I'm in love with Lemon-Lime Clif Shot Blocks. I had a brief flirtation in the past with them, but the timing wasn't right. After hearing a tip from a fellow runner on the podcast, Phedippidations, I decided to give them another shot...no pun intended.
The tip was to put a shot block over in the side of your mouth and just leave it there. You don't have to worry about chewing it or swallowing it whole (my mistake in the past) - you just let it do its thing. (Adam...no "that's what she said" jokes please!!) So if over the course of 26.2 miles I want to consume 8 shot blocks, I will pop one in every 3 miles. I tested this out on an 8 mile run last Sunday and it was great-my stomach handled them well, and I found that I wasn't as thirsty as I usually get on runs when I use GU. I am going to continue training with the shot blocks and see how things turn out. Plus, wrapped in saran wrap, the blocks are pretty easy to carry on runs.
On another exciting note, I was able to keep a consistent 9:30 pace for the entire 8 mile run. In the past, I've been able to keep this pace for a little while on the treadmill, but as the miles would add up, my pace would climb up to around 9:45 or 9:50. Then, when I would get out on the roads on the weekends I could not manage to get past a 10:00/mile pace. I recently scrapped my original Flying Pig training plan (sorry Dean!) altogether because it just wasn't working. I finally gave in to using the Runner's World Smart Coach training plan calculator, and it has changed my life. I credit my 8 miler at a 9:30 pace completely to the speed work that the Smart Coach plan has me doing. I've always wanted to incorporate speed work into my training, but I just never did. But now I am, and it makes an incredible difference. I feel confident that this is going to help me keep up with my sister and get me to a 4:30 finish at the Flying Pig in May. I'm also hoping that during the upcoming spring 5k season I will be able to complete a 5k in 24:00 minutes. In the past four 5ks that I've run I've come in 2nd in my age group - I'm thirsty for a first place finish!