Protein and your running body

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Protein with every meal

Protein, not just for runners but everyone striving for a balanced diet or planning to shed a few pounds should know a few things about it. According to the World Health Organization, humans need to get only 10 percent of their daily calories from Protein to maintain good health. But as runners we need more of it because running breaks down muscle and damages our muscle fibers.

Protein with every meal

According to researchers, by spreading your Protein intake throughout the day, your muscles receive a constant supply of the amino acids needed to build muscle and boost metabolism. However, if you consume too little at breakfast and too much at dinner, your body can’t build muscle throughout the day and is forced to store Protein as glucose or fat at night.

Protein intake timing for runners

After a hard run or workout timing your Protein intake is important. Within 30 minutes from your workout and up to 2 hours is the ideal window for recovery. For every pound of body weight you should consume 0.25gr of Protein for proper muscle Recovery. For example a 100lb runner should consume 25gr. and a 160lb runner 40gr. Of course you should include Carbohydrates with your recovery meal or shake and don’t forget to hydrate immediately after your workout. You should continue consuming more Protein with all your meals and snacks for the rest of the day. You want to aim for a total daily intake at 0.50gr per pound of body weight for light days. On heavier workout days or long mileage runs you should aim for 0.80gr. Although this is not a magic formula it works for me. I even add more Protein on days that I feel extra sore or sense an injury coming.

Read :More on this.

Refuel Smart

Takis

Carbohydrates and your running body.

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Carbs, a Runner’s Best Friend.

As a runner you may already know the importance of Carbohydrates in running performance. Some of us tend to think a lot about our fueling process (Carbs) during training and racing. Others very little and some not at all. For the large majority of runners we are probably consuming enough Carbs during the day to support our needs. But fine-tuning our Carb intake can make for greater results in our performance.

Personalizing your Carbohydrate intake

My general rule when it comes to my personal Nutrition is 60-20-20. That translates to 60% of total Calories come from Carbs, 20% from Protein and 20% from Fat. Although the percentages don’t change, the amounts do, depending on the day’s activities. For instance on a complete rest day I would try to consume enough Carbs to equal my minimum requirement of 2,100 Cals per day. That will be 2,100 x 60% (or 0.6) =  1,260 Cals from Carbs. On a different day, let’s say after a two-hour Long run I would burn approx. 1,100 Calories. So the day’s minimum total Caloric consumption would be 2,100+1,100=3,200 Cals. For that day the Carb requirement would be 3,200 x 60% (0.6) = 1,920 Cals from Carbs. It is really very simple to calculate. And if you use My Fitness Pal is very easy to keep up with your daily Nutrition. It is a free app by the good folks at Under Armor that tracks your Calories and adjusts the total daily requirements according to your activity. Even if you tracked your Caloric intake for a few days you will get a good idea of your Nutritional habits.

Best times to take Carbs
             Carbohydrates = Energy.

Generally you should consume most of your Carbs earlier in the day.  Especially if you run/work out in the mornings is important to refuel early.

  • Before a hard workout. Your body will respond better to the workout when its fuel reserves are topped.
  • During a Long run. Your body will thank you for re-stocking some of its fuel while is working so hard for you.
  • Always after your run. Post run, Carbs are important for recovery  with a small amount of Protein (more about Protein on another Post) will feed your muscles.
  • Remember that Carbohydrates = Energy. When you feel you’re running (no pun intended) low is time to refuel.

Read more about Carbohydrates:
Runners World      Mayo Clinic, Healthy Lifestyle

 

Feed your running body!

Takis

Wine, Cheese and Running shoes

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Life’s simplest pleasures: wine, cheese and running shoes. What can I say. After the Long run on Saturdays, one of our weekly perks is a trip to Whole Foods. First stop is at the cheese shop then to the red wine shelf and finally to the bakery for a warm crusty loaf of bread.

Life’s healthy pleasures

Late afternoon snack. Slices of a small variety of cheeses mostly sharp ones (the harder the cheese the less fat it contains),some bread and a glass of red wine! Not sure what it is about this but the weekends don’t come around quick enough. Is it the fact the red wine and running share a lot of the same health benefits? As we all know running is good for you heart. Lowers the risk of heart attacks, reduces the chances of certain cancers and adds years to your life. Well guess what? Red wine is known to have the exact same benefits. Double whammy, right? Cheese doesn’t prolong your life or shares the same healthy heart benefits. But is loaded with protein, Calcium, Zinc, B12, and many more Vitamins and minerals beneficial to runners.

