Monday, September 29, 2014

Do you run with your brain or your legs?

Did you see the marathon World Record fell?!? 2:02 is now the new record, which is just so inspiring. With that in mind, I want to talk about your mind! You think that we run on our legs? Well, thats part of it, but the real motor that gets us through the marathon and the training is not just our bodies. 
Here are some tips for dealing with the struggles that often happen above your shoulders.
First, try to engage in positive self-talk. The body follows the mind, so if you can, stay positive and let the conversation inside your mind pick you up, rather than pull you down. Its okay to force this. Some athletes have a song lyric, or saying that they can go to when, mentally, things get tough. Find that ahead of time and use it.
Second, bring your awareness to the good, ignore the bad. Look around and find what makes you happy and focus on it. There is always something. Maybe its the pretty sky, or the other runners, or the volunteers, or people cheering. Use that to distract you, or motivate you. It's called, BEING PRESENT. 
Third, set mini-goals along the way. Know in advance where friends or family will be or look forward to a certain spot on course that inspires you. Also, if you have a place that has been a challenge, focus extra hard on it and own that place so when you rock it you feel like you had a mini-victory. 
Fourth, focus on all of the training you have under your belt. You can have confidence going into the race that you can do it! Confidence isn't isn't something that you have or don't have. Confidence is something that you always have, you just choose when to use it.
In training it helps to keep it fresh and fun. Try to explore new routes and run with people. 

Run for your lives,
Coach Bree

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Training plans - part deux

How's the training coming along? I hope you are gaining confidence in your fitness and yourself as you continue to build toward whichever event you plan to complete on Oct11.

If you've been following either of the training plans I posted, you will know that it is time for the next four week cycle.
If the first four week block, you have built your run distance up to nearly 2 miles. In this next phase, we will build you to 3 miles which is just shy of the 5K (3.1 miles) mark for race day. The walking breaks are getting shorter and the running blocks are getting longer; just want you need to feel strong and race ready!

As with the 5K plan, and most training plans, you won't actually run 10K (6.2 miles) until race day. This is purposeful and should not cause you worry. The fitness you have built through the 8 week plan will easily carry you the "extra" distance on race day. The plan is pretty cut and dry from here on out. Continue to build your long mileage on Sunday and pay attention to recovery on Mondays. 

Run for your lives!
Coach Bree

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Nutrition Part I: The traditional approach

In the world of running and endurance sports, there are myriad paths that can get you to the starting line for a race of any given distance. Pick a distance and there are as many training plans as there are running shoes. Actually, probably quite a bit more.  But, they generally all follow the same principles; sometimes run slow, sometimes run fast and sometimes run don't run at all. My point is that there is a general consensus without much controversy. Nutrition, on the other hand…oh boy.  Nutrition is the politics of endurance sports and people love to disagree even when they agree on their nutritional approach.  In the past, the main hot button issues have been what formulation is the best, meaning what combination of carbohydrates yields the best performance, which made passionate followers of GU vs. Accel Gel vs. Clif Shots vs. homemade maple syrup bombs.  But lately the simple sugar saga has become the fat vs. carbohydrate drama, with more and more athletes taking the high fat, low carb (HFLC) vs. the traditional low fat, high carb (LFHC) approach to nutrition.  In today's post, which is a somewhat more detailed version of this one,  I'm going to write about the more traditional approach, which is steeped in the belief that carbohydrates are the centerpiece of any athletes plate.

BUT….before I dive in, let me remind you of a few important points:

  • Athletes should eat to support training, not train to support eating.
  • The right nutritional practices can improve performance, immunity and recovery.
  • Just as there is a periodization to training, there is a periodization to eating. Meaning your diet may change with your volume, intensity of rest. 
  • What works for one athlete, may not work for another. Find the right balance for YOU is a matter of trial and error and takes practice, just liking running itself. 
  • Hydrate everyday, not just while exercising
  • While training, choose foods that you like and tolerate well.
The traditional approach - Carbs are King

The calories we eat come from three macronutrients, carbohydrate, fat and protein. In the traditional approach to sports nutrition, carbohydrates serve as the primary source of fuel for the body and the breakdown of these macronutrients should be as shown in this brilliant pie chart I created.
As an example, someone eating a 2000 calorie diet should get 1,200 calories from carbs, 300 calories from protein and 500 calories from fat. Another way to figure this out, is to work backwards based on the amount of activity you doing each week.  At the lower end (less than 10 hours per week of exercise), you should consume 6 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight. (Yes, I know, this is crazy metric talk and you have to do some conversation. But this is a running blog, so I know you are not lazy…just do it! And that is not the Nike Just Do It because I don't want to get sued for copyright infringement. It's just a general order. BTW…1 kg = 2.2 pounds. ) Add one gram carbohydrate per kg of body weight for every additional 1 to 3 weekly hours of training. 

Under the high carb approach, there is less variability in the amount of protein and fat you should consume. The recommendations are 1.2 to 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per kg of body weight.

But let's be honest here, nobody really cares about any of that stuff, right? What you all really want to know is how to fuel yourself in and around training.  First of all, for training or racing for under about
Courtesy of The Oatmeal

90 minutes, you should not need to take on any additional calories. For training lasting more than 90 minutes, follow this rule of thumb: 0.75 to 1 g carb/kg/hr.  For example, for a 140lb (~64 kg) person the recommendation consumption would be 0.75 grams carb x 64 kg = approximately 48 grams of carbohydrates per hour AFTER the first 90 minutes of training.  To put this in perspective, most energy "gels" have between 20 and 25 grams carbohydrates.  Some nerd with way too much time on their hands (it WASN'T me) put this handy gel comparison chart together. 

Fine-tuning carbohydrate needs
Courtesy of The Oatmeal
  • Decide by trial and error which products you prefer and what your stomach tolerates.
  • Practice your nutrition while you train
  • Calculate the amount of carbs you consumed
  • Analyze each session: were you energized? was it too much? did you feel flat?
  • Based on that result, add or subtract 5 to 10 grams of carbs per hour
  • Repeat until you feel you dial it in
  • On race day, allow for you the amount of carbohydrates you determined through your trials and then carry at least this amount plus an extra 10 grams/hours for insurance. 
Under the HCLF approach, it is also not a bad idea to have a higher carbohydrate snack 1 to 2 hours pre-training and a post-training snack that is a mix of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing your session. 

Finally, a disclaimer. I am NOT a nutritionist or a certified dietitian. What I write about here is based on the knowledge I have gained through the coaching training programs I have attended and through reading and engaging with the endurance community. I am not advocating for or against the HCLF approach; I'm just "feeding" you the facts.  There are a million ways to skin a cat and what I presented here should only serve as a starting point for determining the best fit for your body.  In a future blogcast, I will discuss the alternative to the high carb approach, which is the high fat or metabolic efficiency approach. Try to contain your excitement. 

Run for your lives,
Coach Bree