Welcome back to our FAST Blog. My goal is to assist the athlete in separating information from knowledge.
Our last post provided tips on the the type and volume of nutrition for athletes.
The timing of nutrition intake can assist greatly in recovery from exhaustive exercise. Too much fuel prior to and during exercise and one risks GI discomfort. Exercise in the range of 65- 100% of VO2 max pulls almost all blood out of the digestive organs and delivers it to working muscles. Food that is not digesting will want to come out one of two ways, neither of which is desirable. Too little fuel and blood sugar will drop and muscle and brain will run out of fuel. Too little fuel will also cause the body to go into a catabolic state in which muscle is eaten as fuel. This is definitely not ideal for recovery.
If the athlete is working out first thing in the morning a couple nutrition strategies will assist in enhancing performance and avoiding catabolism.
First, have a small bedtime snack. About one hundred calories of easy to digest carbs and protein. An example would be a cup of yogurt with a handful of roasted nuts tossed in or a banana with nut butter spread on. Avoid a high fiber, high fat and sugar option like many prepackaged granola's. This small bedtime snack will help prevent blood sugars from dropping greatly during sleep.
Secondly have a small snack again right after you get up. Again about 100- 200 calories. A banana or a carb bar are good options. This will raise your blood sugar, which has been dropping all night. It will also help you get through the morning workout and avoid catabolism.
Fueling during exercise is an art form and tends to be unique to the individual's tastes and ability to digest said fuel. I could eat several bananas during a long distance race. My youngest son will get sick on just one. A current coaching client can down carb gels and sports drink at the same time without any issues. I need to wash down gels with water or I will bloat.
In general, if your workout is less than one hour in temperatures under 80 degrees F, you shouldn't need fuel or a sports drink. If it is very hot an electrolyte drink during will help prevent cramping.
If your workout is greater than an hour you should think about taking in fuel. This fuel should be carbohydrate. Gels, sports drink, carb bars, bananas, homemade rice balls and the like. High fiber ( like chia seeds) protein and fat foods do not digest well during exercise that is between about 65 and 100% of vo2. Total calories per hour and what they come from vary on exercise type and the athlete's size. An athlete in the 110- 130 pound range might be able to take in 150- 225 calories per hour and a male between 150- 170 pounds 300- 400. Each athlete is an experiment of one. Eat too little you bonk and your performance tanks. Eat too much and you will back up the system. Start conservatively with total calories per hour and add a bit until you've reach close to the max you can actually digest. One can more easily digest solids on the bike and in general will not be able to when running.
Post workout fueling is essential to recovery. Within 20 minutes after finishing, take in a combination of carbs and protein. This will provide fuel for immediate recovery. Later have a full meal of quality carbs, protein and fats, ensuring it contains a protein source which will assist you to getting to your 1.2- 1.5 grams of protein per KG of body weight per day goal.
Plan it and execute!
Welcome to our FAST blog. My goal is to provide the athlete with common sense training information and assist in separating information from knowledge.
Nutrition information for athletes is often just that, information. Knowledge based on how the body uses fuel is often tainted by someones views and biases.
In the 35 years I have been in this field I have read volumes of texts specific to nutrition. In every decade I have seen a frankenfood identified. Fat was evil, carbs bloat you overnight, gluten will inflame your innards. Unless the athlete has a legitimate food allergy avoid, avoiding food groups.
Here's a few guidelines based on long term research and studies:
Next blog topic - the timing of nutrition intake relative to workouts.
Welcome back to our FAST blog. My goal is to provide practical training information and to help you separate information from knowledge.
Recovery is training. From the minute you finish a workout the actions you take will either assist your readiness for the next one, or take away from it. Your calorie intake and timing of it, breathing, stretching, foam rolling, and sleep management are just some of the keys to being able to put a string of workouts together than will significantly move your race readiness needle.
Let's focus on sleep. When we wake up our cortisol levels are high. We are ready to get after it. They stay high till about 12:00 noon. After that they continue to drop. From sunset on our bodies are designed to wind down. The brain now releases growth hormones, which aid in your recovery from exhaustive workouts.
Timing of sleep is important to complete recovery. From 10:00 p.m. until about 2:00 the body focuses on restoring the physical. This is obviously important for athletes. Equally important to your motivation is mental or psychological repair. This happens between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
If the athletes sleep patterns are irregular, levels of the hormone cortisol rise and interfere with recovery. It is imperative that the athlete get to sleep between 9 and 11 p.m. and rise between 5 and 7 a.m.
Just two days of sleep loss can result in an 11% drop in time to exhaustion during exercise. That means in a 45 minute 10k the sleep deprived athlete would become exhausted a full 5 minutes early. Need any more motivation?
Next blog: Nutrition, the timing of intake, and its relation to recovery.