So my running friends, enjoy a glass of two (and no more) of red wine with some quality cheese and don’t forget the bread for your carbs. And there you have it! A day of many miles, a little of the runner’s high and a self-indulgent recovery. A day full of pleasures and health benefits!

cheers

Takis

Read more about the complete benefits:Benefits of running , Cheese Nutritional facts , Benefits of red wine .

Sub Two Marathon

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With Adidas announcing their newest product the Adizero Sub2 shoe makes the race to the Sub Two Marathon official. It is Nike with the Breaking2 vs Adizero Sub2 . Or is it Kipchoge for Nike vs Kipsang for Adidas? Kenyan vs Kenyan.

Tokyo Marathon

Adidas claims they have perfected the shoe that will take a runner to the finish line in less than two hours. A much lighter, still cushioned enough shoe to carry us for the 20,000 steps to the 26.2 mark. Kipsang will have a first shot at the record tomorrow Sunday 2/26/2017 in Tokyo. Will this day be Historic? We will have to wait and see!

Regardless the outcome of the Tokyo Marathon the shoe will become available to the rest of us mortals later this year.

Run fast

Takis

 

Cross Training for runners

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We all know how important cross training is for runners. Any type of cardio workout that does not involve much use of our feet is a great way to “rest while maintaining”.

As runners we have to run a lot to improve our performance. The problem is that risk of injury increases the more we run. By adding a day or two of cross training in a week gives our over-worked muscles time to repair themselves. But doing so does not increase our running performance. Cross training can only improve our total fitness.

One Study of two groups of runners followed a specific running program for six-week. One group only ran while the second group cross train as well. At the end of the study both groups showed the same improvements. Another study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise proved the same results as the first one.

Let’s not forget that the exact meaning of cross training (source: wikipedia ) is to take part in two different sports. So naturally we would not become better runners by swimming or the other way around.  To become a better runners, we have to run regularly, consistently, and with a good training plan that gradually increases in distance and speed.

So, will cross training increase your performance as runner?  I don’t think so. Will it make you less prone to injuries and more complete as an athlete?  Definitely

Train smart

Takis

 

Is running a competitive sport?

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After a Sunday’s group run we gather for coffee. Needless to say we flood the coffee bar with sweaty, smelly bodies and for some reason we feel welcomed. Even the other patrons don’t seem to mind us but we do get curiously examining looks all the time. Usually there are running discussions buzzing all around the coffee bar. Different subjects depending on the table you’re sitting at. But there was one that became more of a general discussion “Is running a competitive sport or individual”?

With Boston around the corner and with a few of our group going to the prestigious running event, this was a timely subject. Of course ideas are like assholes, everybody has one! And there was not a shortage of them.

Competitive Sport

So what is a competitive sport? Here’s what wikipedia has to say: 

Sport (UK) or sports (US) are all usually forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators.

That definitely describes any running event from the 100m Sprint to the Marathon and more. A group of athlete’s competing for 1st place and there’s never a lack of entertainment nor spectators who can reach over a million at some events. So there you have it running is a competitive sport. Or is it?

You vs You

Let’s take another look at this. You don’t hear someone ask you “Did you Win the Marathon?” But, you do hear “Did you set a PR ?”(or a PB depending on the Continent you are at that moment). I personally think is rude to so blatantly ask a runner the PR question unless you know them well. But you can always drug it out of by asking “how was the course?”,”how was the weather?” or “how did you feel during the race”. If that runner set a personal best you’d know by now! I think all of us strive for a PR. We may even place at the top in our age group from time to time but a personal record shines better than that reward.

So if you run for a Personal Record (or a Personal Best) seems that those are individual goals and don’t have much to do with competing with other runners. Right? Let’s face it, in any race but especially the Marathon you have the front-runners or the leading group or simply the Elites. It’s the pack of runners that are competing and they are about 30 to 50 of them and as the race goes on the pack thins down to about 6-8 runners. They are competing for 1st place and a very generous reward most races. The rest of us are trying to beat our own Best, we are running for a new PR. It is You against You on the course. Can’t care less about the runner in front or behind you.

I think it all comes down to each one of us. If we all run at six minutes pace then we would be competing at races. Personally I think running is an Individual sport for the majority of runners and a Competitive one for the Select few.

Here’s to a new PR

Cheers,  Takis

 

 

Why you should rotate your running shoes

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If you want to build a stronger running foundation you should rotate your shoes.

I’d like to begin with a Disclaimer: I’m not a Podiatrist, nor a Physical Therapist not even a Foot Magician. Everything I’m describing in this post is from my own personal experience as well as knowledge I have gained from running experts.

