STWM Weekend Part 1

It’s Friday, I wake up at 3am to get ready to go to the airport, just enough time to have some toast with peanut butter and a coffee. I arrive at the airport too early, Air Canada staff haven’t even arrived yet, so I cannot check my bag. After about 15 minutes they arrive and I proceed to security which is similarly empty, quickly passing through. I start listening to the podcast “My Dad Wrote a Porno” and try not to succumb to laughter in public as I am alone. A short flight later, I arrive at YVR with some time to spend before my next flight. I join the line at Starbucks for another coffee since it’s already been 3 hours since my first one, and a bagel for later. I find the gate for my next flight and continue listening to the podcast.

Before long I arrive in Toronto, grab my bag and head downtown to the race expo. It is much bigger than most expos in BC, but still small compared to an American one. We wander around for a while. I am not tempted by anything, and instead, take a few pictures with one of the photos of Ed Whitlock. We decide to head down to Ossington as we have a dinner reservation there later, and stop in at my favourite brewery, Bellwoods. I always stop here when in Toronto to fill my suitcase with beer to bring back to BC. For dinner, we go to La Banane, a french bistro. They start by bringing a warm pretzel instead of bread (I like this place already). I order fish, the meal is very good, and I would definitely return.

Saturday I wake up early, already adjusted to the time change after a week of waking up at between 3-4am Pacific time. I have coffee and breakfast, and head out for my short shake-out run. I run down to the beach, just a block from where I grew up, where I began my journey as a runner. There are lots of other runners and cyclists out, I feel overdressed in my shorts and t-shirt, it is way too hot for late October. I head home, and shower before heading downtown. My mom has an appointment to get her hair done, so I have time to spend, and end up getting my nails done, so I don’t walk too much, having a bagel for lunch and a mint tea. We head home and I lay down for a bit.

After a while, we head downtown to visit my brother at work. I have a kombucha and some pita and dips for a pre-dinner snack. We don’t stay long as I have dinner plans. Saucony had invited me to a pre-race dinner at Terroni. It was a fairly small group made up of a few Saucony employees, influencers, athletes (Krista Duchene!) and friends from Blacktoe Running. I had bread, pizza, salad and eggplant parmesan, Terroni is always a good idea. We had some great conversations about…all things running (surprise, surprise), my kind of night for sure! I almost forgot I had a marathon to run the next day, almost. ┬áIt was especially good to meet some people I have had only IG relationships with in real life finally! This group and the running community in Toronto is top notch and really made me think about moving back.

Beyond The Workouts: How Training Impacts My Life

Every Monday I post a recap of what I did for training the previous week. It tells you how much time I spent running, what my workouts were and what cross-training I did. What it doesn't tell you is the implications training has on my life and how I spent my time when I'm not training. My life is not typical of your average 27-year-old, at least as far as I am aware. I honestly don't know anyone else my age who spends their time the way I do. Training involves a lot of sacrifice (to me it's normal, but to an outsider it may look like tremendous sacrifice and a strict way of living). I choose to make the choices I do because I prefer it (1000x more) to other ways I have lived in the past, and ultimately because it makes me happy.

Here is how training affects my life:

  1. I watch an insane amount of Netflix, seriously, I can go through 2 seasons of something over a weekend, even more, if I'm tapering.
  2. You won't find me at the bar/club on the weekend (or ever really). Even if I did enjoy spending time at bars and clubs it would not be conducive to running a big workout or long-run the following day. I do enjoy drinking beer, but it's mostly a 1 and done situation, and at home, not out.
  3. I go to bed super early, we're talking before 10pm often times. Running is tiring, what can I say. In the summer, I often wake up early to run  before it gets too hot.
  4. I spend my Friday and Saturday nights at home 99% of the time. This ties into numbers 1-3.
  5. It's common for me to take naps or lie down. This is especially true on weekends, when the workouts and runs are the longest of the week. Naps are essential to recovery!
  6. I don't participate in many (or any) other sports. I do not enjoy team sports at all, so that's no problem, however, I do enjoy trail running, hiking, and winter sports. I don't do this other activities often or at all because: a) my energy is already used from running and needs to be saved for more running the next day, and,  b) I am nervous about injuring myself and being unable to run.
  7. I think about food all the time, and am hungry all the time! Obviously, large training volume and increased appetite go hand in hand, but there is also a lot of meal-planning required. What I mean by that is, I always think about how what I consume will impact my running. Will it upset my GI tract? Am I eating enough to support current/upcoming training? Am I getting appropriate amounts of carbs/fat/protein? Am I getting enough iron? It's all important.
  8. I don't own a lot of "regular" clothes. I may have an excess of running and athleisure clothes, but when it comes to regular clothes, especially "going out" clothes, there isn't much.
  9. My feet have seen better days. I have some black toenails, some callouses, and a bunion. It's all part of the fun. Pedicures only go so far.
  10. I wear running shoes/sneakers everyday. I choose comfort over all when it comes to shoes, and that means cushioning. This also ties into #9, I don't need extra blisters or damage to my feet.

