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.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Nutrition + Rest = Top Performance

To stay on the positive side of training, nutrition and rest are very important. When nutrition and rest are not given importance, training will suffer. This sounds simple but, at times following this can be difficult.

Fatigue is the resulting effects of exercise and the bodies non ability to adapt to the stress. Fatigue Nutrition along with rest and a sensible training plan will allow for adaption and improvement.

What does all this mean? To eat a diet that includes lots of fresh vegetable and fruit. Eating good sources of protein such as lean beef, chicken breasts, and white fish. Getting 8 hours of quality sleep a night. At times sleeping more when training at high levels. Taking rest days to ensure that the mind and body are allowed time to recover. Following a training plan that has equals parts of hard and easy training. And still challenges the body enough to continually improve.

An example of this would be from this past weekend. Friday I ran a 10 mile tempo run. Afterwards I made sure that I took a recovery drink. Within an hour I had a good breakfast consisting of oatmeal, strawberries, bananas and a cup of coffee. I concentrated on hydration and good food for the rest of the day.

I slept in Saturday and did an easy 5 mile recovery run. Saturday night I ate a high carbohydrate supper consisting of pasta, chicken , salad and a bagel. Went to bed early and got a good nights sleep.

Sunday I prepared for an 18 mile run. I drank 32oz of gatorade and ate a banana. I planned water stops and also consumed power gels. After the run I had another recovery drink and a good breakfast. Sunday afternoon I took an hour nap.

Today is a complete rest day. I will concentrate on nutrition and stretching. Tonight I will sleep 8 hours again. Tuesday will be another rocovery day. Wednesday I will head to the track for 12x400 repeats.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Going Long on Sunday

What a beautiful morning to run. Spring weather is always welcome after the cold months of winter. This morning I left the house just as the sun was rising. Watching our town of Moline,IL come alive in the morning is always a time to enjoy. The birds were singing their praise for the beautiful morning.

Today I planned a 17-18 mile run. I started out at a moderate pace. By mile 9 I felt a bad patch coming on. My usual approach has been to take one gel every water stop. Today I got an idea to take two gels at the 9 mile stop. Within a mile my energy returned and I started feeling good. At mile twelve I returned to taking one gel. Things held together for the rest of my run. I finished by running a long hill that is on the Quad City Distance Classic course near the finish line. I finished my long run feeling really good. What a confidence builder for the race in three weeks.

Last week's Sunday long run did not turn out so successfully. Having a bad patch at mile 12 caused me to shorten the 18 miler that I had planned. By taking two gels when the bad patch occurred this week I feel that I solved the problem.

One thing to consider when taking two gels. Don't keep taking two gels at a time every water stop. The continuation of taking this many gels can cause stomach upset. Just use this strategy when a bad patch happens. And be sure to drink a little more water when you take two gels.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Comfortably Tempo'd

Thursay I slept in late, real late. I spent most of the day working on things around the house. About 4:30 in the afternoon, I decided to go for a nice easy 5 mile run. Temperature was about 65 degrees and the sun was shining. I started running nice and easy. Before I knew it I was home again. Days that runs feel so effortless are a real treasure.

This morning I woke up early, real early. By six o'clock I was out pounding the pavement. I scheduled a 10 mile tempo run for today. I started running comfortably, by mile three I was feeling good. The rest of the tempo run I stayed in the groove. At mile 10 I clicked my my watch for the lap time. I averaged 7:13 per mile. Things are progressing along nicely.

Next Sunday our running club is going to meet and run the half marathon course in Rock Island, IL. I will find what my shape is really like then. Planning on doing the same approach as this week. Ease into the pace and stay just below the discomfort range for the whole race course.

I believe that tempo runs are the best way to get into race shape for any distance from 10k to the marathon. By using a heart rate monitor you can watch your lactate threshold rise as you become fitter. The best way to tell your threshold zone is to find a pace that is just below discomfort. I like my tempo runs to last from 20 minutes to as much as 90 minutes. Your heart rate can vary from 80-92% of your maximum heart rate. Most experts will tell you to run right at 85%. From my own experience, your lactate threshold will rise and fall depending on your fitness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Important Things I Do Everyday

I believe in routines. I think that they are the building blocks of success. The daily routine that I am about to discuss has worked for me. I hope it will help you as well.

Each morning I begin my day with an hour of meditation. Meditation prepares my mind and body for the events of the day. I have been practicing meditation for approximately a year and a half. I use the Holosync system offered by Bill Harris. I used to be a total a-hole before I started using these CDs. My family has noticed quite a change in my personality. I will continue this for the rest of my life.

On the days when I do not run in the morning I have a good breakfast. Breakfast to me is the best time of the day. I just love to eat oatmeal with fruit and granola. Other days I will have fruit and yogurt or raisin bran with a bagel and honey.

Through out the day I drink plenty of water. I make a conscious effort to drink at least 64oz of water in addition to the sports drinks that I consume before and after my workouts.

