With 6 weeks to go until the Brewers Mini, we’re in full-on training mode and you should be, too!
This week, we sat down with Dan Wright, Brewers Head Athletic Trainer, to make sure we are on track to succeed on September 22 and we’re going to share some of his tips with you!
Dan’s been with the Club for 11 seasons and has almost 25 years of professional athletic training experience overall. Dan has also completed a number of full and half marathons himself, so in addition to his experience as an athletic trainer, he knows firsthand what it takes to run a race.
Overall, his two key tips for us were:
1. “Stay within yourself”
Dan noted that people should know themselves, their abilities and also, their limitations.
“Everybody runs at different levels and just as much as anything else, you need to stay within yourself in terms of your training regimen,” Dan said. “What you do after your workouts to recover and how you recover depends on how you hard you train.”
Let your body ease into training and you are more likely to avoid injury. You should be able to push yourself to train harder, but you should also know when to give yourself a rest. A key to preventing injuries, Dan said, is trusting in your training.
2. “Fit it in”
Dan acknowledged that training for races can be challenging, almost like a second job. Factor in a crazy schedule for full-time jobs like ours and it can be downright difficult! However, people who are most successful are good at making that time commitment and fitting it in, planning out when they can do their runs and sticking to a schedule. Basically, Dan encourages you to plan out your training and stick to that plan.
“It’s important to fit in the proper training for something like this to prevent injuries,” Dan said. “That can be difficult and a challenge to do the longer runs in and around our job schedule. A big challenge here is fitting in the simple recovery. Half-marathons are a little different than full marathons. Full marathons can be like another job. Your longer runs are longer and the recovery time is longer. A half-marathon is a little easier to fit your long runs in—it is still a commitment—but more manageable.”
Dan also talked to us about common injuries for runners and how to prevent any basic injuries that runners experience. He gave us some good tips on the importance of training and recovery and reiterated the importance of proper nutrition.
Taking care of your feet, legs and back is important part of training for the race, but Dan is also a believer in that training mentally for the race is just as important as training physically.
“I never in my wildest imagination thought I would run a marathon in my life,” he said. “I was a sprinter growing up, but it is all about pace. Anyone can run a marathon; it is the mental mindset and staying within your pace. The training you do serves two purposes. It is the physiological and strengthening of the body and it is also the mental training. The runs get longer as your continue training and that is as important to your mind as it is to your body.”
Read on for more of what we learned from Dan!
Athletic injuries can happen at any time to anyone. Sometimes they are freak injuries and sometimes it is a matter of poor maintenance of your body. When training for something like a half-marathon, it is important to realize that your body needs the proper preparation for workouts and the proper recovery from workouts. Without this care, injuries are more likely to occur.
Most running injuries start from the ground up, Dan told us. Simple things like blisters and other friction injuries can cause compensation and create more serious musculoskeletal injuries.
“Take care of your feet,” Dan said. “That is the most important thing when beginning and maintaining a regular running program. Make sure you have the right shoes, the right amount of padding, wear the right socks. Especially if you are not a long- time runner, (foot injuries) are things that really develop first. The feet get sweaty and you get a lot more friction. Once you start compensating for a friction injury, it works its way up. Ankle soreness, knee soreness, back soreness. Everything in your body works in alignment based on your strengths and body style beginning at the feet. If you change that around from the ground up and you will hurt other muscles.”
Dan was pleased to know that both Cait and I were properly outfitted at Performance Running prior to beginning our training.
Stretching is another simple, but important step to preventing injury. Dan recommends a light warm-up run to get the body warm before a full stretch. Following that stretch, continue with your workout and then finish with another stretch while your body is warm and loose. This is the first step in allowing the muscles to recover.
Dan also talked specifically about hot and cold treatments in treating and preventing injuries.