Training involves a lot more than running and this is what it involves for me. I enjoy putting my full effort into training and everything that comes with it, but I understand it isn't for everyone. There are definitely many ways of training and this is what I choose to do.

What impact does training have on your life? What sacrifices does it involve?

Fueling for Distance Runners: Advice from a Registered Dietician

On Wednesday night I ended up running 18km, but when I was done I failed to re-fuel properly due to nausea. This continued to the following morning when I was still unable to eat enough. I headed out for my 70 minute run and became so hungry I couldn’t think about anything else. There happens to be a really good bakery on route also incidentally the only food on the route (lucky me), so after 7km I stopped, ate a pain au chocolat and proceeded to finish my run. I have never done anything like this before, but sometimes things happen and well, it was a freaking tasty stop.

During 2XU Camp we had a presentation about nutrition by one of the resident dieticians at CSIO. This inspired me to make my own appointment with a dietician and see what she had to say about my specific fuelling needs for distance running. In January I will start training for the Eugene Marathon in May and in preparation for that I want to make sure I am eating as optimally as I can be. Before our appointment I was asked to fill in a 3 day food diary including the time of each intake and the amount of each item as precisely as possible, I also filled out an exercise diary to give her an idea of how much training I do. Going into this I felt that my eating habits were above average. I try and eat something every 3 hours, make sure to balance protein, carbs and fat, and drink lots and lots of water throughout the day. I am also very conscious of the types of foods I choose to eat and prefer natural foods to those with a long list of complicated ingredients.

I met up with the dietician last Friday and she said on a bigger training day my caloric need would be about 2700 calories, I am by no means planning to count calories, this is just one guideline. It should be adjusted to be more or less depending on how much training I am doing. When I submitted my exercise calendar the longest run was 18km, so with marathon training that will increase to be much longer as will my fuelling needs. In terms of distribution, I am recommended to have 20 servings of carbohydrates, 12 of which should be grain, 5 fruit/sweet vegetables (squash for example), 3 milk alternatives (1/2 cup of chocolate milk is 1 serving). For protein, the target is 9 servings, an example of a serving is 1 large egg . For fats it is 3 servings per day, examples include: 1/6 of an avocado, or 1 tsp olive oil. I normally eat half an avocado at a time, which would be the total fat allowance for the day (oops). There are also “free foods” and the target is “as tolerated”, but aiming for 5 servings of free vegetables. Free vegetables include: cauliflower, kale, peppers, tomato, though there are many more. In addition, there are 2 “other foods” included in the day and those are higher-fat carbohydrate foods and one fat choice, for example a chocolate chip cookie or a glass of wine. This is all ideally divided between 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day, and there is a suggested distribution of these servings among those 5 eating times, but I won’t bore you with that.

A few tips…

1) Combining carbs with lean protein, and healthy fats will help keep blood sugar from rising too high AND keep you full longer.

2) Eat 3 meals a day about 4-6 hours apart.

3) If meals are more than 4 hours apart, have a snack between them.

4) Aim for variety and choose at least 3 out of the 4 food groups at each meal and at least 2 food groups at snacks.

5) 1-4 hours before exercise, consume at least 60 g of carbohydrates (4 servings), for example a nut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit. And hydrate!

6) During exercise lasting longer than 1 hour, aim for 30-60 g of carbohydrate per hour (I generally don’t fuel until the run is 90 minutes or longer).

7) During exercise lasting longer than 2.5 hours, you may benefit from up to 90 g of carbohydrates per hour.

8) Post exercise, aim for 1 g per kg of bodyweight in carbohydrates over the next 4-6 hours, 15-25 g of protein and fluid to re-hydrate.

9) If planning to be active the next day, have a snack within 30 minutes after your activity.

10) Improve iron intake by including at least one iron-rich food and one food rich in Vitamin C at each meal (it helps your body absorb more iron).

Most of what the dietician mentioned were things I already knew. Like I said, I consider myself to be above average with my nutrition and that proved to be true. Upon her analysis of my eating habits, I am successful at meeting the needs she outlined. I do need to increase my iron intake which is not something to take lightly. I often eat oatmeal for breakfast because of the iron content, however I have a coffee with it which is not ideal for absorption. It is hard to imagine waking up and not having a coffee, especially at 5am, but I might have to switch to tea and have the coffee later in pursuit of increasing iron absorption!