Rookie Mistakes

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I’ve been clawing my way back to long distance running.  I got up to 9 miles tonight!  Slow but steady. 


I haven’t done long runs in so long that I’m making rookie mistakes.  I know better, I swear!


I used to have longer runs down to a T.  I knew what to eat before, during, and after.  I always drank enough water.   I stretched right away. 


But the last few weeks of half marathon training – with a 8 and a 9 miler – has totally tested me!  I forgot to bring a water bottle last week, and this week, I completely forgot to bring fuel.  I’m definitely at the point that I need to eat something in the middle of my run.  At least in the form of Gatorade, but especially in the form of Gu or Shot Bloks.


One thing I did do right – I had a running buddy!  I hate running long distances without a buddy.  Thank goodness for Nicole. 




We finished in 1:40, an average pace of 11:11, which was similar to last week’s pace.  I’ll take it.  We usually start doing walk/run intervals after Mile 6. 


Another rookie mistake:  I had the wrong type of fuel before running.  Let me tell you – rice cakes, hummus, and herbed goat cheese burps do not taste good.


Post-run fueling was much more effective!



And two chocolate-covered brownie bites.  I’ll share the super easy recipe tomorrow!


Long runs are about more than the actual workout. How do ensure you perform strong and recover quickly?



  • Bonnie September 19, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Great run, even with the “rookie mistakes,” Caitlin! That photo of you and Nicole is SO cute! You guys look so happy. To ensure a good result mid-run, I bring normally 2-4 dried cherries (so plump and BIG! not sure where my in-laws get them) as my fuel and actually have run up to almost 16 miles without water. I know it’s not “good,” but my body seems to do okay. I don’t own any small water bottles or a camelbak, but I want to invest in one and see if it changes my performance. Afterwards, ice baths make me feel hardcore so I like those and I drink up! 😀 Keep enjoying getting back into those runs and glad you have a running buddy to help you through them!

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:33 am

      You’re like a camel 🙂

  • Deva @ Deva by Definition September 19, 2011, 9:57 pm

    I am a sweater when I run – as in, I sweat A LOT. It could be a 2-miler or 4-miler, after either I am drenched. I carry water with me and try to eat something light but not burpy before a run (I like toast and peanut butter or a few popsicles before hand). I’ve never run long enough to need mid-run fuel, but I notice a big difference in my performance when I have gatorade or a popsicle before/after my workout than when i don’t.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB September 19, 2011, 9:58 pm

    Great job! For me, mental preparation and adequate levels of bribery are essential. Pep talk while getting ready, selection of frozen yogurt toppings/pedicure polish colors/crappy TV show while running, and then the self-indulgence afterwards. Highly effective.

  • Army Amy* September 19, 2011, 10:05 pm

    High five for running 9 miles!*

  • Ashley September 19, 2011, 10:06 pm

    I’m still working on figuring out how to prepare for long runs. I just completed my first 8 mile run over the weekend (training for a half in October). I didn’t even eat breakfast before!! Haha! I’m such a doofus!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 19, 2011, 10:10 pm

    It’s funny how we get out of practice. A partner was a good call though!

  • Emily September 19, 2011, 10:13 pm

    Whats your recommended post-run fuel?? I still don’t totally know what to have, i just go with what I want and try to balance protein and carbs

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 19, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I am terrible at fuelling for long runs.

    I just did a 10 miler on the weekend with no water or food. . . but that’s how I always operate (and I wonder why I’m so slow at the last 3 or 4 miles)

    My running buddy told me that I should bring at least water, but probably some sports drink and/or some type of running fuel. I might have to start rethinking how I operate.