Welcome back to the F.A.S.T. blog. My goal is to provide the athlete with practical training tip which separate information from knowledge.
Posts one and two focused on arm drive, torso rotation and posture as they relate to run efficiency. Today our focus is foot strike and cadence, aka turnover.
The saying, "maximal is not optimal," applies to many areas of sport. The longest swim stroke often results in a loss of proper mechanics. A heavier baseball bat may result in a slower bat speed and the longest run stride does not equal greater speed or efficiency.
Minimal is not optimal, applies to stride length also. Several running methodologies have taught a short stride, foot strike on the very front of the foot, and a very high ( 190-200 plus) cadence. This might work for some individuals, however watch the NCAA Cross Country Championships or the Olympic Marathon and not one runner will exhibit this form.
What will you see in the best runners?
Cadence should be tested. Count total number of right foot-strikes in 30 seconds. Multiply times two ( two legs) and then by 2 again for the total in a minute. ( E.G. - 42 x 2 = 84 x 2 = 168 - so a bit slow) If your in the 172- 180 or a bit more range your good. If your slower your foot is spending too much time on the ground. Remember that arm drive dictates cadence. Drive your arms faster and your cadence will increase. Practice this with a metronome set slightly higher than your current cadence. For example if your at 168 set the metronome to 172. Stand with a staggered stance and drive your arms so they match the beat. Take this a step further by downloading a metronome unto your phone, and with headphones (in a safe area) run and match the beat with your arms. Legs will follow . Avoid falling into the trap that faster cadence means faster pace; same pace, same effort, just faster turnover/cadence. I once ran 11 miles (by myself) with a handheld electronic metronome set at 174 beats per minute. May sound crazy but by the end of this and a couple shorter sessions, this cadence was my new motor pattern and I could pull the beat our of my mind anytime. Especially at the end of races when form begins to suffer.
Hope these run tips have proven useful. Practice just one at a time. Chase three rabbits and catch none. I know someone who offers a great run evaluation and really enjoys them. His contact info is found at fastandyou.com
The next FAST blog will focus on recovery for increased performance.
Welcome to the second edition of our blog. My goal is to provide practice training information and help you separate information from knowledge.
In Tuesday's blog post we focused on the importance of arm drive. An arm drive in which the elbow drives backward and when coming forward travels in a path that would result in the index finger going up the nostril, can greatly improve efficiency.
Posture - the word may sound boring, like your mother or choir director telling you to sit up straight. However in the quest to run faster, longer and with less effort, posture is critical. In great runners, as they drive or toe off, we see a straight line through the ankle, knee, hip, shoulders and head. The body is in about a 5 degree forward lean and the eyes focus about 20 meters ahead. See photo below of Jan Frodeno - widely considered the best triathlete in the world.
Just looking ahead 20 meters will help greatly improve flow! Another tip which I use, and people report works well, is as follows: Imagine you have a string attached into your sternum. As you run, this string is continuously being pulled up and forward at a 45 degree angle by God or whatever you imagine. This lifts the chest off the ribs so you can breath and helps with foot strike position, which we will discuss in the next blog.
Welcome to Coach Dwight's blog. My goal is to provide athletes with common sense training tips and help them separate information from knowledge.
I have spend many decades teaching runners to move at a faster pace with less effort. ( efficiency) In the past several years there have been many articles published promoting the idea that an athletes' natural run form is what nature created and coaching to improve this is a waste of time and effort.
Would you apply this same thought process to an athletes' swim stroke? How about typing? There is a reason my mother can still type 60 plus words a minute. It's called efficiency - practiced proper technique.
Your arm and torso motion plays an important role in run efficiency. The elbow should drive backward as if it is driving nails into a wall behind you. (Elbow angle should be about 90 degrees) This puts a stretch on the pec muscle and thus the arm pops forward. When it does it should travel at an angle that if continued would result in your index finger going up your nostril! This arm drive pattern and angle should naturally encourage a small rotation of the upper back/shoulders which helps in the athletes' efforts to create "flow." Hips do not rotate along with the upper back.
Next time you head out for your run make it a goal to improve your arm drive and torso rotation. It will show up in improved efficiency and assist greatly in maintaining speed at the end of races when your leg muscles are questioning your sanity!
Dwight Sandvold is the Owner of Fitness and Sports Training SC. He has dedicated the past 35 years of his career and life to the Coaching and Sports Medicine fields. A veteran of over 180 triathlons he has qualified for Kona three times and Boston 4. Dwight and Janet have been married 36 years and have 3 boys all of which participated in Division 1 college athletics.
"Dwight does a fantastic job of training individuals. He has a lot of personal experience and professional experience, which allows him to bring a unique skillset to each session. He is very easy to talk to and I learn something every time I have a personal training session with him. Highly recommend for the triathlete or anyone looking to up their endurance/sports training."