Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By Sarah Bowen Shea
When ultrarunner Ronda Sundermeier started feeling sluggish during her usual tempo runs, she wasn't sure what was wrong — she hadn't changed her training. Then she met a nutritionist, who spotted the problem: Sundermeier wasn't eating enough postworkout for her body to recover.
So she started drinking a carb-and-protein recovery shake immediately after her run, and then made sure to sit down to a full meal within 45 minutes. "The results were phenomenal," Sundermeier says. "Suddenly, I felt like I was on fire during the hardest parts of my workouts."
Most runners know that they need to eat a combination of healthy carbs and protein soon after a workout. But Sundermeier's experience proves that there are different kinds of postrun scenarios, each with its own nutritional challenges and requirements. After all, an easy evening three-miler doesn't require the same refueling strategy as a tough 14-mile tempo run. "Your body needs nutrients to build muscle and gain fitness, but it's not always clear when, what, and how much you should eat," says Deborah Shulman, Ph.D., a sports nutritionist in Colorado.
The right meal at the right time makes a big difference. After revamping her nutrition, Sundermeier broke the course record at the Grand Teton 100-Mile Ultramarathon. Here's how to tailor your meals for five common postrun situations.
Postrun: You're starving after a three-miler.
Eat This: After an easy, short run, you haven't burned a ton of calories or worked your muscles extremely hard, so usually there's no need to eat much. "But if you're really hungry," says Shulman, "it's a signal your carbohydrate levels are low and you started the run depleted." To satisfy your belly without going overboard on calories, Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, suggests high-fiber foods. Many studies, including a large review done by researchers at Tufts University, have shown fiber helps people feel fuller and more satisfied. "Try a whole-wheat bagel or a handful of dried figs," she says. Stomach still growling? Eat a little bit of fat, like a few nuts or an egg, to satisfy your appetite, says Molly Kimball, R.D., a sports dietitian at the Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans.
Postrun: After a 45-minute run, you're short on time.
Eat This: For many runners, this type of workout is the backbone of their training, especially on time-crunched weekdays. For runs less than 60 minutes, don't worry about getting exactly the right ratio of carbs-to-protein postrun; rather, focus on eating foods that contain both. "It's when you run over an hour that the carbs-to-protein ratio becomes more important," says Jamieson-Petonic. Just aim for healthy choices. If you run in the morning, freeze a fruit and yogurt smoothie the night before and take it out to defrost before your run. If you're a noontime runner, pack a hummus and veggie pita sandwich to eat after you get back to your desk. Need a quick dinner after an evening run? Keep your freezer stocked with single, frozen chicken breasts or salmon fillets and pair with fast-cooking brown rice and steamed asparagus.
Postrun: You ran long and hard, and you're tired.
Eat This: When you run longer than an hour, you need to focus on refueling — and fast. "There's a 30-minute window where the body is very receptive to getting carbs back into the muscles," says Shulman. To know your carb needs, divide your weight in half. If you weigh 140 pounds, you need 70 grams (280 calories) of simple carbs within 30 minutes. Try energy bars or sports drinks because they're quickly absorbed. Getting some protein, too, will kick-start muscle repair. Within an hour of that snack, eat a full meal, ideally in a 4:1 carbs-to-protein ratio. According to a 2006 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, eating carbs and protein together increases glycogen levels more than eating just carbs. Try a bean burrito or pasta with meat sauce to give your body the nutrients it needs, says Shulman.
Postrun: You feel queasy.
Eat This: If your stomach feels upset after a run, it's likely telling you it's been stressed out — either by dehydration, too many gels, or from working hard to get fuel into your system. Even though you might not feel like eating, doing so will help reduce that unsettled feeling and speed recovery. Skip energy gels and chews, which are digested very quickly, says Shulman, and "choose something that takes longer to break down, such as a banana or crackers and cheese — they'll stay in the stomach longer, protecting the lining from acid and helping override that queasy feeling." Other ideas? Jamieson-Petonic suggests ginger tea with sugar, while Kimball likes bland, easily digestible carbs, such as Cream of Wheat.
