Endurance Diet vs. strength training/HIIT Diet: What I’ve learned.

Endurance Diet vs. strength training/HIIT Diet: What I’ve learned.

In January 2016 I decided to try a crazy thing and follow a specific workout program and nutrition plan. Because what could it hurt?? I ended up loving the nutrition plan and workouts, I found them both sustainable for long term – I lost 20 lbs in four months and have kept it off for over a year and a half now. With my new found fitness regime, it gave me the confidence to do something I never would have attempted to do before but always wanted to – run a marathon.

I ran several half marathons in the past but always got EXTREMELY burnt out running and usually gained weight afterwards because I didn’t want to run for a period of time afterwards. And honestly, in the last 10 years or so, running was always the best way to lose weight that I knew of so I kept going back to it. Now I didn’t need to do it to lose weight; and I had a fallback workout regime for when I needed a break from running. So I ran my first marathon in March 2017!

I was planning to do it once and never again, but before the pain in my legs even subsided I signed up for the same marathon for next year. Because I knew the first one wasn’t my best effort. I felt I had a lot to learn and could do it better and run it stronger; and I wanted to feel good finishing (not sure that’s possible for a marathon, but I’m going to try!!).

This time around, I’m doing things differently. I really struggled for a lot of my long runs marathon training – fatigue, low energy, dead legs. A number of things contributed to this for me, with incorrect fueling before and during running chalking up as numero uno. I read the book recently called The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald, which talks about the diet of elite athletes – which coincidentally is the same across all continents. They all eat well and eat a diet heavy in carbohydrates. Obviously I am not an elite athlete, I am in the recreational category – but he lays a persuasive argument for the benefits of such a diet and why recreational runners can benefit as well. I’m not going to outline it here, but his research is substantial and definitely convinced me that carb heavy was the way to go. Not just any carbs – think clean eating/whole foods/whole grains/fruit/ oatmeal/potatoes, not sugary cereals or desserts. He outlines the specific food types and many examples of things different athletes eat in his book.

healthy carbs
Some healthy carb examples – beans, brown rice, potatoes, fruit.

I have further proof of this diet working – coincidentally, I followed it in high school. I did fairly well running cross country in high school, and my best year was my freshman year (26th in the Pennsylvania State Championship) where I followed a very strict diet of my own choosing. I don’t know how I came up with this, but I pretty much ate exactly the same high carb foods every day with little variation: a low sugar cereal for breakfast with milk. For lunch: juice, bagel with cream cheese, fruit and pretzels (hello carbs). Dinner was usually a protein, carb, and vegetable. I abstained from the majority of desserts and ate more fruit if I was hungry. After my freshman year, for whatever reason I lightened up on my diet and began including some unhealthier carbs; and in looking back I think diet was a contributing factor to my performance dropping. I still did well but not at the same level as that first year.

Matt Fitzgerald also talks about training in his book; and how most elite athletes do 80-90% of their training at a low intensity and only a small amount at a high to moderate intensity. Which was very surprising, but again – my high school cross country years came back to support. All I did for training during that time was consistently run 3-6 miles at a comfortable pace. Yes, during the season my coach incorporated speed and hill work, but my foundation during the summer was set with low intensity runs. And it worked.

Back to the present day – I attempted to follow my regular workout nutrition plan for marathon training with some higher carb cycle days, and looking back it was a colossal fail. It DID work for up to a half marathon distance, however. I had a PR for the half marathon distance December 2016 with a 1:38 time. But once I started running distances greater than 15 miles I really started struggling. I ended up with a minor foot injury 4 weeks out from the race so my training was cut short early in order for it to heal to run in the race, but I was really struggling on long runs and maintaining the paces that my training plan outlined.

Fitzgerald also mentions how too much protein can actually decrease your endurance performance. Honestly, I forget the scientific explanation, but you can read his book for it or just trust me that I’m not making it up to throw you off. And guess what my workout diet had plenty of? Protein. My meal plan wasn’t extreme like Atkins or anything, but it does lean heavy on veggies and protein and lighter on carbs and fats. Protein is necessary for endurance runners on a daily basis, but not at the frequency I was used to following.

