Category Archives: Training Tips

Tips on training or improving your running

The causes of the taper crazies (and how to get over them)

“It’s just Doctor f’ing Who!!!” I remonstrate with myself as the tears well in an ’emotional’ farewell scene between Amy Pond and the Doctor. Here’s the ‘big and tough’ marathon and ultra runner tearing up at a kids programme! Sheesh!

I’ve got the taper crazies. I’ve got them bad. So much worse than any other race. Mood swings (coupled with a heightened emotional state), phantom pains, bouts of nerves. The lot.

tapering-runner-warningWhat are the taper crazies, really? Basically a collection of psychological and physiological effects brought on by the rapid reduction in exercise level of the taper. And having the crazies can suck. Big time! So, what causes the taper crazies?

Read the rest of this entry

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Thursday Training Tip : Carbo loading for endurance races

Carbohydrate loading for marathons and ultras

This weekend is my first Ultra so for this week’s Thursday Training Tip I’ve decided to re-look at carbo loading as a way to maximise race performance. Carbo-loading is an important part of race preparation, and in the days leading up to your race should receive the same level of focus as your physical and mental preparation. Optimising your energy levels before the start of the race, coupled with good in-race fuelling, will increase the time before you reach ‘energy-deficit’ – that point when the fabled ‘wall’ starts looming.

Firstly, if you’re about to start your carbo-load and you’re still running, STOP RUNNING! Everyone should be following a taper plan before an endurance race, but some then freak out in the last few days and think if they don’t run they’ll lose their edge. This is simply not true. The repair and fuelling of your muscles you will be able to achieve in the last few days will help to deliver you to the starting line in the best possible condition to race. Your race performance was already set 3-4 weeks before the race, running lots right up to the event will hinder, not help.

Ready to load? Here are my 8 tips to help you get the most out of your carbo-loading:

1) Don’t jump the start:

If you are tapering properly, keeping your same healthy training diet during the two weeks before your race will yield a natural carbo-load as your energy expenditure drops. As the intensity of your sessions drops, those extra calories will manifest themselves as glycogen in your body. However, it is important that you eat carbs for energy, not fat. Carbs will convert to glycogen, fat doesn’t…]

2) Keep your carbo load close to the race:

It’s the last 72-48 hours before the race that you need to start ‘loading’. Doing it beforehand or over several days won’t top your glycogen levels up even more, and can in fact leave you sluggish as your body struggles to deal with the massive carb intake (or worse, decides you’re now living the high-life and starts storing it as fat).

3) Eat what you know:

Don’t drastically change your diet for the carbo load – doing so can lead to stomach upsets. Start to move your diet towards your ‘load foods’ in the two weeks before the race by slowly cutting out the things you won’t be eating.  Try to stick to unprocessed foods if you can, the nutrients are unlikely to have been lost in the processing stage and will be better for you. Pasta, rice, wholemeal breads, oats, beans, lentils and beans are good sources for your extra carbs.

Pasta is a usual favourite for runners when carbo loading

Pasta is a usual favourite for runners when carbo loading

Image Credit

4) Water, water, water:

Drink lots of water! For every gram of carbohydrate stored as glycogen, your body needs to store 3 grams of water. If you weigh yourself regularly then expect your weight to jump up about 2kg if you’ve loaded properly. TMI warning – Make sure you’re producing a good volume of urine every 2-4 hours (that’s about 5-7 trips to the loo a day), and that it is pale yellow in colour. If it looks like pure water, it is, and you should reduce your water intake.

5) Three days to go – It’s ‘load’ time:

A 70kg runner needs about 350 – 490 grams of carbohydrates a day (5-7g per kg of bodyweight) making up about 60% of their total calorie intake when training. In the load period 72-48 hours out from the race, increase this intake to 8-10g per kg of bodyweight – our 70kg runner is now looking to intake 560-700g of carbohydrate per day and take 75-85% of calorie intake as carbs.

