I am an Eastbay intern who is training for the Chicago Marathon in October. Follow my training progress for my first marathon on my Maree’s 26.2 Journey Blog.

Last weekend, my training program called for a 15-mile run on Saturday, which I am proud to say I accomplished. In the days leading up to the run I was worried about finishing the distance comfortably, but I surprised myself with my ability to finish the 15 miles in 2 hours and 45 minutes without getting too tired or taking many walk breaks.

One thing that really helped me get through the run was eating GU Energy Gel before and during the run. The GU instructions say that you are supposed to eat one packet 15 minutes before every 45 minutes of running, so about every hour. I ate one 15 minutes before I started my run at 7:45 am, and another at around 9:10 when I was about eight miles into the workout. I could tell that the GU did its job, because I never got too tired and I felt that I had more energy than usual. The first eight miles of my run was on a back road that is very hilly, so I was worried about my ability to make it through that section without walking, since I don’t practice on hills very often. However, with the help of the GU and plenty of water, I finished that whole section without walking at all.

I stayed hydrated throughout the run with the help of my Fuel Belt, which holds four 8 oz. bottles of liquid, water in this case, and has a pouch on the front where I stored my GU. I also carried a water bottle along with me in my hand so that I could be sure I wouldn’t get thirsty. I ended up drinking all of the water I had with me and managed to stay hydrated for the entire run.

The second half of the run got tiring, mostly because it was getting closer to noon and I was running on a county road where the sun was beating directly on me. My running route is pictured below. Still, the temperature never climbed above 80 degrees, and a friend drove over and met me with a bottle of Gatorade when I had two miles to go so that I could replenish my electrolytes. Drinking the Gatorade at the end saved the day, because it was the last two miles that were the most difficult to finish due to the heat and my energy fading.

After my run, I went and jumped in the lake at my friend’s cabin, which felt absolutely amazing after running for almost three hours straight. I also ate some toast and eggs soon following my run, because it is always a good idea to eat carbohydrates within a half an hour of running and protein within an hour after the run to replenish calories and help your body recuperate.

Next weekend I have a 16-mile run coming up, but I feel much more confident about it now that the 15 miler went so smoothly. I am also looking into getting new running shoes this week so that I have time to break them in before the marathon. There will be more to come on my new shoes in Friday’s post.

My 15 Mile Running Route