Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pre Race Fuel by Monique Ryan

This is THE BEST article I've ever read concerning what and when to eat before a race.   Thank you, Monique Ryan from Runner's World Magazine, for making it so simple!

Perfecting Your Prerace Food Strategy

What and how much should you eat and drink for your prerace breakfast?

October 15, 2012
Media: Perfecting Your Prerace Food Strategy
If you're like most runners, you spend the final days before your half- or full marathon feasting on high-carbohydrate foods. But a good nutrition plan doesn't end with that last plate of pasta the night before your race. Just as important is your prerace breakfast, which helps restock the liver glycogen (or stored energy) that got depleted overnight. "Liver glycogen keeps your blood-sugar level steady during exercise," says Jackie Berning, Ph.D., R.D., sports nutrition and metabolism professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Your morning meal provides fuel for your brain, helping to sustain motivation and concentration during a long race. But just how much should you eat on race morning to optimize your performance? Probably more than you think. Here's how to choose the ideal amount and combination of foods and fluids to power you through to a strong finish.
The best prerace breakfast consists mainly of carbohydrates, since they're digested most rapidly and are your body's preferred fuel source, says Penny Wilson, Ph.D., a Houston-based registered dietitian who works with endurance athletes. Small amounts of protein will help stave off hunger during the later miles. Limit or avoid fat and fiber; the former takes too long to digest, while the latter can cause bloating and GI problems. "I recommend foods like a bagel and peanut butter, oatmeal with milk and dried fruit, or yogurt and toast," says Wilson. Other good options include a banana and high-carb energy bar, waffle with syrup and strawberries, or even a bowl of rice.
For runners who tend to feel queasy on race morning, sticking with liquid carbs can help prevent GI problems while still providing energy and hydration. Smoothies, juices, and sports drinks all pack quick-digesting carbs that empty easily from your stomach, says Wilson.
While your usual bagel and banana might power you through a morning of meetings, it's not enough to fuel you through a half- or full marathon. Research shows that consuming 1.5 to 1.8 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight is ideal for improving performance, says Berning. For a 150-pound runner, that translates to 225 to 270 grams of carbohydrate–or about 1,000 calories, which may sound like a lot just before a hard effort. The key is to get that meal in early–three to four hours prerace to be exact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. That gives you enough time to digest so your stomach will be fairly empty and your muscles and liver totally fueled. If you're not sure you can stomach 1,000 calories at once, you can divide them up into two smaller meals, says Berning. In that case, eat 200 to 400 calories four hours before the start, along with 12 to 20 ounces of water or sports drink (giving you plenty of time to hit the porta potty). Between 90 minutes and two hours before the start, eat most of the remaining carbs–again, choosing easy-to-digest options.
Since many races start at 8 a.m. or earlier, you'll have to set your alarm for a very early wake-up to hit that four-hour window. If that's not realistic, you may choose to eat your entire prerace meal just two hours before the start. But because you'll have less time to digest, eat only one gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight (or 150 grams, or 600 calories, for a 150-pound runner)–sticking with foods and liquids you know are very easy on your stomach. Since you're consuming less, you do risk running out of liver glycogen, which will cause your blood sugar to plummet and may mean you hit the wall. So be vigilant about fueling early in the race (consuming 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour) to keep your energy levels high.
Finally, have your last 25 to 30 grams of carbs 30 to 60 minutes prior to the start. This could be an energy gel or chews (with 12 to 16 ounces of water) or 16 ounces of sports drink. "This provides the last shot of fuel to hold you over until you get into the rhythm of fueling midrace," says Berning.
Berning also stresses that every runner has different food and fluid tolerances, which means a plan that works for one runner might spell GI disaster for another. That's why it's key that you practice your prerace meal strategy during training. "The stomach and gut need to be trained to handle food before a long run," says Berning. She suggests trying different combinations to find the one that works best for you. And once you find the perfect mix, stick with it. "Eat the exact same meal on race morning that you practiced with in training," says Wilson, "and you'll be set."
Can't stomach one huge morning meal? Divide it up. Here's how a 150-pound runner would fuel
3 to 4 hours prerace
1 cup cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons honey 62 g of carbs
6 ounces yogurt 17 g
1 large banana 31 g
2 tablespoons raisins 16 g
4 ounces juice 14 g
12 to 20 ounces water 0 g
Total Carbs = 140 g
90 minutes to 2 hours prerace
1 slice bread with 1 tablespoon jam 28 g
24 ounces sports drink 47 g
Total Carbs = 75 g
30 to 60 minutes prerace
1 energy gel or serving of energy chews 25 g
8 to 12 ounces water 0 g
Total Carbs = 25 g
Recover Right
How to eat and drink after you cross the finish - right away and beyond
Focus on carbs
Eat half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of weight. For a 150-pound runner, that's 75 grams, or the equivalent of a bagel and banana.
Eat protein
Consume 15 to 20 grams of protein to kick-start muscle repair. Get it from a high-protein energy bar along with fruit, or a PB&J.
Drink up
Aim for 20 ounces of fluid. Including 200 mg of sodium or more will boost fluid absorption. Try sports drinks and recovery shakes.
But skip the booze
You're already dehydrated. Wait at least several hours, till you've had a chance to rehydrate and refuel, and then toast your finish.
Keep it going
For the next 48 hours, continue to focus on eating plenty of carbohydrates and modest portions of high-quality protein.
79% of runners always have breakfast in the morning before a race, According to a poll on
EAT BETTER: If you're prone to midrun GI trouble, try cutting back on fiber, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners, all of which can exacerbate symptoms.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Skins Vs. CEP