So unknowingly, I was sabotaging my results with my diet last time around. So this time I’m trying to eat smarter. I am working on a balance of healthy carbs, fruits, veggies, protein and fats that are conducive to endurance running as I train for a Ragnar Ultra, which is 31 miles, but the training is very similar to that of a marathon. I’m already seeing the results, which is eye-opening!! I have SO much more energy on long runs. Although my legs do get tired, I still feel like I can push and keep going. Carb-centric is the way to go! I’m still working on finding that perfect balance, and honestly I love protein and had such a good routine with it so it’s hard to cut it out at times. I find myself thinking about carbs so much that sometimes I don’t realize I am not eating enough veggies, either, which are very important to a balanced endurance diet as well.

It’s a work in progress! If you are struggling with your endurance training – I highly recommend you read The Endurance Diet. I don’t know Matt Fitzgerald, I am not receiving commission off sales of his book (I borrowed it from my local library to read) – but it was a really, really good and informative read and I’d say a must for any long distance runner! Happy running ya’ll!

endurance diet

 

 

 

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Ragnar Ultra Countdown: less than 4 weeks!

Ragnar Ultra Countdown: less than 4 weeks!

The past two weeks I’ve had both kids start school; one in kindergarten and one in preschool. I now have 3 times a week I am ALONE for 3.5 hours. What have I been doing with all of this lovely free time? Running. Yes. Almost every time. Here’s why!

I am running in a Ragnar Relay Ultra Team in 4 weeks! What is a Ragnar? It’s a relay race that you run with a team, taking turns running until you are all done the set course. There are trail ones, there are road ones, there is even a new crossfit division. Check their website, there is probably one in your state if not near you!

The Ragnar I am participating in is a trail run so we will not have to have the whole van situation of driving around as is common for the road race series. We will be camping out in a set location with three different trail loops that all start and finish in the same location. Typically for this race, there is a team of 8 people. Since my team is doing it as an Ultra (more mileage) – we have a team of 4 lovely ladies.

And what kind of mileage are we talking here? See my legs and mileage below. I am runner #2, so I will start my legs whenever our first teammates finishes hers; and each leg going forward is dependent on when my teammates finish theirs, etc.
Leg 1: will start approximately 2pm on Friday – approximately 11 miles
Leg 2: will start at approximately 10:30pm on Friday – approximately 13 miles (nothing like running a half marathon in the dark! Gotta get a headlamp soon!)
Leg 3: will start at approximately 7am on Saturday – approximately 7 miles. Hallelujah! Then I’m done.

I am loving the times I was assigned to, as I will be able to get a hopefully restful night’s sleep at our campsite for most of the night. I am excited for the night running. I hope I don’t let my team down as I imagine it will be a little bit slower running at night. I’m a bit worried about the overall mileage.

Thus my need to run every single chance I get! I have been doing a lot of trail running to get used to the conditions and have been loving every second of it. It is so peaceful and relaxing. I’ve been doubling up some days to try to get used to running on tired legs; but my mileage is still not as high as I’d like it to be – there is a fine balance with increasing mileage as not to risk injury. I probably should have started training a few weeks earlier than I did, but nothing I can do about it now besides work hard and get as close to where I need to be as possible! 2 more weeks of pushing hard and then I will be reducing mileage to rest and recover my body for the actual event. Here’s a shot from one of my trail runs! Have you ever done an ultra trail race or Ragnar?

Sherman Branch
The trails are calling and I must go.

 

 

Summer and Fall races and Training update!

Summer and Fall races and Training update!

The end of June we traveled for 2 weeks to see family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We hit the Jersey Shore (Long Beach Island) where I got in a few runs but mostly beach, beer and candy. Then on to central Jersey where I think I got rid of my tan lines at the pool, got to catch up with Jersey friends and got back on track a little bit with nutrition and workouts (and gave my mother in law’s neighbors some entertainment, at least). Townhouse courtyard workouts for the win! Then we traveled on to Pennsylvania to see my family. We visited Hershey Park; I got some great runs in with my brother but got sidetracked with ice cream and cupcakes. The sugar struggle is real. I have a really hard time resisting it when it’s right in front of me. I just can’t. When I don’t buy it at home I’m all good but elsewhere, forget it!