  • Cyndi September 19, 2011, 10:20 pm

    I go to bed early. I used to get everything ready the night before but realized I have time in the morning while I’m eating breakfast, having a half cup of coffee and waiting for “nature to call”. I do pick my route, especially if I’m going to travel to a park – I’ll leave a note for the hubs. And I NEVER forget my Body glide. I’ve realized the more I do long runs, the less dependent I am on fuel, but I must have bodyglide!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 19, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Laughing at the burp comment. Oh there are times where I eat some salsa or something spicy right before a run and do the same thing. I am like…what was I thinking? haha!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 19, 2011, 10:23 pm

    I’m just getting into distance running, so I’m sure I’ll be making a lot of “rookie” mistakes while I figure it out. Like right now the thought of eating a gu shot during a run seems so odd to me – I don’t even stop for water on my 6.2 mile runs

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg September 19, 2011, 10:30 pm

    Fuel and water (+ mental preparing) are key for me when it comes to long runs. I need to tell myself that I can do it or I find myself wanting to stop after 2-3 miles.

  • Nicole September 19, 2011, 10:42 pm

    My feet hate me.

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:31 am

      mine too.

  • Brianna September 19, 2011, 10:54 pm

    For me, the key is having a good meal the night before my long runs. If I eat junk….i’ll feel like junk on my run. I always carry water but am bad about carrying GU, etc.

    I used to be someone that always had to do my long runs with a group. Now, I prefer to do them alone most of the time. It gives me a chance to test my pace and zone out with out all the group chatter.

  • Pamela @ Girl Gone West September 19, 2011, 11:02 pm

    I definitely need to work on planning my long runs a little better. Last week during my 9 miler, my stomach emptied completely around mile 7 and those last two miles were TOUGH. I’ve been lucky to plan my routes around parks with water fountains, but I honestly don’t drink much during runs so having water during my half mary is going to feel strange. I’m a big fan of coffee/gentle fuel/water pre-run, then Gatorade, water, and a hot shower to stretch in after. And then I eat whatever I want and negate all calorie expenditure from the run. 🙂

  • Joey September 19, 2011, 11:04 pm

    I’m running my first race this weekend & it is an evening race… I need help on how to fuel all day long!

  • Tracy @ Tracy's Treats September 19, 2011, 11:15 pm

    During my long runs, I make sure to carry water with me, or run somewhere where I know water fountains will be found intermittently. This is essential for me because I get terrible headaches if I don’t hydrate properly! I also stretch immediately after running and eat something that is both carb and protein. I can’t eat anything before my long runs though because I tend to cramp up.

  • Lu @ A Mix of it All September 19, 2011, 11:16 pm

    You’re doing great. I can’t wait to run my first race in November. I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be run/walk for the entire thing, but I’ll take it. Because at the end of it I will have finished 13.1 miles. I love the hashtag!

  • Mariel September 19, 2011, 11:24 pm

    Hi! Quick question…what is your favorite kind of Gu or Shot Blocks? I need to buy some but want to know what flavors you’d suggest!

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:31 am

      I like the vanilla icing but HATEEEEEEEEEEEE chocolate.

    • Caitie September 20, 2011, 9:51 am

      all flavors of shot bloks taste like candy!!! 🙂

  • Jenn September 19, 2011, 11:39 pm

    Congrats on the mileage!! I love the nail polish you’re wearing! Do you know what color it is?

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:31 am

      I do not! It’s essie and it’s lavender though 🙁

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) September 19, 2011, 11:47 pm

    Oh yeah, cheese before a long run never sits well! To recover quickly, I try to ice, foam roll and stretch after a long run and eat something with a ton of protein as soon as I get home.

  • Emily September 19, 2011, 11:54 pm

    I ran cross country in high school, but even those runs RARELY exceeded 5mi. I’m getting back into it now (my longest run has been around 4.5mi) and am really bad about fueling beforehand. I usually just wake up and roll out the door before my body figures out what I’m doing to it 🙂 At what distance do you start carrying water, GU, etc? I have a Camelbak but haven’t used it yet…I’m a little afraid to become dependent on it…is that silly?

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:31 am

      I usually carry water over 5 miles because we have some water fountains but not enough. Don’t be afraid to wear your Camelbak for all runs – water is very very important.