This is hard work as you will be eating more than usual, however it will be easier and better for you to add meals into your day instead of making your meals larger. 5 small meals is a lot more palatable than 3 massive meals and will also help keep your sugar levels from bouncing around too much. Your partner might thank you too, smoothing out your sugar levels will help minimise mood swings, one of the usual side effects of the ‘taper crazies’.

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Also, supplement your food-based carb intake with carbs from liquid as well. Sports drinks are best, try drinking 1-1.5 litres of your favourite sports drink to help ‘top up’ between meals, but you can use fruit juice and small amounts of caffeine-free fizzy drinks as well. But don’t stop drinking water. Just gauge your hydration levels from your urination amount and colour.

carbo-loading-sports-drinks

Sports drinks come in all sorts of types and flavours, just make sure they are isotonic so they contain the right balance of minerals and salts

 

Here’s an example of what to eat during your ‘loading’ phase (courtesy of the Australian Institute of Sport)

Breakfast 3 cups of low-fibre breakfast cereal with 1 1/2 cups of reduced fat milk
1 medium banana
250ml orange juice
Snack toasted muffin with honey
500ml sports drink
Lunch 2 sandwiches (4 slices of bread) with filling as desired
200g tub of low-fat fruit yoghurt
375ml can of soft drink
Snack banana smoothie made with low-fat milk, banana and honey
cereal bar
Dinner 1 cup of pasta sauce with 2 cups of cooked pasta
3 slices of garlic bread
2 glasses of cordial
Late Snack toasted muffin and jam
500ml sports drink

6) 24 hours to go:

On the day before the race make sure 85-95% of your energy intake is carbs. Try to eat dinner early, ideally you want to be finished eating 12 hours before the race start so you have time to digest and get the carbs to your muscles (and your food through your digestive tract). Drink a sports drink before bed, and maybe add a small snack like a sports bar, but definitely not anything heavy.

 7) It’s Race Day:

Start eating 3-4 hours before the race starts, trying to get about 150 calories of carbohydrate in if you’re marathoning. If you’re doing an Ultra then the energy expenditure is gong to be massive and a proper breakfast 4-5 hours before the face of 300 or more calories is a good idea. Just keep it light – don’t overeat! You’ve already loaded your body with glycogen, the breakfast is just to replace the calories lost from your sleep. As you make your way to the race, make sure to be drinking sports drink to ensure optimum hydration and ‘brim your tank’ with energy. Tip: if you’ve got an early race start, get up, eat, then go back to bed. But be sure to set your alarm again! Twice…

8) During the race:

OK, this isn’t technically carb ‘loading’, however the energy deficit I discussed before means that you need to keep up your energy intake during the race to reduce the energy deficit and the impact of the wall if you hit it. Gels, sports drink, candy, flat coke and bananas are good sources. If you’re ultra running then items with more substance like Clif Bars are a good idea. Over the time period of an ultra you will get hungry. Properly hungry! Something like a Clif Bar will give you a mix of fast and slow release energy and a bit of volume in your stomach. Again, don’t gorge. If you’re reasonably fit (you should be, you’re running a marathon/ultra!), your body can handle a maximum of about 380 calories per hour when running. Any more than that and you run the risk of a GI upset and a frantic search for a porta-potty. If you eat 1.5 gels (one every 45 minutes) and drink half a bottle of sports drink you’ll be around 300 calories per hour. Add half a banana and you’re near to the limit. Ultra runners often eat every 30 minutes, but a little less each time, to even out their intake. Avoid getting to an aid station, taking a walk break and squeezing a gel, eating a banana, half a Clif Bar and then some gatorade to wash it down! At best you’ll give yourself a stitch but at worse, well, better hope there is a porta-potty nearby…

 

I hope with these tips you can master the carbo-load and give yourself the best chance of having the energy you need for your race. Speaking of which – my spaghetti carbonara is ready…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Thursday Training Tip: 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength Challenge

Hip Flexor and Glute strength for runners

A reader recently reached out to me through my Facebook page and asked me if I could share the 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength Challenge workout schedule that I completed last year whilst I was recovering from a calf injury.