Postrun: You ran at night, and bedtime looms.
Eat This: Since you'll be going to bed soon, you don't want to eat too much. Doing so regularly could lead to indigestion — and weight gain. One way to prevent overeating after a late run is to "have your last real meal about two hours before your run," says Shulman. After your workout, you won't be superhungry and can refuel with something easy to digest. Jamieson-Petonic suggests sticking with a mix of carbs and protein, like graham crackers with peanut butter and a bowl of berries. Not only will it take the edge off if you're a little hungry, but "the carbs will replenish glycogen stores overnight and the protein will start healing your muscles," says Jamieson-Petonic, so you'll be ready to run again the next day.
Train for an Ironman Mentality
In the final weeks before an Ironman, athletes begin to decrease training volume, add pre-race segments to workouts, and consume fuels to fill muscles with glycogen.
Decreasing training volume frees up time normally spent doing physical training. While this extra time is good for your body, it can be tough on your head.
Sometimes the mind strays toward thoughts of uncertainty. This thinking may include doubts about preparation, the amount of money spent on the sport, the time sacrificed to training, and the simple uncertainty that surrounds a pending race day. These thoughts can conjure up overall feelings of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and pressure.
For athletes, patterns of thought and self-talk are major influences on performance. Negative patterns can defeat an otherwise physically prepared athlete. The patterns that begin in the days prior to race day are typically repeated during the race. A race is easily ruined if these patterns are self-defeating.
The good news is you can change negative thought patterns and improve your mental game. Top athletes continuously work on mental toughness--and you should too. This column covers three tools to help you improve your mental assets. Think of it as training your brain to complement your physical training. While the column is focused on mental toughness in training and racing, these tools are directly applicable as life skills.
Take notice of your self-talk when you begin to feel the mental and physical strain of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and pressure. Recognizing the thoughts that drive these negative feelings is a critical first step toward eliminating them.
Below are a few examples of self-talk that drive strong, negative emotions just prior to and during a race:
* The swim course looks really, really long. I can't swim that far.
* What if I have stomach problems? What if I can't keep food or fluids down? My day is ruined.
* What was I thinking, I'm no athlete. I'm not an Ironman/Ironwoman.
* I should have done more training to prepare for this. I didn't do enough.
Once you take notice of self-talk that makes you feel bad, ask yourself if those doubting, self-defeating statements are really true. Are they exaggerations or are the statements just plain false?
Can you replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk?
* The course looks long due to the situation. Something like an optical illusion. I've swum this distance before, in training and in previous races. I know I can do it. I will be fine.
* If I have nutritional problems, I will adjust. Everyone has tough challenges on race day; I am no different.
* I am an athlete and I've done the work to get here. I deserve to be an Ironman/Ironwoman as much as anyone else. Why not me?
* I did the best training I could manage, given my other commitments. I know others train more and some train less. The best times are not always achieved by the athletes who trained the most. Athletes must be smart about training and racing. I am smart.
Do Something About the Here and Now
Many mental meltdowns are due to thoughts and worries about something that has already happened or something you fear is about to happen.
In the case of things that have already happened, you must tell yourself nothing can be done about the past. Take the past and learn from it in order not to repeat the same mistakes in the future. Continually learning from past mistakes and making changes that improve your chances of future success is how you gain mental strength. Like physical training, mental training is a continuous improvement process and not a one-step-to-success program.
As for worrying about the future, the big question is: what actions can you take right here, right now that will have the biggest chance of positively affecting your future?
For example, some athletes worry about the training that other people have completed. Remember, on race day there is only one athlete's training that you can influence--your own. You can do little to nothing about the consequences of someone else's training. When you begin to worry about the past, recognize this self-defeating problem and bring yourself into the present.
Ask yourself "What do I have control over, here and now? What can I do to help me get closer to my goal?
