Monday, May 21, 2007

How to Run Faster Using Fatigue Nutrition

An interesting topic of discussion lately has been how to run faster using nutrition. A more accurate way of describing nutrition to run faster is fatigue nutrition. To perform at your best the body must have proper fuel. Anything less than optimal fueling will lessen your chances of obtaining you true speed potential. Your speed potential is not sprint speed, but rather the top speed that you can maintain for a given race distance.

To run faster using fatigue nutrition three components must be followed. The four components are training, attitude, rest, and nutrition. Each plays a vital role for speed to be gained and maintained. Forgetting to use all three together will lessen your performance.

A much misunderstood fact about running fast is that proper training for distance runners is not sprinting. For people who run the sprint events this type of training may work. For distance runners an often neglected method is running slow to become fast. The famous line you have to “run fast to run fast” is in my opinion the reason for a large percentage of running injuries.

When runners build up their endurance first with longer slow distance runs. The body not only becomes more efficient but also less injury prone. As your shape improves and you start adding different types of speed training dramatic increases in speed will result.

When your maximum speed potential is found, attitude becomes the second critical component. The winner of any sporting event is the athlete who wants it the most. Runners will not stay in top shape for very long unless they are willing to train. A major reason why athletes come and go so frequently at local running events is because of their attitude.

How do you improve attitude with fatigue nutrition? As the body becomes more and more tired the brain will receive less nourishment and your mood will deteriorate. By fueling before, during and after workouts these blue moods can be lessened dramatically.

Fatigue nutrition can also be described as rest. When the body is not given adequate rest performance will suffer. Rest is like food for the body. Without adequate rest and fuel the body will reach a point where it will not function. Have you ever eaten a good pre workout meal after an exhausting day and then try to have a good run?

An interesting experiment to try is to eat a diet that is a perfect balance of vitamins and minerals but only sleep 2 or 3 hours a night for a week. What do you think will happen?

By eating a diet rich in non processed foods, training properly and getting adequate rest you will reach your top speed potential. I can’t promise that you will be the next gold medalist or world record holder. You can become the best that you can be. And that is all that really matters.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Sceince of Hydration

The weather has really warmed up this week. I ran with my daughter yesterday when it was 80 deg with sunny skies. We stopped half way through our run to get a drink at the local golf course. On the way home my daughter started to slow down and had to walk on the way home. Even the most fit people can still be slowed to a walk when their hydration is inadequate.

On days that I run I always make sure to drink water through out the day. And one hour before I run I make sure to drink a bottle of sports drink. And just before I leave I will drink another 20oz bottle of sports drink.

If the run will last more than a hour I will plan stops along the route to drink more fluids. I think that sports drinks are a lot better than plain water because, of the electrolytes.

Water contains zero electrolytes and the body will use what is available as you sweat. Almost every time that I have suffered badly on a hot day was because my electrolytes have become depleted.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Fatigue Nutrition and Tapering

Today was our last club run before next weekends Quad City Distance Classic in Rock Island, IL. We ran 10 miles real easy. This week I am going to taper for next weekends race. I follow a strategy of lessening my miles and focusing on my fatigue nutrition.

Tomorrow I will rest completely. Tuesday I will go to the track and do one half of my usual workout with as much rest as I feel necessary. Wednesday will be another rest day. Thursday I will run an easy 5 miles. Friday I will run an easy three miler, plus three or four strides to shake out the legs. Saturday will be another rest day. Sunday it's time to rock n roll.

Nutrition for this week will concentrate on plenty of fruits and vegetables. Starting Thursday night I start to carb load(pasta and chicken). Friday I will start working on hydrating for the race. Saturday I will carb load and hydrate.

I do not believe that stuffing myself the night before a race is a good idea. Every time I did this I woke up race day feeling lousy. Instead I eat until the food stops tasting good. Then if I feel hungry later in the evening I eat a bowl of cereal.

I will spend this week talking about more of my fatigue nutrition strategies.

For more info go to

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Time To Be Inspired

There are many reasons that I love to run. The feeling of the runner's high. Easy days when I just explore our city. Hard track workouts on Tuesday night with the Cornbelt Track Club of Davenport, Ia. Long runs on Sunday mornings when my wife Johnna helps me with water stops. Running with my daughter Samantha. Going to races with my friends and the parties afterwards. And running just to be inspired.

Not many people know that I will go out and run when I have become frustrated with solving a problem. On these days I will leave the house frustrated and tense. As I run and the tension leaves my body my mind will enter a meditative state. Ideas will start entering my mind about how to solve the problem

Yesterday I was becoming frustrated with a technical issue with my computer. I left the house frustated about how to solve this problem. As I ran my body relaxed and my mind started to go through all the days events. Suddenly ideas about how fix the technical issues with my computer started presenting themselves. When I returned home I sat down and talked to my wife about how this happens when I run with things on my mind.