Tell my wife and son that I love them. As important as running and exercising is for me, nothing is more important than my family. I am so blessed that my wife always supports me in my running. Every Sunday morning for 10 years Johnna has provided water stops for all of my long runs.

Eat as nutritionally as I can through out the day. It takes a little time and effort to eat right. But boy does it make a difference in the way that I feel. I still cheat a little. I love sweets, cookies are a favorite. I just try to limit the amounts that I eat. Usually a cookies couple per day.

Take time to relax and enjoy life. Something as simple as sitting on the back porch and listening to the birds and animals always makes me feel good. As hectic as life can be I always take a few minutes every day to count my blessings and give thanks for those around me.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Compounding Fatigue

Today I learned another valuable lesson about half marathon training, fatigue, endurance exercise and sports nutrition. This morning I went to the track for my usual Tuesday morning track workout. I had planned to do a 12x400 workout. My first lap was fast and I struggled to only 10 reps of 400m. I then walked a lap and finished with 2x200 at a nice clip.

What was the lesson of this workout? There were three that I now realize. First racing the past weekend had left my legs feeling frisky. Second I was feeling the effects of Sundays 15 miler. Third I neglected to hydrate myself properly.

On the positive side I listened to what my body was telling me. In years past I would have gutted it out and finished all 12 reps. And for the rest of the week suffered lingering fatigue and possibly slipped into over training.

Today I am going to concentrate on hydration, rest and eating nutritiously. Concentrating on fruits and vegetables.

I believe my legs were feeling so fresh was because, I used the foam roller Monday and Tuesday morning. Buy one of these if you can, they work marvelously. I purchased mine at Target for $20 with an instructional DVD.

Further reporting on EAS race recovery is on going. Will post tomorrow about recent findings.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Endurance Sport Nutrition

I slept in Sunday morning. Woke up about 9 am, ate oatmeal with bananas and granola. I feel pretty good this morning. Going to go run about 1pm this afternoon. It is supposed to be sunny and 60 deg. A great afternoon for a 15 miler.

I think that the EAS race revovery helped with my recovery.

I drank about 64oz of water this morning. Had a banana and a waffel with honey for lunch, about 11 am. Before leaving the house I drank a litre bottle of Gatorade. Ready to go run.

Felt a little stiff during the first mile, other wise doing great. Going to consume 16oz of water and a power gel called double latte. Supposed to have 2 times the caffeine and 4 times the sodium. Going to stop at 5 miles and ten miles for water and gels.

Third stop at 12 miles for water and gel. Last leg along Mississippi River bike path. Feeling good for the first mile and then I my legs start to hurt and I feel a bad patch coming on. Next time I think I will try two gels and 16oz of water at the two hour mark.

Today my legs are sore from the race and long run. I am going to rest today. This morning I will use the foam roller to get the kinks out. This afternoon probably stretch and workout side a little.

Tomorrow going to the track to run 12 x 400 with a 200 jog for recovery. The forecast continues to be fantastic for running.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fatigue Nutrition

Today was a great day to run.
The temperature was 40deg at 8am.
A light rain fell before the race.

I woke up this morning at 5am to meditate.
I meditate every day for an hour.
I have done so for now for 2 years.

Then I had a half a cup of coffee and a banana.
For the ride to Galesburg, IL, I drank 2 litre
bottles of Gatorade during the drive.

A half hour before race time I drank half of a
bottle of a supplement called EAS Catapult
mixed with about 16 oz of water. About
ten minutes prior the race I finished the
rest of the Catapult. I always race to the
best of my ability when I use Catapult.

Today I ran a 28:01 on a very hilly course.
Not too bad for so early in the race season.
I placed third in the 45-49 age group.

After finishing I consumed about 20 oz of Gatorade
mixed with EAS Race Recovery.
The stuff tastes pretty bad. Having used
the product in the past, I don't remember it
tasting so bad. Maybe its a new formula. I will
let you know how the stuff works for me.

The post race was nice. There were showers
provided at the College. A really cool way to
help us runners. Driving home with my wife,
she usually comments about how I smell.

I consumed two bananas and a Mountain Dew
while watching the awards ceremony.

Driving home took 45 minutes. Ate lunch a
little before noon. I try to always eat a good
meal within two hours after fininshing a race.

Tomorrow morning going to run 15 miles.
Interesting to see how my recovery was.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Half Marathon Training

Well the big count down is on.
I am running a half marathon on May 13, 2007 in Rock Island, IL.
The race is called the Quad Cities Distance Classic.
Check it out, it is a good one.
I am in the last 4 weeks of my training.
I don't feel that I am in as good of shape as I was last year.
We will see what happens.

Tomorrow I am going to Galesburg, IL to run the Carl Sandburg 4mi. race.
Looks to be a rainy morning, with temps at the 8am race time of 35deg.
A perfect day to run.
Hoping for a descent time and placing in the 45-49 age group.
I'll post tomorrow and let you know what happened.