Strength training is an important part of being a runner. It helps prevent injuries and can make you a better runner overall. Adding glute strength exercises and hip flexor stretches into your strength routine will help you build strength in this key area and hopefully reduce your chance of lower limb injuries caused by a weak gluteal area. For more detailed information on why your glutes are so important you can check out my post here.

IMG_5484

Should you do a 30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge?

Before we start, here’s a quick word of advice: A 30 Day Challenge is meant to be hard, but completing one should never come at the expense of your other training, and should never replace a ‘whole body’ strength session done to keep everything in tune. Instead think of it as a way to improve on a particular area you are weak in, or as something you could consider doing if you aren’t currently running much.

I did this particular challenge when I wasn’t running (due to injury recovery) so I was able to add it to my usual core routine without over-training. That said, it was still a tough challenge and by the end of it I was struggling to keep up, even with splitting the big days into a morning and evening workout.

If you’re still running when taking on this challenge, halve the number of squats (though keep the stretches the same). If you’re training heavily for a race, think carefully if this is the right thing for you at all, or try only a quarter or a third of the squats listed.

Now, just because it’s a 30 day challenge that doesn’t mean you should stop after the last day. The big benefit of these sorts of challenges is it makes you strong enough and confident enough to add the exercise into your normal strength training routine. After you finish the challenge, keep it up and make the squats you’ve learnt in the challenge part of your normal routine.

And finally – It’s hard. The early days might seem easy but they build up quick. If you’re struggling to keep up, don’t worry about it. Take an extra rest day and pick up where you left off. Making sure you increase your efforts at a pace your body can cope is much more important than doing it within 30 days!

IMG_4822

30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge – Get Squatting

The schedule is based around the bodyweight squat and split squat – great all-rounder exercises – as well as two basic stretches for your hip flexor and glute. For those who are new to the exercises click the links in the text to watch some videos of correct form. The schedule also introduces many different types of squats, of various complexity. I’ve included links to the videos in the text, but if the exercises are causing you more than normal fatigue-based pain when you’re doing them, stop and reassess your technique. If a particular one just isn’t working for you, replace it with a bodyweight squat.

Babies are natural squatters!

Babies are natural squatters!

30 Day Hip Flexor and Glute Strength challenge – Lets do it!

Day 1:
1) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
2) 10 squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 20 squats
5) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 2:
1) 10 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) Runners World Glute strength video
4) 20 squats
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 3:
1) 10 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) Runners World Glute strength video
4) 25 squats
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 4: REST DAY
1) Hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Foam roller hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 5:
1) 20 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 5 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 6:
1) 25 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 5 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 7:
1) 20 squats
2) 10 split squats each side
3) 10 one legged squats each side
4) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
5) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
6) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side

Day 8: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 9:
1) Fitness Blender 10×10 challenge
2) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 10:
1) 35 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 10 one legged squats each side
5) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
6) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
7) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 11:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 10 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 12: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 45 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 13:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 30 seconds each side

Day 14:
1) 25 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 15:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
8) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 16: REST DAY
1) 30 squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 17:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 ski squats
6) 10 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Gluteus medius workout
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 18:
1) 30 squats
2) 15 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 ski squats
6) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Gluteus medius workout
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 19:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 ski squats
6) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
7) Runners World Glute strength video
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 20: REST DAY
1) 15 squats, 15 Plié squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 21:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side leg lifts each side
6) 20 ski squats
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Runners World Glute strength video
9) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
10) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 22:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 20 side leg lifts each side
6) 20 ski squats
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 23:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 10 side lunge squats each side
6) 20 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 24: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side, 10 side lunges each side
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 25:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 20 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 26:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 15 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 27:
1) 30 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 28: REST DAY
1) 10 one legged squats each side, 10 Plié squats
2) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
3) Hip flexor stretch, 30 seconds each side
4) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
5) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side