“If you have the ability to contrast heat and cold treatments, take advantage of it. If you do a cold tub after a long training run, it is very invigorating. It’s really cold at first, but you get a cardiovascular flush, and it calms everything down. But contrasting between heat and cold treatment helps. Any local aches and pains, ankles, knees and back, can benefit from icing. Without any type of injury or history, the contrasting hot and cold treatment can help.”
Dan started out talking in general about injury prevention and healing as John mentioned, but then I started asking him specific questions about my nagging knee injury.
The advice he gave me? Heat, Stretch, Strengthen: heat to increase the elasticity and stimulate blood flow, stretching to increase range of motion and muscle coordination and strengthening to help heal and prevent future irritation.
Dan gave me a couple of specific exercises to try and also, provided me with a compression sleeve (see below) that he had on hand. He suggested that I try wearing it while running (in conjunction with heeding his other advice).
I wasn’t expecting all that when we went to meet with him, but I truly appreciate the support!
Since meeting with Day, I’ve run three times so far and it seems to have helped! I’m going to continue training, but also remember to “stay within myself” as we move toward race day.
So, good luck to all of you as you continue to train for the Brewers Mini–be safe!
We’ll be back next week with another post as we move closer to the big day!
Support the MACC Fund by making a donation to our team here! (More on fundraising to come!)
-John and Cait
Pardon the pun, but time is running out to register for the inaugural Brewers Mini-Marathon!
I heard from Tai Pauls, Manager of Special Events for Brewers Enterprises, this morning who told me, “Although we’ve had a strong response since we first went on sale, we saw a huge spike in registrations during the past week leading up to the August 1 price increase. Currently, fewer than 300 spots remain before we’re sold out!”
Runners are urged to visit www.brewersmini.com as soon as possible to make certain that their spot is secured.
Don’t miss your chance to join John, Trenni & me this September!
Today, 4,000 people took part in the sold-out Brewers Community Foundation’s 14th Annual 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk and it was a huge success!
The top time was 15:40 by Jon Fink of Muskego and the top finisher in the mascot division was Italian!
Fundraising efforts for the event raised money for Fisher House Wisconsin, which provides a “home away from home” for military and veterans’ families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.
For more on the event, follow @BrewersCF on Twitter and be sure to send your own updates and photos using the hashtag #5KSausageRunWalk. On Pinterest? You can also upload your photos with the hashtag and we’ll add them to our board!
If you ran today’s race, here is a .PDF with complete results: 2012 Results.
This event is a perfect precursor to the Brewers Mini-Marathon, which takes place 8 weeks from today, on Saturday, September 22. Registration is still open and you can save by signing up by Tuesday, July 31.
Read on for photos and our recaps of the day!
This is always such a fun race–a wide mix of serious, competitive runners, casual runners/joggers and walkers, groups of friends, co-workers & families.
I was part of Team Brewers, which consisted of nearly 40 members of our Brewers family. Among them were coaches, players’ wives and front office staff. It was great to see such a big turnout!
When we got to the starting line, we were asked to line up according to your pace. I chose to run with the 10-minute mile pack, based on the way my previous training has been going.
I started off strong, but my knee started bothering me again and I ended up taking a few walking breaks along the way. It was okay, though because it afforded me the opportunity to take some photos for you and appreciate the unique course/scenery!
Overall, I finished in just under 35 minutes–almost an 11-minute mile pace. I hope to improve upon that pace as I continue to train for the Brewers Mini.
As I said in my post earlier this week, I was looking for a 7:40 pace. I felt really good today and finished with a time of 22:48 which was a 7:21 pace! I was pretty pleased with that. I thought the course ran fast today, it was hot, but not too bad. There were some clouds that gave you some shade here and there.
I really didn’t know where I was throughout the race time-wise. I didn’t run with a watch or anything, just kind of pushed it the entire way. Running through Miller Park was pretty cool. I’m on the field everyday, so I’m used to it, but running through like that was a different experience. It was great to hear encouragement on the scoreboard from the players and the theme music to “Rocky” also added to the experience. I gave it a good extra kick through there.