 Let's talk compression.  I, for one, am all for it.  I believe the hype, the claims, the promises.  Compression works for me.  I love it when I run AND when I'm recovering.  But I've become a bit of a compression snob.

Exhibit A:
Here are two types of compression gear that I wear.  The top pink sock is by CEP, a company who started in medical grade compression and moved into the lucrative athletic wear department. Their stocking are ribbed and have graduated compression, which means they are tighter down toward the feet and less tight up by the calves, allowing for the blood to move more quickly back to the heart.

The calve sleeve below pinkie is by Skins.  Skins began as an athletic wear compression company from the get go.  The model I own is a stirrup sleeve, which allows an athlete to wear any sock he or she desires while working out while providing compression to the calve muscle and legs.
I enjoy both items.  But I have some opinions of my own.

First, for pure compression, I believe the CEP socks are overall, the better sock.  They are TIGHT and a chore to put on.  And they make my legs feel good long after I am done with my run.  For me, they are the best choice for RECOVERY, especially.  

The SKINS socks, on the other hand, are SUPER comfortable.  They glide right over your calve and the fabric is soft and smooth -- kinda like wearing stretchy pants.  For me, the SKINS are the easy choice to wear during a long run, while the CEP is clearly the choice post run.  

There is a big thang coming to town on March 2nd, called The Phoenix Marathon.  I have been doing all of my long runs with the compression socks --- so far so good.  I'll keep you posted on the progress. My legs feel pretty good during my runs.  Stay tuned for more updates on gear that works.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Workout Within A Workout = Efficiency

Trivia for the "non-swimming" folks out there...swimming 3000 yards (something many of our 10 and unders and masters do each workout) in a 25 yard pool equals 120 push-offs (each wall)-----or the equivalent of a 20 minute squat workout in the gym!

Impressive, right?  That's a Facebook post from Tall Paul, one of the great coaches at Mesa Aquatics Masters in Mesa, Arizona.  Paul Smith is a living, breathing example of how swimming will keep you lean and in shape.  He's a lifelong swimmer and has cultivated his passion for the water to everyone who is willing to give swimming a try.  You can read more about him here:

Paul has passed along quite a bit of his wisdom to me, when I took a coaching position with MAC this summer.  Among his favorite pointers:

*  You have to slow down to speed it up when it comes to swimming. Technique technique technique! 

*  After technique has been improved, swim different speeds and distances every workout.  Make one day an interval workout, one day a distance, one day a tempo and one day a recovery swim -- similar to marathon training.

*  Don't give up on FLIP TURNS!  Work on these regularly.  Their benefits include breathing control, streamlining, and feeling that fast, underwater form when you push off the wall.

*  Swim toys are fun.  Use fins, snorkel, buoys and paddles regularly in your workout.  They help!

* And lastly, join a Master's Team near you today.  You won't regret it.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Cycling Enthusiast

Lets face it:  fashion is fun. And when cycling and fashion mix, an athlete is left with a collage of spandexy, wicking-ish, colorfully body hugging wonder wear. I have a special love for the bright orange kits worn by those crazy Basque riders from Spain.  Eustakel Euskadi cyclists are fierce competitors in the cycling world.  Their in-your-face orange jerseys scream LOOK AT ME as their riders scale the mountains of the French Alps like they were butterflies.  Everyone needs one.

Sacha just brought these babies back from said Basque country.  Never-been-worn, tags still on them, authentic European cycling gear.  She's selling the jerseys and bibs  for $70 each.  Contact her at to pick yours up today.  

Euskatel cycling jersey plus bib shorts.  Unisex size medium

Bilboa jersey, red and black, spectacularly awesome!  
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True