Day 29:
1) 40 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 15 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

Day 30:
1) 40 squats
2) 20 Plié squats
3) 20 split squats each side
4) 15 one legged squats each side
5) 15 side lunge squats each side
6) 25 side leg lifts each side
7) 20 Bulgarian split squats each side
8) Glute stretch, 30 seconds each side
9) ‘up the wall’ hip flexor stretch 45 seconds each side
10) Half Pigeon yoga pose 30 seconds each side

 

I hope you enjoyed the challenge and have noticed a real increase in strength through your gluteal area and an increased range of movement through your hip flexors. Don’t forget to keep up the exercises as part of your usual strength routine!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
Like a bit of Youtube? Check out my channel with my collection of videos I use and refer to

Thursday Training Tip : How to carbo load for a marathon

It’s marathon week for me so as I’ve turned a more focussed eye on my pre-race nutrition I thought I would share what I’ve learnt over the last few marathons.

Now, one of the very common questions I see around the interweb about carbo loading is:

Can a carbo-load prevent hitting the wall?

In all honesty, probably not. But it will prolong the time before you hit the wall and can even lessen its effect if you hit the wall. The reason is that for almost all marathoners the energy deficit between stored energy and that required to complete the race is so great that a carbo load can’t hope to make up the difference. Your body primarily uses glycogen (what carbohydrate converts to) for energy. When you deplete your glycogen stores, the body relies on metabolising fat (a much slower source of energy) and your pace drops dramatically. Couple this with dehydration and an elevated core temperature from the exertion and *boom*, it can feel like someone built a 10ft high masonry fence across the course.

However, optimising your energy levels before the start of the race, coupled with good in-race fuelling, will certainly increase the time before you reach ‘energy-deficit’ – that point when the wall starts looming in the distance – and can help minimise its impact if you do hit it.

 

0007 – Licensed to eat

James Bond took his carbo-load too far...

James Bond took his carbo-load too far…

Image Credit

Despite what a lot of people think, and most of us hope, carbo-loading for endurance events like half and full marathons isn’t a licence to gorge on pasta, fizzy drinks and sugary cereal. Carbo-loading is an important part of race preparation, and should receive the same level of focus as your physical and mental preparation.

Firstly, if you’re about to start your carbo-load and you’re still running, STOP RUNNING! Most people follow a taper plan before a marathon, but some then freak out in the last few days and think if they don’t run they’ll lose their edge. This is simply not true. The repair and fuelling of your muscles you will be able to achieve in the last few days will help to deliver you to the starting line in the best possible condition to race. Your likely marathon performance was already set 3-4 weeks before the race, running lots right up to the event will hinder, not help.

Ready to load? Here are my 8 tips to help you get the most out of your carbo-loading:

Save the ‘loading’ for later:

If you are tapering properly, keeping your same healthy training diet during the two weeks before the marathon will yield a natural carbo-load as your energy expenditure drops. As the intensity of your sessions drops, those extra calories will manifest themselves as glycogen in your body. However, it is important that you eat carbs for energy, not fat. Carbs will convert to glycogen, fat doesn’t.

 

Keep your ‘load’ close to the race:

It’s the last 72-48 hours before the race that you need to start ‘loading’. Doing it beforehand or over several days won’t top your glycogen levels up even more, and can in fact leave you sluggish as your body struggles to deal with the massive carb intake (or worse, decides you’re now living the life of plenty and starts storing it as fat).

 

Eat what you know:

Don’t drastically change your diet for the load – doing so can lead to stomach upsets. Start to move your diet towards your ‘load foods’ in the two weeks before the race by slowly cutting out the things you won’t be eating. Like pizza, in my case at least…
Try to stick to unprocessed foods if you can, the nutrients are unlikely to have been lost in the processing stage and will be better for you. Pasta, rice, wholemeal breads, oats, beans, lentils and beans are good sources for your extra carbs.