As I came up the final 150 meters and could start to see the finish line, I knew a sub-23 minute time was within reach. I kicked it in a bit and heard the recognizable voice of Ed Sedar at the finish line yelling “Come on Steiny!” That was all I needed. I am proud to have finished in the top 180!
Congratulations to everyone who participated and finished the race today. Stay tuned for as we continue to provide updates on our training for the Brewers Mini!
-John and Cait
The Brewers Community Foundation’s 14th Annual 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk is tomorrow and, thanks to all of you who signed up early, the event is sold out — all 4,000 slots are gone!
This means that we are no longer accepting new entries or any walk-ups on the morning of the 5K Sausage Run/Walk. Only participants wearing race-issued numbers will be permitted onto the 5K Sausage Run/Walk course.
If you are all signed up and ready to run (or walk), packet pick-up took place earlier this week. If you didn’t get yours yet, don’t worry–packets will also be available to pick up on the day of the 5K Sausage Run/Walk between 6:30 and 7:15 am underneath the tent outside of the Sausage Haus.
The event will begin at 8 am for Runners and 8:15 am for Walkers near the Sausage Haus. We recommend that all registered participants arrive by 7:15 am to allow for parking and getting to the start line (obviously earlier if you don’t have your packet yet). Parking is free and available in the Miller Lot at Miller Park
Don’t forget to register to fundraise for Fisher House Wisconsin by going to www.brewers.com/5kfundraising. Great Brewers incentives are available for those that reach the fundraising targets.
If you’d just like to make a donation, you can contribute to our team here.
For updates on the event, follow @BrewersCF and be sure to send your own updates and photos using the hashtag #5KSausageRunWalk.
This event is a perfect precursor to the Brewers Mini-Marathon, which takes place on Saturday, September 22. Unlike the 5K, the Brewers Mini is still taking registrations and you can save by signing up by Tuesday, July 31.
See you at the finish lines!
I haven’t raced a competitive 5K in about a year, but I’m ready and excited for Saturday. It will be an early wake up call on Saturday after a night game on Friday, but I will be ready to go. Saturday will be warm, so make sure to stay hydrated!
Here is an outline of the race so participants can plan their race. If you have participated before, the route hasn’t changed, but if you are new, it would be a good idea to get somewhat familiar with the course.
There is a large contingent of Brewers employees that are participating as well as some media members running. That makes me a little more competitive, but we will see how things turn out. I’m hoping for a 7:40 pace which would be about 23:46. I think setting a goal for yourself (whatever it may be) is important in motivation. Does anyone have a similar goal for Saturday? I’ll be wearing bib number 12, so come find me and let’s race!
I’m all ready for the 5K on Saturday! Here’s a photo of my shirt and bib:
I’ve been training since May for the Brewers Mini, but I’ve had some setbacks along the way, including a knee that continues to bother me. The 5K this weekend will be a good test of my endurance and hopefully give me the confidence I need to continue training for the race in September.
Stay tuned for our results from the 5k and our next posts about the Brewers Mini.
-John and Cait
With 1o weeks to go until the Brewers Mini and just one until the Brewers Famous Racing Sausages 5K Run/Walk, we’re in full-on training mode and you should be, too!
But what if, say, you work crazy hours or travel a lot for business? Or, since it’s that time of the year, you’re headed on vacation?
You don’t have to let those things become excuses or prevent you from staying on track. Read on to for some of our personal tips, then share your own in the comments field below!
Working in baseball, your hours can be crazy and unconventional. Night games followed by day games. Long homestands. Travel. Ask anyone, and they will tell you that it is not a normal 9-to-5 job. That makes working in a workout a little more challenging and makes the discipline needed to train a little greater.
I don’t travel on every Brewers road trip, but when I do travel, I always plan ahead knowing that I enjoy to maintain a routine of working out. Sometimes it means losing an hour of sleep and waking up a little earlier, but it is nice to continue your normal workout plan.
