Although running is an individual sport (except for a few relays in track and the team aspect in cross country) there is nothing simple about it. Some could argue that the 100 meter dash is so short, you just line up run for about 9-13 seconds depending how fast you are and you’re done. However for anyone who looks to continually better their personal record or chase the world record, if you are Usain Bolt, you realize that more goes into achieving that PR other than just lining up at the start line. It takes practice, dedication and a few lessons learned along the way.
During my recent Sioux Falls Marathon I was thrilled for race day. My training had gone very well with no injury downtime and I was ready to give my best shot at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You can read my full report here, but in short my nutrition failed me. Actually I failed my nutrition. In my training runs leading up to the marathon I ran my long runs with none to little water, sports drink, or food during them. I had felt good during each of them and still struggle to not be uneasy about carrying extra things. I had planned to the aid stations as my water/sports drink fueling spots and had planned to have my wife at designated miles with an array of fueling options. When I went to take food from her around mile 8/9, my stomach rejected it. I have now had the opportunity to hone my nutritional strategy and realize that it was most likely the sugary sports drink my stomach didn’t like, so I’ve been on a quest.
I needed something with electrolytes, a little bit of sodium, but no sugars or high fructose corn syrup. My stomach isn’t too fussy, however when I’m hard at it during a race I’ve learned it doesn’t like sugars. Luckily through a few friend’s posts on Twitter, I came across Nuun Hydration. Lucky for me we carry these at the company I work at (Swanson Health Products) so I placed an employee order for the Tri-Berry flavor. The directions for them are simple, add one tablet to 16 oz of water, wait two minutes and like magic before your eyes you have an electrolyte enhanced drink. My first step was to drink one during an afternoon of work and make sure it didn’t cause any unpleasant situations when my body was not working out. From the first sip, it reminded me of sugary sports drink but without the super sugary flavor and more thirst quenching. It has a very enjoyable flavor so it doesn’t come off as bad water, but definitely not as sugary tasting as pop or soda. Of course there was no problems and so I took it on the road with me. Through about a dozen trials now during my training I have not had any stomach issues to speak of.
If you are struggling with sports drinks during your workouts I encourage you to give Nuun a try. Of course I’d suggest you get it at Swanson and you can get a $5 coupon by signing up here, but more importantly as a fellow runner I hope you try it in an effort to get better to achieve that lesson learned that’ll take your running to the next level. As new runners often tell me, the running community wants each and everyone to get better. We compete against ourselves with the encourage of others all around us. Thanks for taking time to read this and I hope it helps you.
With less than two months to go until my next race, the Sioux Falls Marathon, my training is kicked into high gear. My training plan has me running 5 days a week with Thursdays and Sundays being my rest days. Monday’s are a speed workout day with my plan calling for 16 x 400’s with a 2 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool down. Most people might find it weird but I enjoy speed workouts with repeats as it breaks it up and allows me to stay focused on one thing at a time. While racing I try to do the same thing breaking the long race up into smaller chunks that make the total race more manageable.
Tuesdays are a 5-6 mile recovery run after the speed workouts on Monday. Most people wouldn’t call these “short” runs but that is what they are for me. Wednesdays I would consider my tempo run days. For this workout today I had a two mile warm-up followed by 3 reps of 2 miles run at a fast pace with a 3 minute break between reps. These workouts like my speed workouts have 1 mile cool down at the end. After a rest day on Thursday, Friday is similar to Tuesday in that I just go for a short run to get the legs going again. The distance again is usually in the 5-7 mile range.
Saturday is when I let it all hang out. Okay it’s not as bad as it sounds but Saturday is my distance day. Each week I’m usually adding 1-2 more miles on than the previous week and it’s my chance to simulate different nutrition ideas in an effort to understand my body better for race day. My training plan usually has these runs set a “steady” pace, however my goal is usually to run a solid first half of the distance and then run the second half based on how my body is feeling. I’m more worried about getting the distances in than my speed but when my body is feeling good like it usually does it’s nice to come home strong.
I have also been using my foam roller from TP Therapy on a regular basis to help my muscles stay loose and ready for the training. Doing this is a new practice for me since about early June so I’m not an expert yet, but I do feel like I’m making good strides in taking better care of my body ahead of time so it will limit my injuries. I’ve also been doing some research about different supplements that I plan to start taking to help with joints and also recovery. I plan to discuss my findings in a future post regarding the supplements and the effects I feel once I begin taking them. If you would like to share any experience of supplementation that you have done to be proactive about your body’s health and prevent injuries please leave it in a comment below. I look forward to many more miles in July and early August as I get prepared to hopefully BQ in Sioux Falls!
Growing up I have always had issues putting weight on. I know this is not the normal problem facing much of society but as an athlete I wanted extra weight to help make my hits hurt a little bit more the corners during the hockey season (for the record I don’t think I was ever able to make someone remember me from the hits I gave). No matter what I tried, protein shakes, extra lifting, eating 3,000-4,000 calories a day, you name it not an extra ounce was gained. Through all my trials and no successes by my standards I did learn some things. The more protein in my diet, the less often I would be “starving” and crave more food (Again I don’t want to lose any weight but I also don’t have the time to eat 24/7).
When I began running longer distances again, my metabolism seemed to speed up yet again. I’m 6’2″ and 150 lbs on a good day and the last thing I need is a faster metabolism. Ask my wife and she will tell you I can eat all day every day and the worst of foods for your body and not gain an ounce; she is astonished. I decided to look for a protein powder to use in shakes that would give me some extra protein to keep me more full longer. Since I started my new job at Swanson Health Products, I thought I should look at the products we carry and see if it matched what I was looking for. Although finding healthy options at the store, a restaurant, or online are not always the cheapest option, I was torn about going all organic, grass-fed, and rBGH-free but I thought I’d give it a try. A few guys at work had great things to say about our Grass-Fed, Certified rBGH-Free Chocolate Whey Protein Powder so I bit the bullet and ordered some.
When I mixed up my first shake using water it blended well and had a great flavor. Protein powders can not always have the best of flavor but I actually enjoyed drinking this one. In future drinks I have used milk which makes it a little thicker but still continues to mix well and taste great. The biggest thing that I have noticed about this powder is that it makes me feel more full for a longer period of time. I will have a shake as a post-run recovery or during the mid-afternoon when I get that “2:30 feeling” and be satisfied until my next meal. Of course the great thing about Swanson Health Products is the quick shipping; their Google trusted store badge shows orders leave in one day from their warehouses. Plus with a 365 day return policy if you are not 100% satisfied, they will refund your money. If you are into saving money too, sign up for their email list or like them on Facebook as they are always running promotions.
I’m now on my 3rd tub of the protein powder and still am receiving the great quality product that I’ve become accustomed to. If anything changes I will let you know and update this post, otherwise best of luck with your training and learning your nutritional needs.