Pasta is a usual favourite for runners when carbo loading

Pasta is a usual favourite for runners when carbo loading

Image Credit

Water, water, water:

Drink lots of water! For every gram of carbohydrate stored as glycogen, your body needs to store 3 grams of water. If you weigh yourself regularly then expect your weight to jump up about 2kg if you’ve loaded properly. TMI warning – Make sure you’re producing a good volume of urine every 2-4 hours (that’s about 5-7 trips to the loo a day), and that it is pale yellow in colour. If it looks like pure water, it is, and you should reduce your water intake.

3 days to go – It’s ‘load’ time:

A 70kg runner needs about 350 – 490 grams of carbohydrates a day (5-7g per kg of bodyweight) making up about 60% of their total calorie intake when training. In the load period 72-48 hours out from the race, increase this intake to 8-10g per kg of bodyweight – our 70kg runner is now looking to intake 560-700g of carbohydrate per day and take 75-85% of calorie intake as carbs.

This is hard work as you will be eating more than usual, however it will be easier and better for you to add meals into your day instead of making your meals larger. 5 small meals is a lot more palatable than 3 massive meals and will also help keep your sugar levels from bouncing around too much. Your partner might thank you too, smoothing out your sugar levels will help minimise mood swings, one of the usual side effects of the ‘taper crazies’.

Also, supplement your food-based carb intake with carbs from liquid as well. Sports drinks are best, try drinking 1-1.5 litres of your favourite sports drink to help ‘top up’ between meals, but you can use fruit juice and small amounts of caffeine-free fizzy drinks as well. But don’t stop drinking water. Just gauge your hydration levels from your urination amount and colour.

carbo-loading-sports-drinks

Sports drinks come in all sorts of types and flavours, just make sure they are isotonic so they contain the right balance of minerals and salts

 

Here’s an example of what to eat during your ‘loading’ phase (courtesy of the Australian Institute of Sport)

Breakfast 3 cups of low-fibre breakfast cereal with 1 1/2 cups of reduced fat milk
1 medium banana
250ml orange juice
Snack toasted muffin with honey
500ml sports drink
Lunch 2 sandwiches (4 slices of bread) with filling as desired
200g tub of low-fat fruit yoghurt
375ml can of soft drink
Snack banana smoothie made with low-fat milk, banana and honey
cereal bar
Dinner 1 cup of pasta sauce with 2 cups of cooked pasta
3 slices of garlic bread
2 glasses of cordial
Late Snack toasted muffin and jam
500ml sports drink

Tomorrow is Race Day:

On the day before the race make sure 85-95% of your energy intake is carbs. Try to eat dinner early, ideally you want to be finished eating 12 hours before the race start so you have time to digest and get the carbs to your muscles (and your food through your digestive tract). Drink a sports drink before bed, and maybe add a small snack like a sports bar, but definitely not anything heavy.

Race Day:

Start eating 3-4 hours before the race starts, trying to get about 150 calories of carbohydrate in. Don’t overeat! You’ve already loaded your body with glycogen, the breakfast is just to replace the calories lost from your sleep. As you make your way to the race, make sure to be drinking sports drink to ensure optimum hydration and ‘brim your tank’ with energy. Tip: if you’ve got an early race start, get up, eat, then go back to bed. But be sure to set your alarm again! Twice…

During the race:

OK, this isn’t technically carb ‘loading’, however the energy deficit I discussed before means that you need to keep up your energy intake during the race to reduce the energy deficit and the impact of the wall if you hit it.

