Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Diet Update

If you've followed along, I have been working on transitioning to a low carb, high fat diet for nearly 2 months now. It was a struggle to adapt at first. I tried to go into nutritional ketosis by limiting my carbs to 50g per day and I just couldn't do it. All of my runs felt terrible and I just had a hard time finding a "happy place" where I had some flexibility with my diet. Ketosis requires zero tolerance for cheating and I just enjoy some things too much to live with zero tolerance.

I have settled on what I would term a "high fat version of the Paleo diet". At this point, I think the Paleo diet is becoming an overused term and has slightly different meanings to all that follow it. For me, it basically means real food: nothing processed or out of a box, no fast food, organic and grass-fed if possible/reasonable, minimal sugar, and no grains of any kind. However, while Paleo eaters eat more fat than most Americans, there is nothing explicit that says it has to be high fat. You could eat meat and vegetables all day, in which case you'd be eating primarily protein and carbs, particularly if you picked lean meat (often prescribed by Paleo followers). What I have done is to go out of my way to eat fat when possible -- fatty cuts of meat, whole fat cheese, whole fat milk, full fat greek yogurt (careful with yogurt, lots of sugar), heavy whipping cream, coconut oil, ghee, almonds, avocados, olive oil, eggs, and bacon are my staples. However, I still eat some carbs in the form of berries, organic apple sauce, beer or wine, vegetables (no limits on Paleo friendly veggies), and a periodic cheat item like a Bing energy drink.

The only real difference between now and 2 months ago is the amount of fat I eat. The benefits of this change are that I am finally eating close to 3500 kcals per day -- which I need to run 55 miles per week at 190 lbs -- without feeling like crap or gaining weight. I haven't had an episode of the "runner's trots" in months. My overall gut health has improved tremendously. One example of a dish that I really enjoy pre or post run is a high fat Paleo hash my wife has been making. The base is sweet potatoes, kale, and onions that are sauteed in oil.  Then it is mixed with cooked 80% lean ground beef (don't drain off the fat) and topped with two eggs. Yum!

On the run, I have started to allow moderate amounts of carbs to keep my energy levels up. For now, I am really enjoying Skratch Labs as a low calorie (but mostly sugar) beverage. I have found that just a minimal amount of carbs coming in keeps my brain from feeling fatigue. For example, I tried to go without any carbs on my Saturday run and my mental perception of the difficulty of the run increased dramatically. Sunday all I had was a few swigs of Skratch (maybe 100 calories) and I felt strong the whole run, despite it being day 2 of a back-to-back and having fatigued legs. I will also enjoy Hammer Bars on the run. Again, they are primarily carbs, but they pass the "real food" test being entirely organic and non-GMO ingredients. Once in a while I use Generation Ucan pre-run, but I don't know that I am sold on that product. It is expensive, difficult to work with, and somewhat limiting because it is ineffective when mixed with high sugar products. I think it works, I just don't know that it works for me. I fully expect that I will take some gels in longer races, particularly in later stages.

Weekly Training Wrap - 4/21 - 4/27

A super solid week of training, finally! In fact, everything lined up really well. I felt strong on just about every run. My heart rate data is suggesting that I am back to near peak fitness -- just one week after complaining that it was lagging. I did both quality (some Progression and Mile Repeats) and specificity (B2B trail runs). And, I got to see the North Fork 50 course on Saturday. I have run CT sections 1 and 2, and I think the course is pretty much on par with what I expected from that area. It is quite pretty, not very technical, and shaded in the areas that aren't burned. Maybe my only complaint is that much of what we saw seems like a mountain biking course. The trail is often narrow and rutted into the terrain. And many of the turns are windy with embankments to allow for fast turns on a bike. That is a pretty small complaint. I think I will love the course. However, it appears to be a course that will be hot and I need to be as prepared as I can for that.