During the swim, set goals of reaching individual buoys, perhaps doing it while overtaking at least one person or remaining in the draft of the fast swimmer ahead of you. When you reach that buoy, set a similar goal for the next one. On the bike, set goals to reach objects in the distance without dropping below a certain speed.
By breaking the race down into smaller segments, you can experience success every few minutes. These small successes are forms of self-reinforcement and can add up to a successful race day.
Keep the End in Mind
When you are evaluating the options of what to do in the here and now, keep the end goal stored in the back of your mind. This will help you make the best decision in the moment of battle.
For example, if you happen to drop your hydration bottle during the race, you might be tempted to keep going and not stop to pick it up. You reason that not stopping will keep your average speed high during the bike portion.
If you get behind in nutrition or hydration later in the race, however, you may be forced to slow down or stop for a while in order to recover. Taking a short-term action that negatively affects your overall goal is not a wise choice. Before taking action here and now, consider any potential negative consequences to your end goal.
These three tips are merely a start on mental-toughness training. The best athletes have multiple mental skills in their toolboxes. They are constantly improving on those tools while adding new ones. They view themselves as top problem solvers and love the process of overcoming potential performance obstacles by just thinking them through.
If you welcome the challenge of overcoming obstacles, you have an edge on athletes who fear problems.
Everyone is doing the physical training to complete an Ironman, not everyone does the mental training. It's a long race to be alone with yourself. Train your brain to tackle problems head on and focus on moving forward to your goal.
11 Keys to a Successful Ford Ironman Louisville
By Rich Strauss and Patrick McCrann
While no one has all of the answers, here is a quick review of the top questions from Endurance Nation about racing the Ford Ironman Louisville, as answered by our coaches and the 30-plus team members who have already raced it.
In addition to these race specific tips, don't forget to download our free race execution guide, downloaded by over 3,000 Ironman athletes, to help you manage the overall picture of racing. Travel safely and best of luck on race day!
What Is the Swim Like?
Louisville has the most unique swim leg on the IM calendar. Louisville is a time trial start while every other North American Ironman is a wave start. The start order is "first come, first served," and the countdown for the swim cutoff begins when the last person gets in the water.
This is how it works out on race day:
- Set up your transition and then walk about a half-mile upriver to a small park/dock to get in line. Your position in line is your starting position. The earlier you get in line, the closer you are to the front, the closer to 7 a.m. you get in the water and the more time (see swim cutoff note above) you have to complete the swim.
- At 7 a.m. the first age-grouper gets in the water and the organizers do their best to start the next and the next and the next in one- to two-second intervals. You can do the math, but in 2007 it took them about 37 minutes to get everyone in the water. In 2008 it took 45 minutes. If you are in danger of not making the swim cutoff, it behooves you to get in line very, very early.
- You will swim upriver, but between an island and the mainland, so there is very little current (if any) here. You'll swim past the end of the island a few hundred meters, make a left and a left again into the current, and then swim downriver to the swim exit and transition area.
It's funky, but if you look at the historical swim times from the event you'll see that they look to be on par with every other Ironman swim. More importantly, everyone has to do it so it's not a big deal.
What Is the Transition Like?
Very simple. You'll run up a boat ramp, through the changing tents and out to your bike on the grass. You'll enter the bike course on a wide sidewalk or directly onto the road. In other words, the transition is simple and straight forward.
What Is the Bike Course Like?
The Ironman Louisville bike course is "fair," in that you're not struggling to survive against a wicked hilly course stacked with long climbs, longer descents, mind-numbing flats or other variables.
It's just...a bike ride with some flats, some hills (but nothing crazy) and some downhills (but nothing scary). It has a little bit of everything: flat along the river, rolling hills in the horse country, tons of spectators through Lagrange, flat to generally downhill and fast back to transition.
You start flat along the river to either a short climb into Prospect or mostly flat through Prospect. We say "either" because the exact routing of the course through this section depends on the status of a bridge repair (refer to the official Athletes Guide for complete details).
