bouncing all over the place.


They don’t look nerdy at all 😉

After receiving my new training plan -and maybe it’s also because I got it right after IDEA- I feel much more motivated to run. I’ve been looking forward to my next one, especially now that I’m used to the motions again.

Sabino trail

So tell me friends: when do you fuel for half marathons? When and what do you eat for a race day breakfast? How the heck do you carry all your stuff?

I’m always looking for new ideas, especially since running isn’t my strongest fitness event. I could Zumba for two hours, no problem, though 😉

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Excited to hear your tips and tricks!



*I’m running the Women’s Running Series half marathon this November. If you’d like to register, check out the info here and enter “FITAZGINA” to get $10 off!

**This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Fitfluential. As always, all opinions are my own. I’m just excited to have an opportunity to do a fall race and get my mojo going for this year’s race season 🙂

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  1. Becca on August 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I kept hitting the wall, too, until I finally started fueling a little (1 piece of gummy candy or 1/3 of a sports gel) around every 30 minand that did the trick. Now I can finish stronger and with wayyyy more energy.

    I have an ipodarm band and it fits my ipod, phone, toilet paper, and even a gel if you pack it right!

  2. Sneha on August 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I used this water bottle from REI for my first half mary earlier this year.

    so I didnt carry too much with me during the race ( luckily we had a cheer team at the finish to hold on to our stuff =) )

    Surprisingly, I was able to make it through the whole race with no food during it. I thought I might feel sick while eating on the run, so I just fueled up a lot for breakfast ( 2 eggs, 1 banana, lots of water, pb and toast.) , and then refueled at the end of the race ( hello team brunch!! )

  3. Kelly on August 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I carry my phone in my bra. I’m a walker, not a runner so maybe this won’t help. I keep the case side to my skin and the phone side to my bra because it will get sweaty! I good do Zumba for 2 hrs too, no prob but running…. HARD! I’m thinking of going to the Zumba fitness concert in Chicago at the end of the month and I think those run a couple of hours. We’ll see if I can get my friends to join me!
    Thanks for your blog Gina, it is a daily must! Have fun!

  4. Mollie on August 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Hi Gina,

    I’m training for a marathon now so have been trying out some different options for fueling and carrying. I can’t carry anything around my hips as it will just move up to my waist and bounce around, but I’ve found two other good options. 1) the one I use most is a handheld water bottle which has a strap to help you hold it and a pocket to put in fuel. 2) if I’m going for a long run where there’s no place to refill my water bottle then I’ll take a small hydration backpack with a sternum strap but no waist belt. Do you have drinking fountains along your route?

    I find I have to slow down a bit to refuel so try to time it with a walk break, about every hour. I actually find I can tell when I need some calories so usually just go with that instead of planning it. Some days I need more or less or sooner or later. I find sports drinks are the easiest to consume on the go, and often bring some to mix up somewhere b/w miles 4 and 6. I also like Cliff bars which I can eat a bit at a time. Last time I brought raisins which also worked.

    As for hitting the wall, a couple other factors I’ve found to be important is how fast I start out and heat. Running the first mile or two nice and easy really helps to let me keep going long (maybe for a half a warm-up would be good for this). If you are in the heat that really takes a toll on how much you can do. It also means you are losing a lot of salts as well as liquids. When I’ve hit the wall it’s usually been either starting out too fast or on a really hot day.

    Good luck with your training!

  5. Anna @ Fitness à la Anna on August 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I use a fuel belt that has one normal-sized water bottle held at a slant behind me with two zipper side-pockets that I bought at Athletes World a few years ago. I looked into the multiple little bottle belts, but found that they were too bouncy – I hate when they flop around when you run! It is actually an incentive to pass people during races when their water belts are too floppy 😉

    I’m also a fan of wearing it in the smallest part of your belly, so I end up looking pretty fabulousss haha. I find this helps with eliminating bounce and makes it so I can’t feel the straps as much when I run.

  6. Ashley on August 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Ugh trying to figure out how to fuel is so hard because I get queasy. I’m finding that regular food not special runner food can be nice like gummy bears because my body is already used to those things since I eat way to many gummy bears.

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