Consuming Real Food While Racing Long

    Posted on 10 July 2014 | No Comments »

    The ultra- running community more than any other was the originators of eating real food while visiting the various supported aid stations in 100 mile trail races and multi day running events.   I am not talking about eating a banana or piece of fruit, but meats, cheese, sandwiches, etc.   As we all know, the longer the race the tougher it is to eat sweet foods.

    The ultra runnernutation plan was all about mixing some real substance based food into the normal mix of energy bars, gels, energy drinks.    Of course there are still many runners, and I know a few, that will only consume 1 energy gel per hour along with drinks and electrolytes during an entire 100 mile running race.    There is the constant battle for so many athletes of what to consume and hoping to eliminate GI distress during an event.

    Everyone is different so there is no one plan for race nutrition.    Like many of you, I have seen it all.   I will never forget the time during a 100-mile trail running race and athlete consumed only whole milk (white and chocolate) during the entire race!

    Here are few solid food choices that I have tested along with racing in multi day events.  Having variety of your calorie intake will help so you don’t get tired of the same foods:consume-real-food-while-racing-long

     

    1. Chicken – Grilled Fajita’s, chicken and rice, entire chicken leg

    2. Beef – mixed with rice and my favorite ice (during hot conditions), can be ground or steak strips.

    3. Ham – Prosciutto on a sandwich with mustard, also grilled cheese ham sandwich

    4. Pizza – tough to beat pizza for calories, multi day events perfect with meat added immediately following the race for the day.

    5. Chicken soup – best during the night when salt levels are low and easy to digest and will warm you when dealing with those long cold nights.

    6. Potatoes – mashed, whole, canned, does not matter as they are easy to digest and adding salt on the top

    7. Tuna fish – sounds rough to get down, but offers sale

    8. Turkey

    9. Gummy Bears – not a “real” food but tough to beat for a sugar pickup during the real rough times.   I have a friend who races Ironman’s and he only eats gummy bears during the bike section.

    10. Fresh fruit in a cup mixed with orange juice and nuts.   This is a great one of the bike as well.

    11. Homemade oatmeal/nut bars that taste good

    I receive so many questions on what to eat during a race and the concern over stomach distress.    It’s part of racing and I don’t know too many veteran athletes who have not suffered from GI distress.    The most important thing is to test a wide variety of foods and examine the results of your energy, digestion, GI problems, and find the best mix that you can handle.

    Remember, you should test the foods in training when you are into a long workout, not at the beginning or the end, as it must simulate race conditions.    If your have trails, hills and heat for your key race then train in similar terrain and eat the foods during these key sessions.

    As I have mentioned in Beyond the Iron book, consider adding a stomach distress run as part of your training.   Test multiple foods when tired and if you get stomach distress learn on how to get through it.     Sounds crazy, yes but if you are prepared mentally on to how handle it, then the chances of the dreaded DNF will be reduced significantly.

    Remember – “Not Finishing Is Not An Option” and don’t let GI distress bring you down.

    Any questions, please feel free to email me at wayne@chiefgoalsofficer.com

    Two Brick Workouts That Will Make You Tough

    Posted on 03 July 2014 | No Comments »

    The triathlon run will always be the make or break part of your race. The key is to manage the pacing and mentally power through to the finish. Another tough area is the transition from swim to bike with shoulder tightness when immediately dropping into the aero bars.Budapest-Hungary-Marathon

     

    These two workouts can be performed inside, but much better if you can do them outside.
    I have used these two workouts for many years and the results will compound over time:

    Brick Workout 1 – equipment needed (biking gear and jump rope), running shoes

    Find a 1/2 mile climb (not too steep but a good climb that will work your legs and lungs) and start with a bike effort around 75-80% target heart rate zone and stay seated the entire way until 300 meters till the top. At this point move up to a harder gear on your cog and stand to the top. The goal is not to sprint but just get comfortable with standing in a bit bigger gear and staying on top of the bike and RPM’s. After completing the climb, lay the bike in the grass (if available) and do 25-50 Hindu squats (your heart rate will climb significantly so keep the pace moderate but not fast and jerking). Then head down the hill spinning very easy, after arriving at the bottom grab a jump rope/ running shoes that you have stashed in your car, bushes, etc. and jump for 2 minutes straight (your calves will be very tight and burning for sure at this point). Repeat this set 2 more times and then do a 4-6 mile trail run immediately following the bike at your specific race distance pace. This workout is not long but will be tough and the combination of exercises will enhance your staying power on the bike and run transition when it’s so tough.

