Since I am just getting "back on the wagon" so to speak with my training, I am also cleaning up my diet. Somewhat. While I make an effort to add more healthy items in my diet, I don't completely exclude the bad stuff. But, I do find that as my mileage increases, I crave the bad stuff less. When my mileage is peaking, I can't even pick up burgers for my kids. Just the smell of them in my car makes me gag. My body tends to make its needs very clear.
So, here's a typical day: I start out with something like this:
Before I left home this morning, I cut up green apples, peeled a couple of oranges, and a few carrots. That was my snack on the way to work. I also packed yogurt with granola (fruit and veggies don't stick around long, and before I know it I am looking for a Twinkie - which is where the yogurt comes into play). Mid morning snack/lunch appetizer is spinach salad with kalamata olives, carrots, feta, and sometimes apples or strawberries. Now I am not going to lie and tell you this is set in stone. Somedays, you just gotta:
But, I know when I eat the last two options, I feel like this when I run the next day:
I try to pick one day a week when I eat single ingredient foods only, preferably raw and no refined sugars. So I usually just drink water, black coffee (NOT going to skip coffee), or unsweetened tea if I am desperate. This has to be a non-training day. When I run 9 - 12 miles in the morning, a bunch of carrots or nuts are NOT going to make me a happy person. I look at the raw day as a cleansing day.
I am by no means a food Nazi, but it is about changing your outlook. When I am training, I start to look at food as fuel. What foods will make my body work better. I indulge and regret it on the next run, but we live in South Louisiana - how miserable would it be not to be able to enjoy our wonderful food? Sometimes it is worth the price that is paid.
DURING TRAINING RUNS
When I first started running distance, my coaches told me I would have to start using Gu. I had no idea what "Goo" was, but it did not sound like my kinda thing. Sucking slimy stuff out of a foil wrapper? I'll pass. But, after a few solid bonks, I began to train myself to choke them down.
So, for my first half marathon in Nashville, when I was suffering, I figured "If one Gu is good, three or four must be better." Needless to say, I was forced to stay close to the bathroom after that race. Waaay too much sugar dumped in an already stressed out stomach. I began to explore other options, and came across:
Nectar of the Running Gods.
They can explain it better than I can:
The key to sustaining athletic performance lies in optimizing the body's ability to metabolize fat. The conventional wisdom of "Carb-loading" has limitations. The human body can only store a limited supply of glucose as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Furthermore, the body is limited in the amount of carbohydrates and simple sugars it can ingest during physical activity and this amount is not enough to sustain a high level of activity. Fortunately, the body has a plentiful and highly concentrated supply of energy in the form of fat. Training for endurance develops mitochondria, large mitochondria, which increases the body's ability to oxidize fatty acids. VESPA optimizes fat metabolism at all levels of conditioning from beginner to World Class athlete.
VESPA's key ingredient is an all-natural amino acid complex (in a naturally occurring peptide) derived from the Asian Mandarin Wasp and works by shifting the muscles to metabolize a higher level of fat during physical activity thus stabilizing and conserving glycogen. The brain and nervous system have to utilize glucose to function optimally, however,they require very little. Muscle tissue, on the other hand, when using glucose for muscle metabolism, consumes glycogen at an extremely high rate whichwill eventually result in the commonly experienced state of "bonking" if sugars are not replaced.By shifting the muscles to metabolize a higher percentage of fat as the primary energy source glycogen/glucose levels are stabilized and conserved so the brain and nervous system can function optimally resulting in greater mental clarity/focus and optimal motor skills/coordination over a greater period of time.
VESPA does not "boost" performance.VESPA's effects are subtle and largely un-noticed in the conventional sense.VESPA is not a fuel nor an electrolyte replacement nor an "energy" drink so you won't feel a sugar high or a caffeine buzz (You won't feel the crashes either). VESPA works by optimizing your muscles' ability to derive its energy from a readily available and plentiful source. This allows the athlete to sustain a higher level of performance for a greater period of time (relatively speaking). VESPA athletes commonly find they are not "wiped out" and "craving carbs" after a workout or race and recover faster with lower levels of muscle soreness.
I may not fully understand it, but I know that for me IT WORKS. I have run 50 and 100 mile races with Vespa, and few other calories, and have never bonked. If you are having GI issues, or can't take Gu because of the sugar or other ingredients, it might be worth checking Vespa out.
On a training run of an hour or less, I don't use any nutrition, I just bring my handheld bottle filled with water and go. When I get up to weekday runs of 9 miles on up, I bring my water bottle and one gel. My personal favorite:
Once I get to two hours or more, I move onto Vespa. I could use it for shorter runs, but it can get expensive to use everyday. And, I always have my water bottle with me. I know every house along my route that has an exposed faucet where I can refill my bottle. (Because water from a hose tastes TERRIBLE).
When I finish a run of over an hour, as soon as I get home, I mix a bottle of Aftershock Recovery Drink
This stuff is AWESOME! I have tried a few different recovery drinks over the years, and I feel like this is the most complete formula. Ignore the picture of the pumped up guy on the label. If you have seen me, you know that is not always the outcome of using it. What I find is that when I am using it regularly during my peak mileage, I notice more lean muscle definition and I feel great. The stuff works.
My next post will detail race day nutrition for 50 and 100 milers. I think you might be surprised by what you learn from that one.