  • mi-an d. September 20, 2011, 1:02 am

    hey caitlin, good for you for running 9 miles! i’m about 4-4.5 miles. which is pretty good for me as i’ve always considered myself a non-runner! i’m like a kickboxer, dancer, yogini and now that i’m running, i’m like whoaaa i’m actually getting better! anyway, it’s nice to hear that you do walk/run. i wanted to ask you how many mins you run and walk? also was wondering if you could do a post on what water bottle you carry, GU, etc etc…you know rookie runner’s info post? if you wouldn’t mind..thanks caitlin!

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:30 am

      That’s a great idea! I will definitely think about it… I just carry a regular old water bottle. I try to take in GU after 70 minutes of running and once every 20 minutes after that. I’ve heard I should do more/less so I think it’s really up to the individual.

      I start walking regularly after 6 miles and will runf or 2 minutes, walk for 1.

  • Khushboo September 20, 2011, 1:32 am

    Way to go for running 9 miles! I find post-fueling to be as crucial as pre-fueling for me. On days where I don’t eat enough afterwards, I can really feel it in my legs–> the lactic acid build-up is more noticeable!..and uncomfortable!

  • Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) September 20, 2011, 2:03 am

    I can’t eat much at all before a run, but I do have to get in caffeine otherwise my legs are like lead blocks. Pre-coffee run and post-coffee run are like totally different animals. (obvs a trip to the ladies room is necessary too, haha, pre-run).

    I haven’t worked my way up in miles yet, but hopefully soon I’ll start adding in bigger numbers!

  • Jacalyn September 20, 2011, 5:11 am

    That is so awesome! I am so happy for you! I use to have to run on an empty stomach, but find now I need shot blocks before a long run. Also a must, since I live in high humidity: electrolyte tabs. I always cramp during a long run if I don’t take these. I make a loop passing in back toward my house halfway through and leave gatorade under my tree so I can swing thru for a swig.

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:29 am

      Oh yes electrolyte tabs were a must for me when I did long distance cycling.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 20, 2011, 5:52 am

    My new favorite thing to do is take ice baths!! I am training for my first half marathon and I have my long run up to 11 miles. For the last two weekends, I’ve taken ice baths.. and have felt SO much less sore the next day!! 🙂

  • Mia September 20, 2011, 6:58 am

    I definitely don’t fuel on a 9 mile run, that’s a regular morning run for me. I have a glass of water when I get out of bed and go…empty stomach and all. If I run 10 – 14 miles I eat a banana before I leave the house and go, but I never fuel during my runs. I have gone up to 16 miles without fueling, with no problem. More important for me is to drink lots of water, so I always bring a bottle with me or run on a route that has water fountains. Personally I think fueling on runs is overrated, but it also depends on your pace. I have read that the slower you go the more you need to fuel, because you are on your feet longer.

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:29 am

      Yay 🙂 I have an excuse to eat on my runs because I’m slow 😉

  • Hillary September 20, 2011, 7:04 am

    I think learning how to fuel takes a serious learning curve. When I was training for a half last fall, I found that I needed to go easy on pre-run fuel (a piece of toast and PB usually did the trick), but that recovery afterwards was almost more important. I ate a lot of Greek yogurt and lean protein—my sorry muscles thanked me!

  • R. Chandra September 20, 2011, 7:07 am

    great job!! i’m the opposite – can’t stand running with another person, most of all during long runs!

    over the past few weeks i’ve discovered the importance of stretching my calves! i find stopping & taking stretching breaks even mid-run helps a lot.

  • Ali @ Ali Runs September 20, 2011, 7:24 am

    I also love running with other people on my long runs. But unfortunately none of my friends are training for any races right now which leaves most of my long runs to be done by myself. Although, this weekend I am splitting up my long run with a 5k race and having my sister meet me for a few miles as well.

    As for recovery, stretching has become a MUST for me after running and I just took my first ice bath! 😉

  • Shannon September 20, 2011, 7:30 am

    I have totally had the hummus burps too! Ummm gross 😉 thanks to you help last year, I now eat salty things after a long run to stop my body from wanting to throw up. I usually have pretzels for carbs and either PB or cheese for protein.