    Brick Workout 2 – Bike/Pushups

    This workout will simulate the feeling of normal shoulder stiffness so common when transitioning from the swim to the bike (especially when down in the aero position).

    Use either a circuit course to make it easy (preferably 5 mile bike course loop). Start with 25-30 pushups depending upon your specific strength level and then immediately and quickly put on your cycling shoes (just like a transition from swim to bike) and start your loop at race pace but keeping it manageable. How many times have you started out the bike on fire and way to fast then falter over the second half of the bike? We all do it! After finishing the bike ride, then jump off the bike and do 25-30 pushups again (do in the grass if available). I recommend doing this set 3 times if possible to start then build up over several weeks (1 time per week) to 6-7 sets. Sometimes it’s difficult to have your bike near your swimming pool and going in and out the pool continuously. This workout is the “dry-land” version of the swim/bike brick workouts and for many much easy to manage logistically with similar benefits.

    Have fun with these and if done consistently you will see results come race day.

    Self-Supported Adventures/Events vs. Full Crewing Racing

    Posted on 25 June 2014 | No Comments »

    race-accross-americaWith the rising costs of race entries being driven by higher expenses for organizers, profit initiatives of the race organizers to manage events as a business and increased athlete demand, there have been more and more self supported adventures occurring all over the globe. Individuals with various backgrounds, differing financial status, many leaving their jobs (sabbaticals) allhave the similar goals for experiencing lifetime adventures. Interestingly, like everything else we purchase, prices have increased to the point of various “spending more”syndromes to hope for enhanced performance improvements and in many cases it’s had very little effect on finisher rates.

    As I look to several recent events, RAAM and Ultraman triathlon vs. the self-supported Trans Am Bike race, World Cycle Race, there are pro’s and con’s of each depending upon your perspective. I remember watching RAAM on TV over 20 years ago when athletes had one vehicle, one bike and minimal crew, bare minimum budgets to todays races which athletes may have 3 bikes, vans, traveling mobile homes, large crews and spend $40,000 or more to attempt to finish the event.RAAM

    Nothing wrong with spending money if you have it for your epic race, but in many cases it will always come down to a few things for a finish: Mental toughness, solid crew (crew races) and some luck thrown in for very long events.

    Personally, I build a detailed budget for key long races/events and recommend using a similar practice to get a handle on how much an event costs from beginning to end and see what you can eliminate, etc. I remember reviewing a budget of an European athlete/friend racing Badwater many years ago and it was amazing to see how quickly everything adds up and his budget was $16,000 10 years ago!

    We are beginning to see more and more athletes taking on these challenges with the self supported approach or minimal support with lasting memories and more money left in their bank account (many for fund raising) after the event. Does it matter to you that your journey is not a sanctioned race?  We can all debate that over and over.

    Last weekend I participated in a point-to-point ultra running event in England, which had specific requirements to be self-supported. Minimum athlete carrying requirements for first aid kits, liquids, food, etc. provided a completely different perspective on racing for me.

    These self-supported events have been around for years, but this was the first ultra running race I have done in many years that was apoint-to-point long run, (carrying a larger pack on the back with a few checkpoints over 70 miles) and the experience was over the top. I know it was not full minimalistic principals common with vagabonding but the race offered a uniqueness that sometimes is lost with full support events of being on your own.

    There is a completely different feeling of racing long without continuous support and being on your own. It’s a refreshing change!

    A recent personal challenge example is the incredible effort by Norma Bastidas who recently completed a 3,672 mile non-race triathlon.

    Of course during the recession a few years ago, these lower cost alternative adventures continued to blossom and the guess is that they will continue to expand to multiple challenges across the globe.   Many examples would include personal cycling challenge or run across a country journey to racing long events with full support.

    There will always be a race/journey to fit every budget.

