Friday, 22 March 2013

The miles are easy...

For me putting in the miles has always been easy, I love putting in the work but I also love to eat so getting the weight down has always been difficult. Most top marathoners range in the 130lb to 150lb range and at my normal 175lbs I tend to carry a little extra weight around. At best I have reduced to maybe 165lbs for a goal race and this time I would like to go into my goal event in the range of 150lbs to 155lbs.

When looking at the Kenyans runners diet what comes as a surprise is the amount of calories consumed. Given their activity levels, they don’t eat very much, most Kenyans are in negative energy balance in periods of intense training. Almost all Kenyans experience a significant reduction in their BMI in periods leading up to a race.

The same is true of their fluid intake. Most runners don’t drink anything before their 10-15 mile runs in the morning, and the majority of Kenyans don’t re-hydrate during races. At first glance, these practices seem sub-optimal. After all, the importance of carb-loading and being well hydrated have been staples of western training regimens for years.

A re-consideration of the literature on the biomechanics of running suggests these seemingly counter-productive habits actually provide a benefit to Kenyan runners. Because their diet is high in carbohydrates, the majority of Kenyans metabolized extra fat during periods of negative energy balance, which reduces their BMI without significantly affecting their glycogen stores or oxidative capacity. This effect is enhanced by the fact that Kenyans typically eat right after their workout, negating the glycogen depleting effect of negative energy balance. At race time the reduced body mass lowers the energy cost of locomotion without affecting maximal energy producing capacity.

So in addition to running two to three times a day I will attempt to maintain a negative energy balance and see if I can reduce the weight, so far I have gone from 175 to 165lbs without too much difficultly.  Interestingly I have found with the increased aerobic work and decreased strength work I naturally seem to be eating considerably more carbohydrates.  

Nothing overly complicated, "light" bump in milage, "light" cut to calories which will lead to a negative energy balance, which will lead to a slow decrease in weight and will eventually lead to me racing at my optimal race weight.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Drops of rain

"When you follow your bliss, 
doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors" 

Consistency in running is the vital contributor to success. Anyone can achieve personal improvement with steadily increasing mileage,  combined with consistent and intelligent high-end running. 

Of course, each individual possesses different qualities which may impose physical limitations, so I have to experiment to find the right mileage and the right amount of threshold running for my current tolerance, body weight, and state of development. 

Over the spring and summer I plan on staying the course, safely and steadily trying to push the boundaries. Two weeks back I had pushed the gas a little too hard and had to back off for a few days to recover. There will  be some inevitable setbacks during this discovery process, but I will find what's right and will continue to make improvement.

This done-by-feel period will be composed of 120 to 160 mile weeks as the body handles the load and will comprise of mostly high end aerobic running, in which fitness is allowed to develop at a comfortable rate. As Ottawa approaches there will a period of more specialized conditioning, with sessions geared toward target race pace, and intensity, but for now the goal is too build the milage back up after the break I took to build back the strength in the back.

During this process it should be noted, it was not without sore feet, tired knees and starting a few runs simply by walking until the body warmed up but each day and each week the body was able to handle the load just that little bit better.

On the mend!