So after I got back, I started up Shift Shop, which is a 3 week agility and strength training workout that progressively gets more challenging (and each workout increases by 10 minutes!). I just finished up week 2 so I’m pretty stoked to see how the final week of workouts are!

After I wrap up Shift Shop, I am ramping up the long distance running to start training for the South Carolina Ragnar Relay Ultra I will be running in the beginning of October. I will be running an 8, 10 and 12 mile leg each over a 2 day period so I need to get the training started! I am pretty sure I will be cross training with Sagi with the program Body Beast, which is a lot of weights and strength training. I need a break from Autumn Calabrese. Although I love her, we have spent a lot of time together with 21 day fix extreme over the past year and we need some space. I’m pretty excited to be doing more with weights and I think it will compliment my running very well.

I’m also running two 10k races during the Ultra Training, one in August and one in September to keep me motivated! If you’d like to follow my journey a little more please find me on IG at jodiprice55, I keep things a bit more updated there!

 

I Run For Jordyn. Who Inspires you?

I Run For Jordyn. Who Inspires you?

Who do you run for??

Last year a friend shared some information about an organization called IR4, or I Run 4. Runners are paired with people who are unable to run. The organization started with a runner named Tim Boyle and a named Michael who was physically unable to run, and he told Tim he could run anyday for him! Tim found a whole new inspiration to run and started IR4 as a way to connect and inspire runners by friends who are physically unable to run. Each runner keeps in contact with their buddy via the designated Facebook groups. There are also branch organizations, called Kerri On: I Run 4 Remembrance and IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes.  It’s about more than miles; it’s about building relationships and bolstering support systems.

I decided to join the IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes support group. I was quickly paired with a sweet little girl Jordyn, whose sister already participated in IR4 and had a runner through the group. Jordyn’s mom helps us to keep in touch weekly and it’s fun to be able to share my workouts and runs with her and have her cheer me on as well, as well as send silly pictures back and forth during the week.

If you already run and would love some additional inspiration, you can sign up here to have a match made for you!

I recently ran the a 6k Brew Dash at the National Whitewater Center. If you are looking for races for a great cause or local events in general, check out EventBrite’s page for finding existing events or for planning your own non profit event!

Running in the USA is also a great resource for finding local races, you can sort by location, date, distance, etc.

My next race is TBD – I am looking to run two more this summer before my first Ragnar Relay Ultra in October! Any tips appreciated from previous RR!!

 

My first marathon experience, mysteries of the metatarsals and will I do it again?

My first marathon experience, mysteries of the metatarsals and will I do it again?

March 4th was my first ever full marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon! I’ve ran 4 other half marathons over the years; my 4th one being in December and then I carried on the long distance running from that point.  So many fun yet painful memories in that weekend. Two good friends joined me and ran the half marathon, and it was an awesome girls weekend in Myrtle Beach (apart from the running, haha). I am able to walk unassisted now, thankfully! I don’t know what I would have done without them helping in so many ways after the race!

MBM

So those dang metatarsals. I think the race would have been much less painful had I been able to train the last 4 weeks leading up to the race. I got sidelined on a 15 mile run 4 weeks before the marathon, my right foot started hurting during the run. I was able to finish, I presumed it would settle down in a day or two, but 2 days later it hurt worse and I was limping just walking, couldn’t consider running. After another day or two where it wasn’t getting better I saw a podiatrist. Xrays were fine, it was an inflammation of the tissue around the 6th metatarsal. He prescribed a topical cream, an icing regimen and said to see how it felt. After a week, it seemed to be doing better and I was able to run a few miles on it. It seemed ok, but it wasn’t healed and it continued with the same sort of consistent dull pain that concerned me that I would be doing more damage.  I also have a pinched nerve in both feet around the 4th metatarsal bone, which acts up on a regular basis. I addressed this with the doctor as well. He told me there is no easy fix, it is from the nerve being pinched, and to make sure my shoes aren’t too tight. The treatment is either to put a shot in the nerve or to kill the nerve off.  Umm…sounds painful. So yeah, never mind about that nerve!