Once through Prospect the course is rolling to the start of the out-and-back. In the center of the out-and-back is a creek surrounded by low ground, so it's generally downhill, across the creek, uphill, flat, flip it and return.
The bridge across the creek is at the very bottom of the hill, so you'll have a good bit of speed as you approach it. And, of course, the bridge has a rough seam on the right side that is known to launch bottles and other gear. Hit the bridge towards the center and you'll be fine.
Once you've completed the out and back, you turn right and carry on to the start of a counterclockwise loop that you do twice. The loop has a little bit of everything, but nothing too crazy or anything to be overly concerned about. At the end of the second loop you continue straight, generally downhill and flat back to Louisville without doing the out-and-back. Yep, you only do it once, on your way out to the loop.
That's it, pretty straight forward. If you are looking for some extra credit information, please read our Climbing Smart on Race Day article.
What Is the Run Like?
The run course is more or less a dead flat out-and-back, with just enough slight turns that you don't see miles and miles into the distance. The only "hills" are a climb just past the top of a bridge over the Ohio River and almost into Indiana, before flipping it and coming back (you only do this Ohio bridge thing once, at the start of the first lap). There is also a short rise after a dive under an overhead train bridge.
As you head back towards the end of the first lap, you'll make a quick jog left, then right, running maddeningly close to the finishing chute before flipping a u-turn and heading back out for lap two—so tough!
What Can My Family Do on Race Day?
If they want to see you on the bike, the town of Lagrange puts on a neat family festival they can attend while they wait for you to come through town twice on the loop. If they want to stay in Louisville while you ride, downtown Louisville—and especially Fourth Street Live—offers a range of activities.
In fact, if you look at the course maps, you'll see that a good portion of the area along the river between the finish and transition area is grass, featuring a large park, a playground and other options for staying busy. Just make sure the family is prepared for a long day in the heat (see below).
I've Heard the Finish Line Is Very Unique...
Yep! Picture your typical urban downtown with high rises on either side of the street. Now put a class ceiling, about three stories up, over about two to three blocks of the main street. Fill this covered area with bars and restaurants and include an overhead crosswalk to a food court, and now put the finish of an Ironman right there in the middle of it all! Very cool, very unique.
What's the Biggest Mistake I Can Make?
Without a doubt, don't overcook on the bike, especially on the hills. We highly recommend you commit yourself to "Just Riding Along" for the first 90 to 120 minutes, ignoring the others around you. Specifically, you need to stay on top of your hydration, making sure you take in enough fluid through the heat and all of the terrain changes. Pay attention and drink!
Also, the last 20 miles of the bike course are pretty fast, and you want to be able to take advantage of that by not being That Guy. You know, the one who is too shelled from having drilled himself for 90 miles and is now relegated to the hoods for 20 miles thinking about how in the world can he possibly run a marathon in this heat with these legs.
In other words, it pays to be smart so you can finish fast and confidently instead of slowly and terrified of the run.
What Is the Temperature Like on Race Day?
Bad news? It's gonna be hot. Hot and humid. Good news? You know it's going to be hot and humid—it's Kentucky in August! Trust us, that piece of mind versus the unknown of other races (such as IMCDA, IMUSA, or IMWI) is actually very valuable. Pretty much everyone in the U.S. should have plenty of time to train in the heat before the event, so the temperature is usually not the problem that it sometimes is at other, less weather-consistent races.
What's Your Top Swim Tip?
Only go as fast as your ability to maintain good form. If your form begins to go because you are tired or working too hard, just slow down. It's a long day, so don't sweat two to three minutes on the swim. Don't try to get all Ricky Racer with drafting and current strategy—swim your swim and you'll be fine!
What's Your Top Bike Tip?
You're basically warming up until about mile 40 of the bike (don't worry, the hammerheads will come back to you or you'll see them on the run). After that, ride steady and stay on top of your nutrition.
What's Your Top Run Tip?
Run very easy for the first 6 miles, then settle into your pace, preparing for the real race that starts at mile 18. At mile 18, put your head down and get it done. Count the number of people you're passing and keep your head in the game. You can do anything for 8 miles!