    This week I’m totally taking a buddy for my long run too. The Pinch O’ Ging Pop will follow me on his bike 🙂 good luck training!!

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:27 am

      having someone follow you on a bike is AWESOME

  • Megan @ Long Distance Relationship September 20, 2011, 7:40 am

    A few things that have worked for me are:

    pre-run- pb (and sometimes banana) sandwich, and coffee if it is a morning run!

    during I try to have some kind of nutrition every 50 minutes or so, anything more than that and my stomach feels a little off.

    and then anything over 13 miles I try and ice bath, which definitely helps with avoiding next day soreness!

    Congrats on getting back into the long runs and good luck with the rest of your training!!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 20, 2011, 8:35 am

    LOL I hate it when I burp up a meal when running. Sushi burps are the absolute worst! 😛

  • Laurel (Runaway Laurel) September 20, 2011, 8:38 am

    I am bad at eating during runs, even though I’m doing marathon training and I know I need it. I’ve started choking down granola bars and making sure I stay hydrated by keeping ahead of my thirst during the run so I’m not parched by the end.

    As for performing strong- it’s almost entirely mental, for me, so just knowing that I’m working toward a goal is important for me.

  • TiffanyS September 20, 2011, 8:44 am

    I usually eat half a Nuts over Chocolate Luna bar and half a banana pre run. Occassionally I through a hard boiled egg into the mix. I have a camel bak and it has worked wonders for this rookie runner, but I think I’m saving that for really long runs or for the bike. I noticed my shoulders getting tight. So, I switched to a Nathan fuel belt, but it only hold 20 oz. I did 8 miles last week, and found myself trying to save some fluid till the walk home. I ate two maragrita shot blocks at about 5 miles and a couple sport beans to test. I had no stomach issues. I put some sobe in one of my water bottles. I’m most nervous for my upcoming 10 mile race and 1/2 marathon about the poweraid they are serving. I don’t handle full sugar drinks well. So, on this weeks run, I’m going to test out those drinks. I walk to stretch out about a mile. Then I stretch, shower, and ice my knees. I think I’ve figured out the pain management a little better with each mile I add. I’m usually not starving right after, but I try to remember to make a shake or eat something higher in protein like scrambled eggs. But, later in the day I’m ravenous! It usually takes me two days to fully recover from the long runs.

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:26 am

      These are great tips!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 20, 2011, 8:56 am

    nice work! I enjoy a good, long run. It makes me feel like I can accomplish anything 🙂
    Foam rolling is SUPER important for me after a long run!

  • Tania @ Health Macadamia September 20, 2011, 9:00 am

    I’m training for 5Ks right now and I know I’m making so many rookie mistakes, it isn’t funny: I never stretch (can’t figure out which to do!), might be overtraining and am defiantly wearing unsupportive shoes (haven’t won the lottery yet :().

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:26 am

      Stretching and not overtraining are free 🙂 Be safe!

      • Tania @ Health Macadamia September 20, 2011, 9:27 am

        True :). Any stretching tips? My issues (thank heavens!) are never leg related – always foot!

        • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 9:27 am

          There’s an entire stretching section on – check it out!

  • Leesah September 20, 2011, 9:05 am

    Good work on the run!! 9 miles is awesome and is serving as inspiration for my 9 miler tonight! Cheers!

    My recovery after a long run involves the “Post Run” sequence on my Yoga for Runners App, some key stretches with straps from my physio therapist to keep away ITB and then 5-15 minutes (depending on how much pain I can tolerate) of foam rolling and then a few more minutes of general stretches for body parts other than my legs. I also nurse a big glass of water with a little bit of OJ while I “recover.”

  • Alett September 20, 2011, 9:33 am

    1) How do I ensure I perform strong? I think it is more about maintaining core strength & having proper nutrition/hydration prior- oh! and a good night’s sleep!

    2) how do I recover quickly? Doing slower pace for a warm up and cool down. I also practice ashtanga yoga which I truly believe helps me stay loose. I also try and have a good recovery meal/snack.