I look ahead to see where we are staying and check out the workout facilities. Having done this for awhile, I now know which cities have the “good” fitness centers and which cities have “bad” fitness centers. Doing a little advance research in hotel fitness centers is important. If you know ahead of time what to expect, it makes your workout on the road a little easier.
Some cities are also better suited for running outdoors than others Chicago, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver and Phoenix (depending on the time of year you are there) are great cities for running outside. Many hotels even provide maps with safe routes for running outdoors in case you are in an unfamiliar city. Running outside on the road is also a good way to become familiar with an unfamiliar city.
Another thing that people might find as an obstacle to working out on the road is packing extra gear. With airline baggage fees skyrocketing, every pound you save when packing your suitcase helps. There are things you can do when traveling to use as little space possible in your suitcase. Rolling your t-shirts always saves space and I usually travel with older shirts that I don’t mind throwing away when done, thus saving space (and laundry!) on the way home. There are also packing solutions that allow everything to keep fresh and clean.
I know when traveling my normal routine is something I won’t be able to achieve, but with a little planning ahead and some dedication, one can still maintain their workout routine so travel doesn’t interrupt training.
I don’t work quite as crazy hours as John, nor do I travel nearly as much for in my role, but I can tell you that my schedule is jam-packed, especially in the summer. It’s also a time when trips pop up. Your friends ask you to spend a weekend at their cabin up north, or maybe traveling to attend a wedding or other family gathering.
Most recently, my friends Emily and George got married in Brooklyn and I found myself in New York for a few days. As I was packing for my trip, I included some workout clothes, hoping I would be able to hit the gym at my hotel. However, I knew my days would be packed with wedding activities intermingled with sight-seeing–and the last thing I really wanted to do was “waste” any of my precious vacation time in the hotel gym. So, while I didn’t stick to my exact running schedule while I was gone, I still kept active by turning my sightseeing adventures into mini workouts.
Walking can be just as good of a workout as running, so instead of taking the subway each time I wanted to go some place, I plotted out how I could walk between places I needed or wanted to go, and it turned out to be quite easy to work in exercise.
Bonus! I also saw more sights by being on foot and saved a little cash by needing fewer cab and subway fares.
The moral of the story? While routine can be nice, you don’t always have to adhere to a strict regimen while training–in fact, sometimes it is good to give your body a break–but it is always a good idea to keep active. On your next trip, consider ditching the gym and immersing yourself in your surroundings with a run or walk!
Heading out of town, whether it is for business or pleasure, can wreak havoc on your training plans. Who wants to go to bed early on the first night out of town so they can run 15 miles the next morning? How many of us can politely duck out of a 7am breakfast meeting to hit the track for a speed work out? I think the resounding answer is almost none of us!
With that said, time spent in planes, trains and automobiles does not mean your workouts (or eating habits) have to suffer, they just need to be adjusted, not abandoned.
I’m actually heading out of town Saturday morning with my family, but Saturday is my scheduled long run of 15 miles. (Did I mention I signed up for a 50K race the week before the half??) I also have a follow-up run of 7-8 miles on Sunday.
Let me be totally up front here, my will is not strong enough to turn down a crazy night with my huge, fun-loving family! However, I’m committed to being ready for all of my races this summer and fall, so I don’t want my workouts to be neglected.
Easy fix. I just moved everything up one day. Friday morning (today) I rose earlier than normal and was out the door by 6:30am to sneak in 15 miles before my work day. Saturday morning (tomorrow) I will once again rise a little earlier than normal and knock out my 7 mile run. The result? A weekend free of being tied down by a training schedule.
If you have a family vacation or work trip coming up, simply plan ahead. Take a look at your training schedule and see how you can shift your runs around. And keep this in mind, if you need to skip a run, make sure it is a short, easy distance not your long run of the week. Missing a five-mile jaunt in the middle of the week won’t ruin your training regiment, foregoing your first ever ten-mile run will cause you problems in the long run.