Endurance Nation is the world's only 400 person long-course triathlon team, with 25 to 35 athletes in every U.S. Ironman this season. Download the Endurance Nation Ironman Race Kit, FREE! The Kit includes: The Four Keys to Ironman Execution eBook, 6 x 30-minute preview videos of our Ironman Course Talks, and the Ironman Transition Training Plan eBook, a comprehensive guide for the "what now" questions rattling around in your head post race! The kit is our gift to you, as a demonstration of our commitment to changing the Ironman training, racing, and coaching game!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Three days: 10,000 signatures
Last month when I started the Tour de France, I asked you to join me in signing the World Cancer Declaration. The response has been staggering —more than 100,000 of us have added our names to this urgent global push to fight cancer.
In three days, the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit here in Dublin will come to a close. It’s an incredibly rare opportunity to urge some of the most powerful people in the world to commit the time, energy and resources needed to make a world without cancer a reality. And we can do just that if we add 10,000 more signatures to the Declaration before the Summit ends on Wednesday.
Will you sign the Declaration and then ask your friends and family to help us add 10,000 commitments by Wednesday night? It only takes a moment and every name counts:
Cancer affects all of us. By 2010, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide, yet the fight against cancer lacks urgency and focus. That is why we must take matters into our own hands and force cancer onto the global agenda.
The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit in Dublin will do just that by bringing governments, communities and survivors from all over the world together pushing for new commitments to stem the growing impact of cancer around the globe. Closing this commitment gap is a critical step towards a world without cancer.
We have just three more days to make the World Cancer Declaration as powerful as possible. Every additional name we add will lend weight to our cause; every single new voice adds urgency to our fight. I know we can reach our goal if each and every one of us signs the Declaration and asks someone close to us to add their name too.
Will you sign the Declaration and also ask a friend or family member to join us before Wednesday night? It only takes a moment and will make a big difference:
Lance and the LIVESTRONG Action Team
P.S. From August 24–26, individuals from all parts of the world are uniting in Dublin, Ireland, for one goal—a world without cancer.
Visit our blog for the latest updates from the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
~ I've been running 3 to 5 miles everyday and on my bike about 30 miles everyother day.
Today I road 40 miles if took me 2 hours and 10 min. and that 's with 1 large hill.
I'll start to swim next week I haven't swam for months it should be interesting, I don't even know if my wet suit will fit me yet! It was funny I thought OK I will try my cycling shorts on see if they fit after jumping off the toilet I was able to get them up LOL! "Just Kidding".
I'm still 25 pounds over my normal weight I have to say it's really hard you think ok I've had the baby and now I should be where I was before however, as you all know it's not like that! I just have to keep working at it!
Keep training ~ Keep strong mind and body!
Ironman WI is only 32 day away!
This quote that I read today is on my mind...
"The mind is primary. Physical training is easy, especially if you only do what you already do well. Psychological training is hard. If sport performance is 90% mental - as most people insist - and ...you aren't training your mind in concert with your body you are wasting time. UnBLANK your head and physical performance increases instantly." - Mark Twight~ I had to change it a little
Monday, August 03, 2009
Training that has been so very hard only because I think back to how fast and how far I could bike and run before. That's when I have to remember that I had a baby only a week ago and so many women out there that couldn't do that, so take it slow.
I ran in H.F the other day with a Lisa it was a run that turned into a run/walk I thought everything was going to fall out "in a nice way I can say that :)"I knew the run was going to be hard but not that hard :O ~ However it was great she stayed with me the whole time we talked and she didn't say anything that would make me feel like I was slowing her down. Thank You Lisa for that! It was funny I've been training Lisa for the past two years and the role was on her feet working with me to get back to where I was.... :)
I biked my first 30 miles yesterday; I felt great well not to great when I was going up M after doing MM however I made it and flew down yy like I love to do came back home did some weights and stretched.
Today was an hour of Pilates and 20 mile bike
Train smart Sunshine's