Saturday, January 28, 2023

Run Nutrition

 One thing it has taken me a while to learn is the importance of taking in calories during a run - even a "short" run of 45 mins to an hour.  During 100 milers, I am pretty careful to get between 200 - 250 calories per hour in, but on shorter runs, I tend to be lazy about it and think, "It's just an hour, I'll eat after."

I don't normally eat before a regular weekday run.  I get up, get dressed and get out of the door before my brain can object.  But, I have started making it a point to do a gel (100 calories) before I head out the door - usually with a little caffeine in it and the difference is very easy to see.  My daily runs are better when I fuel before and during if the run is over 30 minutes.

I have tried many gels over the years - it is just the most convenient way to get in concentrated calories and carbs when you are on the move.  I have also done the "all real food" thing before and it works great as well, it is just a lot more work and preparation.  The gel that I have settled on for the last few years, thanks to a recommendation by Fawn, is Huma - energy gels with chia seeds and all natural ingredients.  Most of the other gels out there have ingredients I can not pronounce where as my favorite Huma - lemonade - is made with cane sugar, water, brown rice syrup, lemon juice, powdered chia seeds, sea salt and natural caffeine.  (click the image to check out their website)

It doesn't make sense to run for your health and take in garbage as fuel.

Once I get closer to two hour plus runs, I move over to Skratch Superfuel Drink Mix.  This was a life saver on my last 100 miler.  I can carry a  400 calorie mixture in one of my water bottles, and electrolyte water in the other bottle. I set my watch to beep every 15 minutes which reminds me to drink some of my Skratch, and I know that every two hours I need to be finished with that bottle of Skratch.

Liquid nutrition is just the easiest thing for me. I drink a lot when I run, so it is a no brainer for me to get my nutrition this way.  Once again, Skratch is the cleanest option I have found for this, and it is not too sweet like other products I have used in the past.  (Tailwind used to work wonders for me, but 60 miles in to a 100 miler, and the sweetness would make me quit drinking all together.)

Skratch ingredients:  Cluster dextrin, fructose, citric acid, sodium citrate, lemon oil, lime oil, lemon juice, lime juice.  Click the image above to check out their website.  

AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID - nutrition is highly individual.  This is just what works for me - for now.  This will change at some point as well, it always does.  These are just two good products that work well for me, and if you are searching for something, they may be worth trying. Like everything in life, the cleaner, purer products are a little more expensive, but like I said, if you are trying to be strong and fit, why would you fuel with garbage?

Enough for today.  I will go over what I do for recovery in another post. Hope someone finds value in this.

Happy running! 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Is your why big enough?


Through my years of running, my why has been fluid.  Early on, I was running to get me much needed alone time while I was in an unhappy marriage.  Running gave me an excuse to go out, alone, and spend time with my thoughts.  It gave me a space where, even if just for a few minutes, I was able to be selfish and just worry about my wants and needs - something I had precious little time for otherwise.

Over time, my why evolved into wanting to spend time with the amazing running friends I had made.  We made some wonderful memories over the years in and out of running, but none of them would have been possible without that core common interest.

I am by nature a solitary person. I love my friends, but I love my quiet time as well.  For the last few years I have evolved into mostly a solo runner.  Group runs have always been somewhat stressful for me because I always find myself forming to someone else's pace or workout and not sticking to mine.  I am a people pleaser by nature (working on that), and I inevitably abandoned my goals to defer to someone else's. Running alone means not having to negotiate pace or worry about anyone else's schedule. I can run super early or sleep in and just take off out of my door. I can stick to my workout or amend it if needed.

I know for some people, running is their source of camaraderie, and that's awesome!  Whether you choose to run alone or you choose to attend group runs, or if it is a combination of both is irrelevant.  As long as you are doing something you love BECAUSE you love it.  Peer pressure or FOMO (fear of missing out) might work for the short term, but to have a longer running career, a deeper why is important.

My why has evolved into more of a "why not?".  I still run and I still want to race long distances because there is no legitimate reason for me not to, and I still enjoy it. (Except when I eat pavement - that part stinks). One of my favorite quotes is by St. Irenaeus of Lyons - "The Glory of God is man fully alive", and I apply this to my life in all ways possible.  

I have been given the gift of good health, determination (some would say stubbornness), and the access and ability to spend hours running.  The way I choose to use this gift is to push myself and test my limits.  This won't change as I get older, even though my limits will naturally adjust themselves.  

The saddest thing for me is to see people with great potential, but without the drive or courage to try to reach it.  Everyone's potential looks different.  Find something that you love and work hard at it.  Find out how far you can go with it.  The worst that can happen is that you are better than when you started.

Happy Running (or whatever it is you choose to do)!

Sunday, January 8, 2023

The value of having a coach - part 1

 I've done many races without a coach's guidance, and done well in them.  Now, though, I find I need the set schedule and I need the guidance to keep me from just piling on miles.  When I first starting running, I was the typical runner - I ran all of my runs at about 75% - 80% of my capacity.  Left to my own devices, I would still probably do that. It is completely normal for most runners to do this, but it is not the way to improve.

The blessing of having a coach is that he or she sets your weekly workouts, and you don't have to think about what you are doing. I just look at my schedule the night before to figure out what time I need to get up to get my run / stretching in and still get to work on time. 

Where right now, I would usually be increasing mileage, my coach has me doing 30 min, 45 min, and 1 hour runs, each of them with strides (speed intervals) with full recovery in between. The 1 hour run is a hill workout, but none of my runs have me doing the whole thing at 80% capacity.

I see this week he is starting to lengthen my speed intervals, which I am actually looking forward to.  Although I am nowhere I need to be eventually, I am seeing progress, feeling stronger, and actually enjoying my runs.  And I am injury free, knock on wood.

But, to be completely honest, I am ready to be at the point where I get to spend a half of a day running alone or with friends, discovering new areas, and catching up on all of my favorite books or podcasts. 

There will be plenty of time for that. 

Happy Running Y'all!