-John and Cait (& Trenni!)
Can you believe it is just 12 weeks until the Brewers Mini-Marathon? Time is running out to start training properly–and to save on registration fees!
Regular Entry ends on Tuesday, July 31st; after that, Late Entry fees kick in, so if you’re on the fence or just haven’t gotten around to signing up yet, now is the time to do it!
If you haven’t heard about the Brewers Mini yet, the 13.1 mile race will start and finish at Miller Park, taking participants on a scenic route past a number of iconic Milwaukee landmarks along the way, such as Saz’s State House, the Miller Valley and Miller Brewery, the Mitchell Park Domes, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, the Harley-Davidson Museum and Palermo’s Pizza. Runners will also run through the park along the warning track.
The event will come with plenty of fun and entertainment as all participants will receive a free Brewers ticket voucher good for select 2012 or 2013 games at Miller Park, a participant medal, a “tech” shirt and a post-race tailgate party outside Miller Park with live music.
Great on-course support will be provided with 10 aid stations featuring water and Gatorade, misting stations, and entertainment along the way. Spectators will have plenty of free parking at Miller Park and will have the opportunity to watch racers run through Miller Park while being shown on the scoreboard.
Additionally, participants can raise money for the MACC Fund, benefitting childhood cancer research in Wisconsin.
Participants can sign up for the race and organize their own fundraising page online at www.brewersmini.com.
We are all in the midst of training for the race ourselves, so we hope you’ll join us on Saturday, September 22!
-John & Cait (and Trenni)
Here’s a recap of our training posts to date:
Two weeks ago, I told you about my experience of pushing myself too hard early on in training. I warned readers to err on the side of playing it safe. Now, here’s another lesson in that from Trenni, based on her experience at Summerfest’s Rock ‘N Sole this past weekend.
It’s a good reminder to listen to your body and train safely!
-Cait (& John)
DNF. Did not finish. That was the outcome following the Rock ‘N Sole half marathon for me on Saturday. I have been running distance races for nearly seven years now and no matter how bad I felt or how tough the race, I have never dropped out early. I could have survived and crossed the finish line on Saturday and probably not much slower than my usual time, but I had to stop this time so I won’t have to again.
Starting with the Boston Marathon in 2010 I have been struggling with dehydration issues in all but a few of my events. The races I run start out just fine, but as the miles pile up, my body wears down far too fast when the temperatures are even slightly warm. The symptoms start with me feeling very, very thirsty and a little “off”. Things then progress to where no matter how warm it may be outside, I experience goose bumps on my arms and legs. By the time I get closer to the finish, it is nearly impossible for me to even approach a pace I’m capable of running and the headache and nausea have set in.
I began to experience these symptoms around the 10-mile mark on Saturday. I was running at a pretty decent clip (about a 7:25-7:30 mile), but nothing I couldn’t handle for that distance. Just one week earlier I had run a 10-mile race at a 7:24 pace and felt just fine. (The weather was cooler, less humid and more overcast on the day of the 10 mile race.)
As the route rounded toward Veteran’s Park on the lakefront, I spotted a medical tent at about 11.5 miles. One and a half miles from the finish. Despite how close I was to the end, I stopped. I decided it was better to figure out what the heck is going on with my body than to finish another run knowing I’ll feel crummy again the next time around.
Although I was disappointed I stopped, I finally have some concrete information to work with.
One, my feelings of discomfort are not in my head. (I was partly worried I’m just mentally weak and can’t push through the finish of races.) The medical team had me walk around and drink Gatorade to try and calm some of the symptoms. After nearly ten minutes of no aerobic activity, they checked my heart rate and it was still at 140 beats per minute, which is way too fast after an extended period of time without intense activity-especially for someone at my fitness level. In addition to my heart rate, the medical team in the main tent twice took my blood pressure. Once while lying down and again a few minutes later sitting up. My blood pressure dropped nearly 20 points between the two, which again is not normal. A drop of 20-plus is very alarming, so I didn’t fit into that category, but it was still enough of a red flag for the doctor.
