Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Friday, 17 May 2013

Active recovery, optimal weight & diet and preferential calorie consumption

Training since the Salomon Hammer Trail 2 weeks ago has been 100% "designed" by myself while coach Ole took at little break from determining my every athletic motion. We took a family trip with the HG Tri club to Mallorca, Spain- and this is how things have looked.

Active recovery

Fri-Sat: 100 miles (Bornholm)
Sun: nothing
Monday: 30km bike, 30 min swim
Tuesday: 2km run, yoga
Wednesday: 30 km bike in Mallorca
Thursday: 30 min ocean swim, 90km bike in mountains
Friday: 30 min ocean swim, 5k easy run

Saturday: ½ Ironman in 5:53 (took it pretty easy, had a ton of fun; no signs of injury)

I ran for a long time with this fellow inhabitant of Denmark, whose name I didn't get!

Maria (left) and I had been theorizing for months who between the two of us would race a faster ½IM. I love being part of a club! 
Sunday: waterpark with the kids
Monday: 30 min ocean swim, 150km bike in the mountains (with the fast guys- ouch)
Up to Sollér
Rasmus, Rasmus &... Allan
Tuesday: 90km bike with SR, 5k run with fam while I pushed baby jogger (header picture above). Loved the British guy who sang "military family" as we went by. Damn straight.
Wednesday: 2 hour moutain run- single track! up to Puig de San Martí, down, up again, down---- sunrise view over the Alcúdia bay. Tears of joy were shed. What a run!
Thursday: 23km trail run over the åsen back in Næstved. All about slowness and tons of hills.
Friday: 7km run- starting to pick up the pace, trails - 1 hour pulse/step/core - 25 minutes of my own crossfit

This was pretty active and I have not felt so UNinjured since last August. High volume and low intensity seems to fit my recovery needs well. Plus trail running seems to be key for me.
Baby "foot fetish" Mattias
Optimal weight

I'm there right now and happy about it. I lost over 3 lbs since Hammer Trail. Just stepped on the scale yesterday for the first time and it was reproducible today. Hadn't expected it, but I am back at my "ideal" Ingrid Christian BMI when she set the marathon world record- specifically 5´6" 106 lbs.

If I hadn't been so active, I would think I had lost muscle, but it doesn't seem like it.

Now- I am talking about optimal marathon and ultramarathon weight. Not optimal- "I want to attract the opposite sex weight" (which would be more) or optimal "I want to model skirts" (which would sadly be less). I have come to the conclusion that optimal marathon and ultramarathon weights are equivalent since the very best ultramarahoners also tend to be some of the very best marathoners.
Optimal diet
This week in Mallorca was stellar in terms of diet. They had an all-you-can-eat salad bar. In the mornings I had oatmeal, lunches (no salad bar) were basically Clif Bulders Bars and chocolate, dinners- 2 enormous plates of salad (always with an abundance of beets) and fish.
I have heard time and again that beets are good for recovery. How much they helped my recovery from the 100 mile run, I can't say, but I feel like they helped. Beets have a combination of Vitamin C, B vitamins (including folate), fiber, magnesium, potassium and iron. These things together would make a nice recovery pill, but our bodies are so much better at uptaking real food. There is a lot of logic (despite it seeming like a fad) behind the theory that beets are wonderful for athletes.

Just to reiterate some past posts: the four best things I ever did for my diet:

1. Give up artificial sweeteners (100%)
2. Stop eating gluten
3. Increase protein intake
4. Increase Omega 3 Fatty Acid intake

Preferential burning of fat

I think we have all noticed in our infinite boredome the little picture of "fat burning" zones on athletic equipment. I had never given it too much thought since my goal was usually cardiovascular fitness instead. That was until I heard Casper Wakefield talking about how he had to adapt his body to preferentially burn fat (over glycogen) so he could suvive the Yukon Ultra with less food and less energy expenditure.

Then there was an article about Henrik Them, the big favorite at the Copenhagen Marathon this Sunday, in Politiken.  He is pictured here wearing a mask which measures his CO2 output.
Photo: Daniel Hjorth

The idea is, he can't do too much of his workout at threshold. He needs lots of easy "fat burning" miles, but also a certain amount of time at his threshold (and max CO2 output) so he can improve his speed. It seems like a tricky and fascinating balance. This is, I have gathered, why it is so hard to get good at the marathon without enough slower long runs.

Apparently our diets can also be used to preferentially burn fat if we deplete our glycogen stores and don't have extra sugar in our blood. This can be done by either running in the morning on an empty stomach or by limiting carb intake before runs. 

I'm no expert at this, but find it interesting, so stop me if I have misunderstood something. 

Running song of the day: (One of the greatest things in life has to be finding a song you can play over & over & over - and it keeps sparking you on.) Best Coast - Fear of My Identity


SteveQ said...

Funny reading this after just posting about diet craziness. My weight's rather low at the moment, due to continued illness. (145 pounds, at 6 feet)

I've always run on an empty stomach for comfort reasons and it's made ultra-length runs difficult at best.

sea legs girl said...