I came to realize how often that I do this. Thinking back I have done this quite a few times without even realizing that I was doing this. Give it a try when you are frustrated and can't seem to come up with a solution.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Nutrition For Your Fatigue

Its getting down to the last two weeks of half marathon training. Sunday our running club ran the whole race course. I ran the course building up to tempo pace the last 6 miles. I took a gel at the three water stops. I finished feeling pretty well. I averaged 7 flat for the 13 mile course. I feel that I am going to peak for a very good race.

After the training run I continued my use of EAS Race Recovery. I feel that the race recovery drink is making a difference with my fatigue nutrition. Each day I feel recovered for the next day's run.

I visited for a half hour or so and went home to start my fatigue nutrition. After my shower I had a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries and bananas, and a multi vitamin. For lunch I had a tuna sandwich and yogurt with a banana. Supper was chicken with pasta, green beans, and a bagel. I also drank two 32 oz glasses of water throughout the day.

Today is a total rest day. I consumed quite a bit of food today. I was hungry all day long. I feel that yesterdays effort really depleted my food stores.

Breakfast- cheerios with strawberries, coffee

Snack- 32oz Gatorade

Lunch- tuna and vegetables, water

Snack- oatmeal cookies, coffee

Supper- chicken, pasta, mixed vegetables, bagel, water

Snack- bowl of cheerios with a banana

Tomorrow I am going to run very easy to my body more time to recover.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

When did Soda Become Our Water?

Last night I met with my Wednesday night running group. During the run our conversation turned to the subject of drinking pop. A general consensus was many people drink soda as their only source of fluid. I found that really ironic, with all the commercials about bottled water. Everywhere I go I see bottled water. I thought that everyone drank water. But then again I am not everyone.

I was told that people think that it is ok to just drink pop because; there is water in soda pop. Well yes there is water, I must agree. What about carbonated water and sugar that are also added to soda. I just don’t believe that soda is as good for you as drinking water. What did they do before the invention of soda pop? Those poor cavemen only had water to drink.

Is it the sugar in pop that causes an addiction? I think that there is a comforting good feeling when people drink soda. Like having a treat with every time that a drink is taken.

I wonder if it’s the super sizing of all the fast food restaurants that have helped people become so addicted to pop. Or all the free refills that eating establishment’s offer.

Then I was told that people do not like the taste of water. This I can understand because I add lemon to the water that I drink a lot of the time. Does this make me just like a soda pop consumer?

I guess the whole point of all this ranting is that I was totally shocked to watch someone drink about a gallon of pop when eating supper. This same person describing in great detail to me how they wanted to be a great runner. The only thing that needed to be changed was to eat better. I found that so amazing. I guess that does not make anyone’s dream any less important because they drink a lot of soda pop.

I tried to explain why water is so important to this person. After a few sentences I realized that life only teaches words do not. I wonder if this needs to happen for all those in this world who want to do things their way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Women Runners and Iron Deficiency

Athletic ladies of all ages who suffer from decreased performance may be suffering from iron deficiency. Many women who are watching their weight will eat more salads. Thinking that eating a lot vegetables and less red meat is healthier. This is true, but not including red meat in your diet can cause iron deficiency.

Low iron levels will decrease levels of erythropoieses (the hormone EPO which is responsible for red cell production) which controls hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen. What does all this mean to women? A noticeable drop in performance will be occurring.

During periods of high training volume, weight loss or menstruation iron deficiency will be more noticeable. Studies show that 50% of women runners are iron deficient. Feeling chilled or cold is a common symptom of low iron levels. This could explain why some women who are always feeling cold.

The recommended daily allowance for iron is 15 milligrams. Your performance will start to decline on the day that the recommended daily allowance is not met. Thankfully one of the solutions is quite simple; eat more iron-rich foods. Two very good sources of iron are red meat and dark poultry. Many women will shy away from red meat and dark poultry due to the fat content. Choosing lean cuts of red meat will meet your daily iron requirements of iron and still maintain a low-fat diet.

For vegetarians, two iron rich sources include lentils and iron-fortified breakfast cereals. Do not drink coffee or tea when eating iron-fortified breakfast cereals. Coffee and tea block the body’s ability to absorb iron. Drinking orange juice which has vitamin C actually helps the body absorb iron. Drinking orange juice with iron rich foods actually helps the body with absorption.

If you have low iron levels now, you can take supplements. Be sure to check with your doctor about recommended dosages. Too much iron can create other problems. Excessive amounts of iron will cause constipation and the body’s ability to absorb zinc. Several studies have shown that no benefit can be found in taking iron supplements. The best way to get enough iron is to consume 2-4oz of red meat a day.

Once your iron levels are back up to normal you will be amazed by the improvements in performance as well as increased energy levels for daily activities.