    Remembering That First Run

    Posted on 09 June 2014 | No Comments »

    The years and miles seem to just drift by year after year in the runner’s career.   Have you reflected back on your very first official run? It’s a reminder of how far we have come and all the running life experiences since that first day lacing up the running shoes.

    For me, it was probably very similar to those of you who did not come from a running background and just decided to go out for a run for the first time. As a competitive swimmer and baseball player I did not start running till my freshman year in college and have crystallized that first run memory in my brain for life.

    As a swimmer, we only swam and lifted weights back in 1985 so when I decided to go for a run after watching a 5K race at my college it was a bit of surprise to my family when I told them I wanted to start running. Of course next step was to buy some “real” running shoes. My very first pair of official shoes, the New Balance 1300 model. I remember those gray, dull looking shoes so well.1

     

    Next up was having my mom drive a loop in the car to measure out a distance from the campus when she visited during parents weekend. The goal was to measure a 2-mile course and just estimated another ½ mile from my dormitory to the best country running roads. As we drove along in the car it did not seem that far and I marked down in my notepad all the various turns, yes I was a bit anal for sure!

    The first run was a fall day and remember my chosen running gear, gray sweatpants and a gray college hooded sweatshirt and of course my brand new New Balance running shoes. Do you remember how popular it was to wear your college logo shirts, hats, pants, etc. and The Bill Cosby Show (he wore a different college/university sweatshirt as his signature attire on the show)?

     

    I remember like many of you how painful that first run was especially the first mile.   I thought my heart would explode out of my chest as I was running way too fast for my “official” first run. I was able to run the majority of the rolling terrain and get myself back to the campus all in one piece. I vividly remember that my breathing was a mess as compared to oxygen deficits with hard swimming workouts. It just felt very different and of course my quads and calf muscles were killing me the next several days!

    Personally my first run was the start of an incredible journey to amazing experiences. The best thing about running is that we don’t need to go to a running store and buy all of the following:  micro fiber hats, shorts, pants, jackets, warm weather gear, GPS watches, compression socks, water bottles, several pairs of running shoes based on terrain. Just get a pair of shoes and go out the door and run.

    Keep your passion of running burning for the next 20 years and take a minute to remember your very first official run and go back and do the original course!

    Running the Las Vegas Strip

    Posted on 13 May 2014 | No Comments »

    One of the conference meccas of the US is Las Vegas. Many of you may have attended conferences or various trips through Vegas and become trapped on the strip. Assuming no rental car and days and days of meetings, running options are limited. Of course there is always the option of the multi-hour but worthwhile drive to Death Valley National Park for some running on the famous Badwater 135 course.

    Unless you have time to go to the Red Rocks Canyon with a rental car, most runner’s daily ritual prior to longs days and nights of conference meetings is to run along the strip back and forth in the morning. Actually, the running is not bad in respect to surface conditions, lack of people early in the morning (unlike other cities that have a large morning rush hour of cars and people walking the sidewalks). Of course the crazy long nights for so many with specific

    Agenda’sensure they can say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. For runners, we always have to get in the daily run. It does not matter if you’re staying at Caesars, Venetian, Bellagio, etc., for the best sites just run right down the sidewalks on the strip.

    Vegas will offer plenty of interesting sites at 6AM.

    Top 10 Vegas Running Highlights

    1. Running for a distance then the sidewalk is closed for construction so you have to go through a casino to continue on.
    2. With very few crosswalks, you will be running up and down steps to go over the manmade bridges.
    3. Seeing runners take the escalator vs. steps when crossing the streets via the bridges
    4. Expect a few individuals to solicit you for everything imaginable at sunrise for your run.
    5. People in the water fountains bobbing for pennies and change.
    6. The street cleaners will be everywhere cleaning of the prior evenings mess.
    7. If you run later than 8AM expect weaving and dodging of people walking incredibly slow.
    8. Plenty of good camera shots of the strip at sunrise as the sun reflects against the mirrored buildings and the desert in the background.
    9. No reason to carry an ipod/headphones – there is plenty of music and too many sounds not to be missed.
    10. Keep you eyes open, as the cabs, limos and drivers are not interested in your passion for a morning run.

     

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    Overall, Vegas Strip running offers some uniqueness, but most important is the nice weather and always better than the Dreadmill in the hotel.

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