Day Miles Notes
Monday 7Zone 2
Tuesday 11 Progressive
Tuesday 4 Easy
Wednesday5 Easy
Body Weight Training
Thursday8Mile Repeats (6:34, 6:33, 6:33, 6:33)
FridayOff Body Weight Training
Saturday 17North Fork Course Preview
Sunday 13Deer Creek
Total 65About 7200 feet of vert

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Training Wrap - 4/14 - 4/20

A solid week of training for me, even though it was a long-awaited cutback. I had an email conversation with my buddy Jon about how to take my training to the next level. And the decision was quality, in particular quality and structure on my long runs. I have been pretty comfortable doing easy runs and building a base, but I think I have reached a point where the gains from that are limited. With that in mind, I did three quality workouts this week. None of them put me too deep in the red, but all of them designed to break me out of the slow miles that I've been logging. This week I return to the higher volume training and some trail specificity this weekend, including a course preview for North Fork 50. Things feel good and I am really happy to be training again!

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffBody Weight Training
Tuesday 8 Progressive Bluffs Loops
Wednesday5 Easy
FridayOff Strength Training
Saturday 14Structured Long
Sunday 10Easy
Total 45About 3500 feet of vert

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Training Wrap - 4/7 - 4/13

I am pretty darn happy with where my training is at. This week finished off a 4-week block that totaled 230 miles and almost 25K of vertical. After a long, technical, big vertical trail run on Saturday, I pretty much feel totally back to my pre-surgery self, functionally at least. I still have a little work to do to get fit, but I feel I can train the way I want to finally -- just in time for trail season to really kick off. Tuesday's run (a GA-effort w/ some Fartleks) gave me confidence that my overall fitness is nearing 2013 levels on the road, but Saturday's long proved I have a bit of work to do on the trails. My body really freaked out in the warm afternoon weather.

I have a pretty aggressive cutback week (down to around 45 miles) that I plan to make use of to rest up and reinvigorate my cross training routines. And, I am traveling a bit for work.

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffRest
Tuesday 11 MLR w/ Fartleks
Tuesday 4 Run Club Recovery
Wednesday5 Easy
PT and Body Weight Training
Thursday10Hill Repeats
Thursday5Bluffs @ Lunch
FridayOff Rest
Saturday 19Long @ Deer Creek
Sunday 7Easy
Total 61About 7700 feet of vert

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Training Wrap - 3/31 - 4/6

On my original plan, this week was a cutback week. However, I've only had one tough week in my last training block because I lost parts of two weeks to my pulled hamstring. And, I am traveling next week for work. Those things combined made this a hard training week so that I can put off my cutback week to my travel week. Overall it went really well. I am starting to implement two to three "key" workouts per week. This week I did some Mile Repeats and Hill Repeats on the treadmill to dodge poor weather. Neither workout was killer, but I felt both were effective. I also had a nice long road run (hilly with about 2K of vertical as well) in which I have more of a typical long run effort -- not just a MAF/super easy effort. I felt strong through out and good enough to run 10 more miles the following day. With a little less than 2 months to go, I am need to continue pushing some intensity to round out my fitness.

I finally have had some time to break in a couple of my new Altra shoes. At this stage, I think I can honestly say that I love my Olympus (55 miles) and they will be my shoe choice in the "max cushion" category. (Though I still have some Mafate that I need to find a way to rotate in.)  I am somewhat undecided on my Instinct 2.0. I like the shoe on the whole, but I find it kind of a "tweener" shoe. There is too much cushion for everyday use. And I have other cushioned shoes for super long stuff. Right now, I prefer the Instinct 1.5 as an everyday shoe to the 2.0, even though I like the fit of the 2.0 way better. When I retire my Instinct 1.5, I'll have to find another shoe to fill that void. Perhaps the The One2 (Squared)? As soon as the blog mentioned a comparison to the original Kinvara, my interest in this shoe doubled. The original Kinvara are my favorite shoes of all time.

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffRest
Tuesday 8 Mile Repeats
PT and Body Weight Training
Wednesday5 Easy
Thursday8Hill Repeats
PT and Body Weight Training
Friday5 Easy
Saturday 20Long Road Run
Sunday 10Easy
Total 56About 4700 feet of vert