After another failed run (tried to do a 10 miler 2 weeks before the race, had to stop at mile 2 because it kept hurting) – I took to google. I know. But, in this case it worked out.  I researched the whole pinched nerve issue, stumbled upon some article (which I can’t find now, who knows what search term I used in my desperation…) which indicated that the foot pain I was having could be related to the nerve pain. Constant and regular nerve pain/damage can radiate to the rest of the foot, causing inflammation. It just so happened that the right nerve had really been twinging a LOT lately. The article mentioned that toe spacers could help, because it kept the metatarsal bones separated, therefore the nerve wouldn’t be pinched. What a ridiculously easy thought, and that certainly wouldn’t be my solution, I thought to myself. But I wound some toilet paper between my toes, like is done sometimes when you get a pedicure. And wow, foot pain was pretty much instantly gone. Nerve pain and the rest of my foot felt great!  I found some toe foam bandages at Walmart that acted as toe separators and that wouldn’t irritate my feet while running, practiced walking in them a few days before the race, as well as started doing ice baths for my foot at night and didn’t run at all on it the week and a half before the race.

I also picked up some Dr. Schol’s active inserts at Walmart for my running shoes, I figured it couldn’t hurt. They are wonderful by the way. Why have I never used orthopedics/inserts before?? So the foot was grand for the race. It didn’t hurt one bit. The legs on the other hand…I had done some lower body strength workouts, some elliptical and some stationary bike workouts, but it definitely wasn’t enough. I started feeling the legs at mile 8. MILE EIGHT. Are you kidding me?? I was able to push through it and keep up the pace (3:45 finish pace) until the half marathon point. And then my legs completely cramped up. They felt better every time I ate or drank anything, so I pretty much ate everything I had by mile 16, and then started double fisting drinks and eating anything they had at the hydration stations. I had a few banana pieces and lots of amino type drink and water. It would help my legs for about 1/4 mile after the station and then go back to a very very tight sensation. It didn’t even really help to walk, it just took longer. So I kept going, just slower and slower as my legs weren’t allowing much. I ended up finishing in 4:28. Yes, I added 45 minutes onto my time just in the second half of the race. Kind of crazy, but my lack of training the weeks before the race plus not realizing the hydration I would need definitely added to that (it wasn’t even hot out.  It was 40’s, very nice running weather!).

After the race my legs were so sore, it was hard to walk fast!  Curbs (stepping up and down) were a REAL challenge. We went to the post race party (not that great) and oohh the steps. Then went out to dinner and more steps. Of course! The soreness continued for the next 2 days at a pretty strong intensity and then got much better. I’m fine now. My one achilles (on the right) is still sore and my LEFT foot (interesting!) at the same spot as the right one was hurt, is still sore. But I’m icing and they are getting better.

So within 2 days after the race…I was already considering doing it again. Being a beginner marathoner, I researched how quickly again one could do another marathon, because my logic was that hey I’m already in pretty solid shape now, maybe I’ll just bang out another one next month! But apparently it takes 3-4 weeks if not longer to fully recover from running a marathon, and you shouldn’t push your body too hard and do hard races too close together, it increases your chance of injury. So…I decided instead to do the same race next year. I need a break from long distance running! I plan on doing some shorter races come summer – I already have the Ultimate Win Run scheduled for June, along with a Brew Dash for June as well. Soccer is getting started for the spring, and I will have that in the fall as well – and then after it’s over I will start marathon training sometime in December. It’s so far away I’m not even going to think about it. But I’ve learned some good things about metatarsals, I already scored some HOKA’s at a GREAT price which should last me through the marathon since I’m not running a large amount of miles and I have the tiniest bit of experience now!  So can go into the race with a better plan than this year. And both my friends are in to do the race again!  Myrtle Beach Girls weekend 2018 is on! mbm2

 

6 weeks until the Myrtle Beach marathon and I’m freaking out.

6 weeks until the Myrtle Beach marathon and I’m freaking out.

