Week Seven Begins, Twelve Weeks to Go

We’re through the early foundational stages of training now and things are about to get real. Today’s run was 19km and from here, all the Sunday runs are at least 23km with a single 19km step back week a few weeks from now.

Here’s hoping you’ve been running your four or five days a week and have a good base to build on. If you don’t have that base of training and good habits of running at least four days a week, I’m sorry to say this: you are screwed. If that’s you, then it’s time to start seriously thinking about how the heck you’ll be able to run 42.2km in 12 weeks, and maybe also time to consider changing your race.

The next phase of the training program is no joke. Nine of the next ten runs leading up to race day are at least 23km and as much as 32km. Without the weekly runs that build the strength and cardio, those long 23km+ runs will break you down fast.

It’s starting to feel possible

If you’ve built the base, then the next phase of training is still going to be tough, but it’ll also be very rewarding. This is the time when the whole idea of running 42.2km starts to seem possible. You’ll click off the miles on your weekly long runs and all of a sudden, 23km or 26km runs won’t be that intimidating anymore.

The 29km and 32km runs aren’t far off now and keeping up with the training is key. You’ll be tired and some days the last thing you’ll probably want to do is go out to run 8km or 10km. But if you don’t get those weekday runs in, you’ll pay for it on the weekends to come.

As it was for the first six weeks of training, the key message for the next six weeks of training is simple: do the work.

Review: Q Energy Drink

Like most runners, I drink a specialized energy drink while I run instead of plain water. But unlike most, I don’t drink Gatorade, Powerade or any of the other big name energy drinks.

Instead I carry Q Energy in my bottle. I first started drinking Q back in 2011 (after my bike crash) and found it to be a great alternative to the sugary concoctions that the big sports drink makers peddle. When you consider that Powerade and Gatorade are made by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo respectively, you’ll get an idea of what you’re really drinking. It’s basically high fructose corn syrup and water, with some salt, potassium and a ton of marketing.

Q Energy, on the other hand, is an all natural product developed in Vancouver, Canada. It’s Health Canada approved and scientifically tested. 4 grams of natural cane sugar and a bit of stevia provide the sweetness, and there’s also a bit of caffeine added for that little boost during exercise.

What’s in it? And what’s not?

The Q stands for quercetin, a natural antioxidant that helps deliver energy at the cellular level. Along with that, Q also contains herbal extracts, vitamins and electrolytes. The flavour is mild, and they make lemon-lime, wildberry (my fav) and orange.

A good bit of scientific study has shown that quercetin provides proven performance improvements. I’m no scientist, but I do know from using Q for a few years, that it provides everything I look for in an energy drink: good taste, thirst quench and additional energy.

Compared to Gatorade and Powerade, Q is missing a few things: that oily texture, overly sweet taste, and gut-rot inducing levels of carbs. It also lacks things like chemical anti-foaming agents and preservatives.

Q comes as a powder in a single serve packet and you mix it with water yourself. Because it lacks those anti-foaming agents and chemical dispersants, Q has a cloudy look and sometimes foams up a bit. I don’t notice either of those things when I drink it from the bottle. Even the colour of Q is natural, derived from sweet potatoes.

Online, or in stores

I get my Q from the Q Drink Healthy website since it’s not available in too many stores in the Toronto area. Thanks to the Q Drink Healthy Club, they automatically send me a six week supply every six weeks or so. When I’m between training cycles, it’s easy to delay a shipment or change the timing if needed. If you live in Western Canada, you can find it in local health food stores.

If you want to give Q a shot, you can get a free sampler pack from the website. Normally they charge $3 to cover shipping, but if you use code “Koole” (that’s my last name) on checkout, you’ll get the shipping for free too.

Disclosure: I use Q Energy Drink on pretty much every run and have for years. Once or twice they’ve sent me some extra Q free of charge to share with friends.