I recently spoke with, and put some materials together for a running group training for either a half or a full marathon. Since I am also a runner, and get all geeked up excited about this stuff, I thought I would share some handy tips!
There is soooooo much information that it is always hard to know where to begin, but I am basically just going to throw out a few tips that can be beneficial for ALL. Especially those of you who are exercising regularly/participating in endurance activities/building muscles/doing physical labor…etc. But also for those of you still thinking about it!
Humans have a very un-evolved mechanism as an indicator for hydrating ourselves…thirst. By the time we feel thirsty, we are already marginally dehydrated. Therefore it is very important to always (whether you are super active or a couch potato) drink water on a schedule. 64 ounces per day, not including replacement fluids needed from sweat water losses.
Figure out a system for yourself that works, and just do it! Whether you want to fill up a 32 ounce water bottle twice daily and tote it around with you, or start your day off taking 8 little 2 ounce shots of water while taking vitamins (Mom…he he he) to knock out the first fourth of your hydration j.o.b. Or any other multitude of “tricks”. Just play around with what works for you!
During endurance activities aim for 2-8 “gulps” every 15-20 minutes. Choose water or a sports drink depending upon duration of activity and personal preference.
Drinking carbohydrate containing beverages during intense exercise (as well as before and after) appears to lessen the effect of stress hormones on the immune system.
Refueling after Training
The first 30 minutes following every training session is the MOST important window to refuel for optimal recovery! This is when your cells will be most receptive to restocking glycogen stores, and your muscles are hungry for fuel to repair tissues.
Refueling properly will enhance future performance, decrease soreness, decrease risk of injury, and improve immune function!
Refuel with fast (potatoes, rice grains) and slow (fruit and fruit juices) release carbohydrates as well as a good protein source that also provides high amounts of Branch Chain Amino Acids (egg whites, lean meats).
Day before Event/Activity/Sport
Keep it simple. No new foods, drinks, exercises, etc.
Graze throughout the day in order to avoid having to stuff yourself in the evening.
Have a healthy beverage with every meal without overloading on plain water.
Avoid gassy foods – beans, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, high fiber raw fruits and vegetables, bran cereals, nuts and seeds, sugar substitutes, and alcohol.
Eat or drink a bedtime snack in order to squeeze in a few more calories and help you to sleep better.
Day of Said Activity/Event/Sport
Include some protein and fat if you tolerate it well in order to feel satisfied longer.
Include ample fluids with your meal. Two cups of fluid two hours before exercise and one cup as close to time of activity as practical.
Liquid meals (breakfast shakes, high carbohydrate sports drinks, meal replacement beverages) are usually well tolerated when consumed up to 1-2 hours before event.
Some of these tips are obviously geared towards endurance events, but can definitely be applied in other areas as well.
Remember that our bodies adjust to and build endurance for the activities that we DO. So practice and train your body for what you want it to be able to do. Don’t assume that because you have mastered the half marathon, that you can jump on a bike and race for 25 miles without practice in that area of fitness.
A more typical example:
You work out for 30 minutes every day at the gym, but when you are late for a meeting and have to sprint up 2 flights of stairs you find yourself winded for 5 minutes and sore the next day!
This is very normal and a testament to both the importance of the psychological preparation for exercise that our mind engages in before we set off, as well as the physical training needed in many different areas in order to “keep up”!
Eat Well, Stay Fit, and Be Happy! Have a great week J