A little, or a lot. I’m freaking out because I just looked over my marathon training plan again and realized I’m doing it all wrong! I’m going with the Furman plan which is only 3 days of running per week and allows for lots of cross training.  Which is perfect so I can continue strength training in some capacity, I don’t want to lose all the hard work I’ve put in! I’m using 21 day fix extreme workouts  for my cross training, I love the mix of cardio and strength training.

So the problem is, with the Furman plan you need to do significantly faster training runs. Which I didn’t realize until this week. Based on your 10k time, you need to run about 60-75 seconds slower per mile for your long runs. I’ve been just managing to finish my long runs at a comfortable jog – I usually start out about 9 min miles but end up around 10 minute miles at the end when I am exhausted. Apparently I need to be doing it around 8:30 min pace! Yikes! I’m not close to that.

I finally am starting to practice consuming fuel during the race. Probably part of the reason I am losing steam in my long runs – duh! Tried some Gu gel for my 15 mile run this past weekend – and had to call my husband a mile and a half from my house because I didn’t think I was going to make it (the Gu did not sit well). I think I consumed the second one too soon after the first.

The speed workouts need to be faster than 10k time.  I ran the Charlotte International Airport Runway 5k in October at about 21:21 (such a cool run!) and then the Huntersville half marathon December 10th, which I ran in 1:38:58 (I may be off a few seconds. I forget). So my 5k miles were about 7:07 and half marathon miles 7:32. So maybe my 10k would be about 7:20. I’ve been doing speed workouts at 5k pace, yikes – so around 7 minute miles! And I need to do them at about a 6:30 pace!

airport-5k

Here’s a pic of the Runway 5k. Sign up early and it only costs $10!!  Fast and flat course.

I had really high hopes of pacing at around 8 min miles for the marathon, and now I’m totally doubting that and unsure of how to pace. I have 6 more weeks to try to rectify things, so hopefully can get some faster runs in. I did a 7 miler on Sunday, and tried to keep my pace at 8:30 and could only manage a 9 minute miler. Um, whaaat? How did I possibly run 7:32 miles a month ago but can’t even do faster than 9 minutes now?

There is so much conflicting advice out there about running!  Don’t start out too slow, that’s the mistake most runners make; to don’t start out too fast or you’ll die in the second half of the race and lose a ton of time. I’m thinking I’ll just start out slightly conservative in the beginning for the first 4 miles, increase a bit faster for the first half and then see how it goes for the second half. What’s your marathon running experience??

 

If you wear white “sneakers” you ain’t hip!

If you wear white “sneakers” you ain’t hip!

A friend of a similar age to me (not old but not young) recently shared that the younger, trendier folks at her gym told her that white sneakers are totally out.  You must have a vibrantly colored pair of Nike’s.  And if you wear tube socks, which are IN (ankle socks are out) they also cannot be white. I don’t remember what color they should be, but not white, you loser.

I currently have a picture on my facebook profile background picture thing (You can check it out here, top right) in which I jokingly put on high white socks, thinking I was being comical, along with my yard sale acquired white saucony’s, which I wear to work out.  Then there were a number of comments about the fact that I actually bought and wore yard sale sneakers – which led to a facebook poll – in which it was pointed out that my yard sale sneakers, although a great deal, were worn in by someone else’s feet, not mine, affecting how they fit.

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And, my feet have been bothering me sporadically wearing said shoes, so I stopped in at Run For Your Life in Charlotte to get a sneaker fitting.  They watched me walk and run and measured my foot, told me I pronated slightly (feet rolling in a little) when I ran, and said I was a 9 to a 9 1/2 and should get a stability shoe.  My yard sale shoes were a size 8.  Umm I guess that is why they bothered me, just a little!

Also, not a single pair of white running sneakers was sold at the store.  Not that I wanted white ones, I want to be hip and trendy!  I’m totally cool!   I tried on a pair of Saucony’s, Brooks and New Balance – the New Balance 860v were hands down the most comfortable – so that’s what I went with, in a trendy blue and green color (although these look slightly purple to me since I am color blind).  Voila – fresh kicks – ordered them off the New Balance site so I could say 15% along with free shipping – score.

So, are your shoes hip?  What ones are you sporting to the gym these days?

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