Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Eyes all Sticky Like Honey on Bees"

A good post-long run meal is just as important as the distance ran. You want a good balance of protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to help restore your energy and heal your muscles.

With exercise (aerobic or strength training) muscles are broken down, normally described as little tears in your muscles. This is where proteins and even grains come into play. The intake of protein after exercise helps to "repair" the torn muscles. The "repaired" muscles are in return stronger for future activities. Protein meal and snack ideas:
  • Good protein meals: Beans! According to Runner's World (October 2009 issue) a cup of beans have an equivalent amount of protein as two cups of milk. Good bean meals include red beans and rice, white beans and rice, chili, soups (such as vegetable soup), or even salads. Be creative! Also note, beans serve as a good source of fiber to help keep you regular, and can also help reduce the risk of heart disease (which is the #1 killer in today's society). All around goodness! :)
  • Good protein snacks: Protein bars, but be careful and don't over do it. Tuna is a good snack for protein, and is also low in calories due to being mostly water. If fish doesn't tickle your fancy try egg white. No you don't have to eat them raw like you see in movies. Just cook up an egg without all the cheese and butter because then you are adding unnecessary calories. Finally, a good snack with protein can be fruit. Fruit is pretty much good for most "nutritional musts".
Amino acids:
Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins. Basically, amino acids are required to make protein. Different acids make different proteins, but that's irrelevant at this time. Amino acids meal and snack ideas:
  • Good amino acid meals: Beans again! Also, meat is a good source. Cook your meat healthly. Bake or grill. Deep frying totally negates the benefits your meal is supposed to serve. Note that amino acids are pretty much found in most foods, but if you're looking to get a good fix beans and meats are a few ideas to resort to.
  • Good amino acid snacks: Peanut butter! If you know me you know I love peanut butter, maybe too much. Peanut butter serves as a good snack. It's also a good source of protein. However, it is a little high in calories. A snack is meant for a modified meal. Therefore, don't eat the whole jar in one sitting. :)
Carbohydrates are the main energy source. Some diets say to stray away from carbs due to playing a role in weight gain. Remember that what you don't use as energy such as glucose (sugar), carbohydrates, and proteins they turn into fat. Fat requires more energy to burn off than carbohydrate and proteins do. Straying away from carbs is a bad idea since it is our main energy source. That's not to say some is good so more is better. It's simple, balance your intake. What goes out comes back in (assuming weight loss isn't the main focus). Good ideas for carbohydrate meals and snacks:
  • Good carbohydrate meals: Pasta! Pasta can be as fancy, or simple as you want it to be. Prepare your sauce, depending if you want red or white, add what type of noodles you want, and finally add some meat and/or veggies. Vegetable soup is another alternative for a good source of carbohydrate. Not your typical vegetable soup, but soup with lots of beans, some type of meat, chicken broth, and of course veggies. The broth is loaded with a good amount of carbs.
  • Good carbohydrate snacks: Bread, grains, and wheat. Add some nuts to some yogurt, or try a whole grain cereal.
Electrolytes, in layman's terms, helps to keep everything functioning as normal in the body. An imbalance can cause kidney failure as well as dehydration. Don't think after every workout you need to fuel back up on lots of electrolytes. Try eating some sort of fruit after a workout. Typically, you will restore the small amount that was lost. After a long workout it starts to become necessary to intake more electrolytes than you would normally. Dehydration is your a red flag to intaking more electrolytes due to the positive correlation between the two. If running long distance you should intake water roughly every two miles, then some type of DILUTED sports drink the next two miles, then water, then DILUTED sports drink, and etc. It is key that the sports drink is diluted because of the high sugar content. Some companies also make gel packs that are stocked with electrolytes. I have no insight with the gel packets. So read the package and take caution to anything new you are consuming.

Adding and maintaining these essential elements in your diet will help to recover broken down muscles, and keep your body hydrated. A good and healthy body helps decrease the risk of injury and disease!

Training Tip of The Week: Drink lots of water! Eliminate the empty calories such as soda, beer (well, not totally :) ), and sugar. Replace the empty calories with water; therefore, you are staying hydrated, and allowing those calories for a bigger healthly meals. Remember, when you feel thirty you are already dehydrated!

Training Song(s) of The Week: *Boyz/ MIA- Has a good tempo to keep you pumped.
*Chillin'/ Wale ft Lady GaGa- Thanks Ross! I don't like Lady GaGa, but this song is a goodie.

Happy Running,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mind Torture

I fall victim of this "disease" I have labeled "mind torture". Running for such a long distance your mind starts to wonder. You can be in the best physiological shape to run a half or full, but your psyche starts to tell you different. Once you are at this point you feel you can't finish your run, and won't be able to accomplish the finishing goal: 26.2, 13.1, or any mileage. While battling this minor set back, I try to compile lists while running to help me break this psychological game I have created for myself. Here are a few tips:
  1. Take it day by day. Focus only on the distance you have scheduled for that day. If you have a bad day don't let it get you down. If you starting thinking how hard that "easy" run was it will create a downward spiral resulting in you throwing all your hard training out the window. You won't always have a good run. There will be bad days, and you have to accept it and move on. If you accept it and move on your next run, or next couple of runs, will be the best you've had.
  2. Proper running gear. I can't say it enough. If your shoes have reached their lifespan kick them out. Get new running shoes. It will make a world of difference! Your legs will appreciate it and will allow you to proceed to rack in those high miles.
  3. Mix up your play list and running scenery. Variety will help keep your psyche occupied. This way you won't be focusing so much on how far you are running. Once you reach your desired distance for the day it will feel like a breeze because your mind had something else to think about other than your run. Regardless if it's a new route in a city or park there are always new faces there to people watch and such. A new play list will keep you wondering what tune will be next. The same play list leaves no excitement of what "power song" will come up next to give you a boost.
  4. Motivation! I love having a running buddy. It is best motivation to keep me going. It allows you to have someone else to share your accomplishments with. Motivation can be in any form. New shoes also motivate me to go out, run, and put some miles on my shoes. Tracking your progress is a great tool for motivation. You can do it the old school way with pen and paper and track your frequency, intensity, duration, mode/type (FITT Principle). There are also online applications you can download from places such as, or even Facebook. Another mode to track your progress is Nike+. I've been introduced to it and fell in love. I'm addicted and have only used it twice. It helps keep track of all the FITT Principle as well as future goals, averages of different aspects, and more.
  5. Stay positive. It can be hard when you hit the runner's block to stay positive, but after you fall you have no where to go but up. Running long distance is tough. If it was easy everyone would be doing it (so cliche, I know). Keep a clear head while running and stay relaxed. It will help keep you from playing games with your mind.
It's all easier said then done, I know. I catch myself falling into the trap of runner's block and mind torture when my running routine because predictable. When I change at least one aspect of my routine it helps me to get back in the groove. It's all worth the outcome! So change one thing in your routine and watch how the progress will begin to increase.

Training Tip of the Week: Take care of your body. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. That's not to say all pain means you're falling apart. You know your body and you know when something doesn't feel right. So when this occurs stop and take care of the problem before it escalates into something major. If rest is need, do it.

Training Song of the Week: So Right- Dave Matthew's Band. Jam Bands are always a great choice when all else fails. One thing I love about DMB is the countless song choices! Love it. Enjoy it.

Happy Running,