Guest Blogger: Amanda Turner MS, Registered Dietitian at Active Fueling
Do you ever wonder what the optimum meal or snack is to have prior to an event? What about for training? Eating before a training workout or big event can help to improve your performance. The following tips will help you be adequately prepared:
1. Consider Timing
Eating before an event or hard training can be tricky. If you’re going to be doing high intensity or long endurance activities, try eating at least two hours before you start your workout. This allows plenty of time for digestion and will minimize your risk of GI distress. If your activity is more moderate or light in intensity, you may be able to eat closer to the activity without any concern.
As a general rule of thumb, the closer you get to your activity’s start time, the less you should be eating for optimal digestion pre-activity.
2. Meal/Snack Composition
A balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat is typically your best choice. Fat takes longer to digest, so it is good to keep it small prior to a long or intense activity bout (i.e. avoid that pizza!). Try the following snacks/meals before activity:
Oatmeal with fruit, lowfat milk, and a small amount of peanut butter
String cheese and banana
Sirloin and baked potato (light with the butter/sour cream)
Crackers and yogurt based dip
3. Type of Food or Beverage
Choose either liquid or solid foods based on your preference and past digestive history. If you have trouble with stomach cramping or nausea during workouts, liquid may be the best option (also consider eating earlier to leave more time for digestion pre-workout).
In general, lower fiber options are best so you don’t have more bulk in the stomach and intestines. Avoid beans, cruciferous veggies, most whole grains, and any other foods that have caused gas/cramping in your past experience.
Form Fix: Quiet Feet are Happy Feet
Developing a quiet foot strike
by Coach Jenni Nettik
The next time you head out for a run, listen to your feet. What do they sound like? Can you hear them slap the ground?
A loud foot strike is inefficient for several reasons:
1. It causes extra strain on joints and bones. Running with good form on a flat surface requires a runner to absorb the impact of 2.5 times of his or her bodyweight with each step. A loud foot strike is sloppy, that means the load rate is higher. Do the math, that’s a lot of weight for your joints and bones to absorb.
2. It indicates wasted energy. Runners want the majority of their energy moving them forward, not to the side or down into the ground. A loud foot strike is the sound of energy going into the ground, almost like a brake.
3. It demonstrates a lack of muscle control. Runners want to engage multiple muscles throughout the entire stride. A loud foot strike means a runner is letting gravity pull his or her leg to the ground. That may sound efficient, but it means fewer muscles are engaged, so the ones that are, the glutes and quads, have to do more work and fatigue more quickly.
4. It often means a runner is over-striding or heel striking. Efficient runners stay near the ground with a quick cadence and land near their center of mass for a low impact rate.
Luckily, developing a quieter foot strike is pretty simple, although it may take a little time to master. The best way to improve the efficiency of your foot strike is to listen to your feet.
Three quiet feet drills:
1. Marching mimics the running movement. Before your next run, march for a block, listen to your feet. Turn around and march back, this time march as quietly as you can. What do you do to quiet your feet? Slow down and concisely place your feet on the ground.
2. Skipping exaggerates the running movement. After you march, skip for a block, listen to your feet. You guessed it, turn around and skip back with quiet feet. How do you control your foot strike? Slow down and engage your hamstrings and glutes as you strike the ground.
3. Go run and listen to your feet, try to run as quietly as possible. Take short light steps. You may notice that when you get tired, your feet get louder. As you build strength, it will be easier to maintain a quiet foot strike.
Do you have any form fixes of your own?
Speed: Keep it Simple
Three types of runs
by Coach Jenni Nettik
I like to keep things simple, running included. My favorite type of run is a trail run because it’s about the process, not the details. The thought of running around in circles on the track just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as exploring a new trail. However, at the end of last summer, I decided I wanted to end my season of trail marathons by qualifying for Boston on the road. There was no question in my mind that I had the endurance and strength needed for the race, however speed was another story, I spent my remaining month of training focused on speedwork.
I did three types of speed runs: Long, Tempo and Yasso 800’s
1. Long Run
I know a long run doesn’t typically fall in the speed category, but I’ve included it because I believe pacing the long run correctly is essential to a runner’s overall training and recovery. The majority of a long run should be done at an easy pace, 60-90 seconds slower than marathon race pace. That means one should easily be able to chat the entire time. If three-quarters of the way through the long run, you’re feeling strong, pick-up the pace by 30-60 seconds. When in doubt, start a little slower than you think you need to, so you can finish a little faster. Finishing strong gives you a great mental boost and keeps you motivated to train.
There are lots of different ways to do tempo runs, of course, I like to keep it simple. I run about 6 miles at a challenging pace that is doable, but requires some mental toughness. I use a weekly group run because running the same course helps me pace myself, push myself and monitor my fitness. A tempo run should be done at pace that you can maintain for an hour, that means it’s a little slower than your 10K race pace, but little faster than your half marathon race pace. Your breath should be smooth, but you shouldn’t be able to tell your life story to your running buddy.
3. Yasso 800’s
Yasso 800’s are my favorite track workout because of their simplicity. Here’s how they work, the hours and minutes of your marathon goal time, coordinate with the minutes and seconds of your 800 meter interval times. For example, your goal is to run a marathon in 3:30:00, that means two weeks before your race, you’re going to run ten, 800’s, each with a time of 3:30. Between each 800 meter interval, you jog 400 meters to recover. Early in your training, start with fewer intervals, 4 or 5, and then every two or three weeks, gradually increase until you reach ten 800’s about two weeks out from your race. Want a little more information on Yasso 800’s? Bart Yasso explains the workout in more detail here: Yasso 800’s
How do you work on speed?