    Pawsome job on the long run!! Keep up the fantastic work!

  • jamie @ cueyourlife September 20, 2011, 10:18 am

    ICE BATHS! They’ve been a total life-saver for me…after a long run, if I take an ice bath, the next day I can’t even tell that I ran! Really worth the chill!

  • Mary September 20, 2011, 10:34 am

    I love chocolate milk after a long run!

  • Kara September 20, 2011, 10:44 am

    I’m at the point in 50 mile training where 9 miles is my normal weekday mileage, but I always drink a glass of Gatorade before I go (the real kind, none of that G2 diet crap). It helps, even in the winter.

    For longer runs, I do rely on Gus, or if I’m on a trail, I eat real food (well, Oreos mostly).

    After the run: ice bath, compression and no wearing heels!

  • Coco September 20, 2011, 12:58 pm

    I’m wondering what kind of pizza crust that is? If it’s gluten free I would love to know! I miss pizza- and I had it this weekend and my body was pissed off! Great to have a running/workout buddy- I’m wishing for one right now!

    • Caitlin September 20, 2011, 12:59 pm

      Unfort, not GF. It’s from TJ’s and is the cheeseless pizza (I added cheese).

  • Robyne September 20, 2011, 1:29 pm

    I have been refueling with Gels from a company called Hammer (I order them online through amazon) they are all natural and GF. I haven’t liked the taste of their electrolite drink. But gels are totally awesome.

  • Christi September 20, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I would like to hear more about the rookie mistakes that should be avoided. I am just starting to run and not sure what to take with me, if I should or should not eat before a fun, what I should be eating after a run. I am only going for the small 5K but it’s a start. I love reading your blog. Thanks.

  • Carina September 20, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Yikes! In my opinion dairy before a run is NEVER a good idea! Not sure if it will help you, but I’ve used a running mneumoic for many years and it saves me all the time. Every single time I’m ready to run, I use it. You can modify it to create one for you. Mine is WWIGG (pronounced wh-whig):
    W: water
    W: watch
    I: inhaler (and I usually ask if I want ipod too)
    G: gu (which refers to all fuel in my mind)
    G: glide

    Obviously not all necessary for each run, but I am finally in the habit of running through WWIGG every single time I head out, for a 2 miler in the hood, or for a marathon. I occasionally throw in the letter K for key, but it’s not usually an issue for me.

    • kristen September 20, 2011, 3:15 pm

      this is a great way to remember!

  • Rachel September 20, 2011, 3:13 pm

    I just started long distance running too!
    I’ll be doing my first full marathon in March (WOOT!)
    Love your blog, you’re articles definitively inspire me to keep at it:-)

  • kristen September 20, 2011, 3:13 pm

    great run! I am trainging for a 1/2. (its next month! eek!) I have to run 6-7 miles this week. I just have to actually get out and do it- thats the hardest part.
    Do you suggest taking some gu? I have ran several races before, but I have never used gu or chews during a training run.
    Thanks for your advice!

    • kristen September 20, 2011, 3:14 pm

      ps. I like carina’s running mneumoic!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss September 20, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I make sure to eat plenty of carbs beforehand to make sure I have enough fuel during the runs. At the beginning of training, I was on a moderate carb/high protein diet and was DRAGGING on some of my runs. Now I’ve shifted it the other way and it has helped tremendously. Also, intrarun fueling has helped so much!

  • Dana @ the Big Fat Skinny September 20, 2011, 7:22 pm

    I’m a morning runner, so I always have everything laid out, and be sure to ice my back (to prevent old injuries from reoccuring) the night before. I generally drink some water and have PB on sprouted grain bread, and head out. I don’t generally carry anything with me because I’ve found belts and/or holding water a hassle. I find I am more efficient fueling well (read: healthy, efficient food) the day before, and having a good post run meal. Congrats on getting back into it Caitlin! Good luck!

  • Sophie @ threetimesf September 21, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I’m jealous cos I’m really struggling to find a running buddy at the moment 🙁

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