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Steve Wagner / Forum Communications Co., Published October 14 2012

Wagner: Falls offers a variety of running conditions

Bemidji, Minn. - Autumn’s volatility provides for one of the interesting guessing games for runners.

What to wear? What will the weather do? Do you need to take extra gear along?

Fading daylight hours and schizophrenic weather patterns require us to plan a little bit more. The rewards, though, are weekends like this past one, which offer perfect conditions, and the potential for terrific race performances after months of training.

One of the secrets of running breakthroughs, which often leads to personal bests, is consistency. Once we establish consistent training, the potential for strong race performances and increased fitness levels is multiplied.

The best training plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on unless you commit to performing the workouts. Often, runners who have a subpar race wonder what went wrong. If they’ve kept a training log, reviewing it often reveals a lack of consistent and quality training.

Fueling on the run

Last week, a friend who works at a Fargo running store dropped me a note: “I find that a lot of runners don’t realize that taking things like Gu on the run with drinks like Powerade can be a danger to their health. The body gets overloaded with sugar and can actually end up shutting down. Stick with one or the other. But do not use together.”

He makes a good point.

Energy gels are designed to be used with water, which helps break down the concentration of the contents so it’s useful for the body. Sports drinks do the same. Without water, gels aren’t diluted for use by the body, and mixing the two will almost certainly leave your stomach feeling nauseous.

After having trained for a couple marathons and learning the ideal level of using gels in my racing, I know what my body can handle. That’s part of experimenting with running. Personally, I subscribe to the train low, race high philosophy when using gels.

Race weekend

If you plan to run one of the Fargo Mini Marathon’s races this coming weekend – 5K, 10K or half marathon – then time is running out. As of a few days ago, less than 300 spots remained and registration closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The races will be at Scheels Arena, 5225 31st Ave. S., Fargo.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email atswagner@bemidjipioneer.com.