Gels, sports drink, candy, flat coke and bananas are good sources. Again, don’t gorge. If you’re reasonably fit (you should be, you’re running a marathon!), your body can handle a maximum of about 380 calories per hour when running. Any more than that and you run the risk of a GI upset and a frantic search for a porta-potty. If you eat 1.5 gels (one every 45 minutes) and drink half a bottle of sports drink you’ll be around 300 calories per hour. Add half a banana and you’re near to the limit. Again, try to even out your intake. Don’t get to an aid station and squeeze a gel, eat a banana and then gulp a sports drink all at the same time. At best you’ll give yourself a stitch but at worse, well, better hope there is a porta-potty nearby…

 

I hope with these tips you can master the carbo-load and give yourself the best chance of avoiding or minimising the effects of the wall. Now, where did I leave the pasta sauce? It’s time to start my carbo-load!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
Want to see what/where/how I’m training? View or ‘connect’ with me on my Garmin profile to see what’s been going on
Like a bit of Youtube? Check out my channel with my collection of videos I use and refer to

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Marathon de Paris : Race week

It’s race week so there isn’t much running going on, instead it’s more about recovery and preparation for the race.

That said, the main reason there isn’t much running going on is because I missed my run today due to a ‘scheduling error’. I thought I could go for a run tonight, however Lovely Girlfriend reminded me this morning that we were going out, and that the date was, contrary to my initial belief, in my calendar. Completely my fault, however missing a single easy pace 5k run today isn’t really going to affect my marathon. If anything, the stretch and foam rolling session I did this morning will have helped keep my muscles looser and more supple. I’ll just run tomorrow morning instead.

I’m off the booze as well, from the Sunday before last. I don’t really drink a huge amount anyway, but I must admit to really wanting a beer on Saturday when I was at the pub with some mates. But, coke with a slice of lemon it was. I am, however, already able to taste that celebratory Kronenbourg waiting for me at the finish line…

Nutrition wise I’m off the pizza as well. Shock horror I know! Other ‘takeaway’ type meals are off the menu also. So it’s healthy(ish) food from now on, with small snacks between meals to keep my energy up and keep my sugar levels from bottoming out. As I didn’t run today I ate a little less, but I’m trying to keep the same energy intake as my training weeks to give my body that little bit of extra energy to aid recovery. The carbo load proper will start on Thursday night, about 60 hours before race start. Watch this space.

Admin prep is also in full swing. All my tech gear has been washed. I mean ALL of it. I have a shirt and shorts that I don’t race in to use for the rest of the week, but everything else needed to cover all temperature eventualities is clean and ready to be packed.
20140401-181705.jpg I’ve also printed tickets for the Eurostar, the hotel booking, race convocation and medical certificate and have already packed them with passport and residency card. And checked them. A re-checked them. Like 20 times…

So now it’s the calm before the storm. That itchy time you get when you’ve finished your training but not yet had to put it to use. The energy levels peak, your muscles start to ‘need’ to run and well, as any partner of a marathoner can confirm, the taper crazies start to take hold…

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Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Marathon de Paris : Two weeks to go

Or; ‘The unorthodox training continues…’

In a recent post I talked about my ‘unorthodox’ training build-up for Marathon de Paris, but that I had managed to find a strong finish to the last week of training before the taper.

Or so I thought. Turns out my cold which stopped me running for the early part of last week decided to rear it’s (very ugly) head on Saturday and Sunday, so I missed my last long 30km run in my schedule.

Yeah, I admit I have a bit of trepidation about missing that run, but I’m sticking to the key rule that is relevant to all runners of all experience – always stick to the plan.

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Paris Marathon Training : and some new recovery snacks

It’s three weeks until Paris and yesterday I completed my longest run of this build up, a 27km TLT (Threshold-Long-Threashold) session. The session went like this:
– Dynamic warmup: squats, walking lunges, leg swings, sideways leg swings, hip-openers, glute-activators followed by 1km slow run.
Threshold : Three repeats of 3.2km run to HR at Zone 4.5-5.0 pace, followed by 3 minute walk break.
Long : 13km ‘LSD’ run to HR at Zone 3.8-4.2 pace, followed by 3 minute walk break.
Threshold : 3.2km run to HR at Zone 4.5-5.0 pace.
– Cool-down : 0.5km slow jog, 800m walk.