 

Running increases the muscular endurance of our feet, legs and even the hips. Using the same shoes on every run will work on the same group of muscles all the time.  If you used one or even two pairs in rotation on different days you could benefit.

A Shoe for each run.

Personally, I rotate between three sometimes even four pairs in a week. I run my Long Runs with a cushioned 10mm drop (heel to toe offset). A flatter 4mm drop and less cushioned for faster runs. A zero drop less cushioned for medium long runs and easy runs. And from time to time a  barefoot shoe for easy short runs and recovery.

By mixing up the shoes gives my legs and feet a more complete workout. It truly builds your lower legs much stronger. Something that I can definitely notice. Although the cushioned shoes are comfy, the more minimal zero drop do more good to your muscles. They stretch the fascia muscles and makes them more flexible. Also the Achilles and Soleus and many more muscles will benefit.

Rotate what you already have

Don’t go out and buy three different pair of shoes all at the once. Rotate what you have in your closet first. Take out maybe an older shoe that has some life still left on its sole. If you already have a shoe that has more than 100 miles on it now is the time to shop for a new pair. Talk to your local running store experts. Ask them for a different drop shoe than the one you already own. Make sure the shoe is the right one for your feet (Pronation). Once this pair reaches the 100 mile mark is time to shop for a new one. Throw that in the rotation, Soon you will have choices to make on your runs. Remember since you are rotating your shoes they will last you for a longer time till they reach their end.

Choose the right shoe carefully

Although I own a few pair of shoes from many different brands they are all the same in one way. When it comes to Pronation Control they all fall in the Neutral category. They may vary in drop, cushion and style, but they are all Neutral. You should know your Pronation Control category and always stick with it. If you decide to buy a pair with a different drop than you are used to make the change slowly. Allow for transition time. The bigger the difference in drop the longer the transition. Remember you will be stressing tissue that has not been stressed and you will be risking injury.

I believe shoe rotation is a great way to build an injury free running body!

Here is a nice in-depth article from Active about this subject Should you rotate your running shoes

Run with Happy feet

Takis

Run a Faster Marathon, train like a Kenyan.

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A couple of months ago Nike made an announcement. It has put together a team of diverse leaders in all aspects of training in order to achieve the so-far humanly impossible Sub 2 hour Marathon the so-called Breaking2 .

They have targeted three runners that are capable (according to Nike) of achieving the impossible. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.

On January 26th. 2017, Ed Caesar from Wired magazine traveled to Kenya and had the opportunity to train and observe Kipchoge.

One of the days he spent there went on a run with Kipchoge and his training group:

 It was during this period that I reflected upon the happy fact that I was not dead. Kipchoge has run whole marathons almost twice as fast as we were moving at that moment. Why had he chosen not to crank up the pace? Why hadn’t he killed us? Kipchoge is polite to a fault. Was he simply humoring his guests? When we returned to his training camp, another possibility emerged. This was a recovery run, and Kipchoge really does take his recovery runs that slowly. The data the Nike science team analyzed from his GPS watch shows that the kind of run he had done with us was exactly the kind of run he would have done anyway.

Caesar goes on:

I knew Kipchoge was fast. I didn’t understand how slow he could be. This, I thought, might be a moment to learn something.

You can read more here the article as it appeared in WIRED It is a very well written article by Ed Caesar.

Run Slow!!

Are your Easy Runs ruining your training?

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Most of us follow some kind of a training program. It can be a couch to 5K, a Half training program or even a Marathon. As you already know, if you are following a program, most of your workouts are “Easy Run” days. The purpose of those days are to either help your body recover from a previous hard workout or to prepare you for an upcoming one.  They are great workouts that help rebuild our muscles from tiny tears that occurred during hard training and make those muscles stronger. So to reap the full benefits of an Easy day you must slow down.

How slow do you go on Easy days? The answer is simple: You can not go “too slow” but you can go too fast and that will add to the stress and muscle fatigue and your next workout will suffer from it. Continue doing this and not only your training will become counteractive but you also risk injury.

Greg McMillan shares a great post on Easy running and other workouts by doing The Talk Test while running.

The Talk Test Zones

Endurance Zone – carry on a full conversation

Stamina Zone – speak in 1-2 sentences

Speed Zone – speak 1-2 words but definitely not a lot of talking

Sprint Zone – grunts, moans, aack.

As you see here the EZ zone is pretty much a relaxing run that you could actually carry on a conversation without having to gasp for air. Now if you are not running with a partner talking to yourself may seem as a sign of insanity to innocent by passers. But then again when they see you running they already think you’re half crazy.

Run Slow

Takis