Ah! Good point, Steve. When out on long runs, I think the idea is you should start eating when you feel hungry so you aren't held back by lack of energy. Crazy, I know! = eat.when.hungry

Marathon Mom said...

I'm with you on the active recovery, although my race was not even close to where I wanted and not injury free I feel great having spent this week swimming, biking and do a little easy running. It is amazing how much gluten free makes a difference for so many people. I feel wonderful without it, but don't Clif bars have gluten?
Seriously I need some of your speed and healthy legs as I train (and race this summer/fall) so tired of not being where I should be :(

Olga King said...

Great new header and organization! I am all for an active recovery, ah, especially when it seems to be in a place you are in, not in Austin, TX! My God, you're skinny, but no, no complains, we each find what works for us, and NO injury is the best thing to determine that. Question: you said you upped protein intake (I agree with all other points you made to adjust your diet) - but I didn't see it in description of your daily "menu" while in recovery. What do you take for protein? and last, yes, I am all for beets!

Danni said...

What would happen if you were 107? Or 105? Or 106.7? :-) I'm glad you have it nailed down at exactly 106.

Active recovery always works better for me than laying around and drinking beer, which is what I normally do despite knowing active recovery makes for better actual recovery. But then again I'm not really ever trying to perform so who cares.

PiccolaPineCone said...

I hear you about ideal racing weight being lower than "attracting opposite (or probably same) sex" weight". i always know i am ready to rock a 5 km when hubby's reaction to my naked body is "yuck". conversely when i get a whistle, i know i am in for a rough race!

you definitely are a model for the slogan "the more you do, the more you can do". lately i am modelling "the less you do, the less you can do".

sea legs girl said...

Jen (MM), regular Clif bars have lots of gluten, but Clif Builders Bars only have a trace of wheat flower, otherwise totally gluten free. They are AWESOME. -

Heck, why not try beets for a week and see if it helps your leg/legs :0)? I think you did awesome at the Lake Wobegon Marathon, by the way, but also know you can be faster. I think we all experience waves of faster times, inevitably followed by slower times. Certainly I have. Suddenly you'll be super fast and wonder where it came from.

sea legs girl said...

Olga- thank you! Protein- each Clif Builder's bar- 20grams, Each serving of oatmeal 12g, always fish, fish, fish for dinner, sometimes also with beans. Fatty fish with the scales still on: yum, yum, yum.

sea legs girl said...

Danni- I don't really care too much if my weight goes up a little - even to 112 since I figure it helps my training in the long run. I wouldn't want to go too much below 106, though. That would have me worried and risking lower energy levels or problems with malnutrition or mental function. 106 has classically been the weight I set PR's at. I probably shouldn't be there now since I'm not running any big races soon. But it's easier to gain than lose!

sea legs girl said...

PPC, something tells me your hubby would deny ever saying "yuck" to you. Sure, the less you do, the less you can do, but you can STILL beat SLG at any race. ;0) I think they would still have slots of an elite at the Milwaukee Marathon, by the way...

Jrahn said...

So, have you really not touched artificial sweeteners since last May? A whole year?

I'm extremely addicted to them, and am getting scared. I've been addicted for years and years and years. After my in-patient treatment for anorexia/bulimia/overexercise, I had a brief period when I didn't consume them, and I scaled back significantly when pregnant the first two times, but I'm consuming more now than ever before. I need to stop....I just don't know how.

Please give me some more motivation. I need to know how you stopped, and some specific differences it's made in your life. I read your post in July about how better you felt....but is it still holding true?

I also have fallen back into the "exact same foods every day" trap, and it's not good. I'm nursing, and need to vary my diet for Jules. :(

Just reading this is scary. How far I've fallen....

sea legs girl said...

Hey Jrahn! Good to hear from you. I love and admire your honesty.

I have not eaten any artificial sweeteners for the last year. You are right! A whole year and I don't miss them one bit. I fact, I get a kind of gaggy feeling when I think of diet soda and sugar-free gum now. I don't think I could eat them if I were forced to. It is weird how our bodies/taste, etc. adapt and change. I don't think you should feel guilty about anything. I guess for me it has made a difference in terms of energy and that I don't have that vague feeling of hunger all the time. Also it was nice to get rid of some of my pot belly. I have no proof that artificial sweeteners are unhealthy. I would say though that if you want to give them up, the really hard part is the first week, then the first month you will sort of miss diet soda, but after that, you probably will forget it. It's like all other addictions, I guess.

Variety is so great. You are right. And that is something I would love do better in terms of my diet.

Jen R. said...

Thanks for being so gentle in your response. I started yesterday in weaning myself off of them, and it is TOUGH. But it's long overdue, and I'm using you as inspiration. I need more energy for these three kiddos, and not to be consuming stuff that I know is not ideal nursing fuel. :)

Thanks so much. I hope to have a similar success story in about a year.