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Sonnet for a foam roller

Yep. It’s foam rolling time. Loosening out my knots and bumps before race day.

Ouch! What choice words I would have to say to the inventor of said foam roller if I had their email address…

Instead, I thought I’d butcher some Shakespeare:

Alas! What pain my Roller brings forth,
Though even with such scope to dent my pride,
This instrument here is of more worth
Than what my unkind words say beside!
Oh! Blame me not, if I no more can roll!
Look in my mirror, there appears a face
That over-cast in pain describes the toll,
Dulling mine eyes, stripping my grace.
Why so painful, while striving to mend,
To release a muscle that before was unwell?
But for no other tool my legs will bend
Thanks to your graces my knots you do quell;
So more, much more, before I will sit
But my mirror, I no more look in it.

 

On a more serious note, foam rolling is one of the most painful but most beneficial exercises a runner can do. Akin to a combination of stretching and deep tissue massage, foam rolling provides serious myofascial release to ease out knots, smooth muscles and increase circulation. Great stuff for runners!

Happy running and rolling everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

Related articles:
Sonnet CIII by William Shakespeare – Wikipedia
Roll Away Injuries: The Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller – Running Competitor
Full-Body Rolling Out Routine – Perfect Form With Ashley Borden

 

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Thursday Training Tip : Strong Running Needs Strong Glutes

Most runners know that core work and general strength work is an important tool for making you a better runner and preventing injuries. Almost every book, website and forum tells us that ‘core is king’ and we need to focus on this area.

I think they are still right – I do core and general strength workouts as part of my weekly training – but due to a recent calf injury I’ve found out about the importance of strengthening your glutes to help prevent injury – particularly overuse type injuries and lower limb injuries.

The reason the glutes are so important is because they form a key link between your lower limbs and your torso, especially when running. A weak gluteal area will cause imbalances in your whole kinetic chain, increasing your risk of injury. Your glutes are also responsible for providing rearward drive through your legs. Stronger glutes mean faster turnover and faster running.

However, glutes are hard to train as most exercises don’t isolate the area, allowing other muscles to be recruited to take the load. Plus, for those with desk jobs your hip flexors are often tight due to the hours of sitting, further inhibiting activation of the glutes. Adding glute strength exercises and hip flexor stretches into your routine will help you build strength in this key area and hopefully reduce your chance of injuries caused by a weak gluteal area.

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Wait. What?

Running rehab again today. Overall, good progress. My strength and glute/core activation is improving as is my form. However, seems my mental capacity isn’t, because I asked my trainer a stupid question…
“Can I do Parkrun AND my 10kRunning Group tomorrow morning?”
This was the look my trainer gave me:

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Can’t blame him really. I knew it was a stupid question before I asked it, but it did serve to open the dialogue about Marathon de Paris, and it turns out that Paris is go!

After my rehab session I had a chat with Mike, the performance director (ie the Big Boss Man) at The Running School. From his training of both professional athletes and Average Joe runners like me, Mike understands that some people want to compete so long as they are able to, not just when they are 100%. Sure, I could spend six months doing a really good build-up, focussed training, workout schedules and all that sort of stuff and shoot for a PB in an Autumn marathon. However, for me, running is fun, and the time I achieve is less important to me than the doing. I may never beat my marathon PB ever again, but so long as I’m always running to the best of my ability that is what it’s about for me.

So, Mike understands that, and he’s building me a schedule which will get me to Paris in 11 weeks, able to compete. The focus will be on smart running to build strength and endurance without a repeat of my self-inflicted overuse injury. I’m looking forward to it!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering. Running Group was the answer. Parkrun is going to have to wait for at least another few weeks…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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