The second revelation, a medication I’m taking may be to blame. Apparently the type of medicine I’ve been taking for the past few years (right around the time I began having issues) can sometimes exacerbate heat exhaustion and dehydration. I may need to switch medications or make the simple change of taking the does at night as opposed to first thing in the morning.
So although things didn’t go remotely the way I wanted them to during my first half marathon of the summer running season, I walked away feeling better about future events. For the first time in more than two years worth of racing, I may finally have a solution to a frustrating problem.
I am going to visit my primary care physician and figure this thing out as I continue to train for the Brewers Mini. Don’t forget to always train safely and really listen to your body.
Here’s a recap of our training posts to date:
With just 15 weeks to go until the Brewers Mini Marathon and just 7 until the Brewers Community Foundation’s Famous Racing Sausages 5K Run/Walk, John, Trenni and I are all in training mode.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, even though I’ve participated in running events before, I’m not an everyday runner. So, in preparation for these upcoming events, I’ve been trying to run more regularly and build up my speed/mileage.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I have a “Type-A” personality. I am ambitious and like to push myself, which can oftentimes be good when it comes to accomplishing goals and getting things done, but can also, at times, be harmful, such as when I push myself too hard.
In the case of my training, thanks to Trenni’s guidance, I was really starting to enjoy my morning runs and had begun running outside almost every morning. After achieving a personal best time for a 2-mile run, the next day I attempted to run a 5K distance just to time myself and establish a benchmark.
I got about halfway through that run and felt something funny in my left knee. I made it home, but I could tell something was wrong. I took a day off and then tested it out again–it still hurt. Two days after that, it still bothered me, but it didn’t hurt when I walked and I wanted to continue training. However, the moment I tried to run on it, it would buckle. Then I went to play golf and while I walked the 18 holes, I noticed my other knee starting to ache, as well as pain in my elbows.
Worried that I had somehow seriously injured myself, I made an appointment with my doctor before doing any other form of exercise. She checked everything out physically with my joints, particularly my left knee, which was the primary source of pain, and even ran some blood tests due to my family medical history.
It turned out that everything checked out just fine–it was just a classic case of overuse. I was trying to do too much too soon and, by not giving that left knee a chance to rest after I first tweaked it, I also put myself at risk for further injury by changing my form to compensate for the pain.
I took a week off of running and adhered to the pain medication schedule prescribed my physician and I’m feeling much better now. I was very lucky I didn’t do any serious damage to my knees and I’m ready to get back out there, but this time, I am going to play it safe and really listen to my body.
I hope you learn from my mistakes and take it easy when starting out.
Happy (safe) running!
Cait (& John & Trenni!)
Here’s a recap of our training posts to date:
Happy National Running Day from John, Cait and Trenni!
Feel free to share one or both of these graphics on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to spread the word and show your support for these two great causes!
You can also visit www.runningday.org to create your own badge–whether serious or funny, Brewers-related or not,–then share the link, or what you wrote, with us in the comments field below!
-John and Cait (& Trenni!)
Here’s a recap of our training posts to date:
17 weeks to go until the Brewers Mini-Marathon!
Last week, we sat down with Nicole Fasules, Board Certified Sports Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer at Way of Life Nutrition. Nicole works as consultant for the team, visiting with the players and team medical staff to ensure proper nutrition techniques are carried out. Knowing that she is a great source of information, we wanted to get her advice on what to eat while training for the Brewers Mini, the week of the race and the night before. Nicole also talked to us about using supplements, reinforced the importance of hydration, and addressed the ways common “vices” of sugar, coffee and alcohol effective our bodies.
Since nutritional needs vary based on body type, weight, height, level of activity and time of day, it was difficult for Nicole to give us a precise plan to follow; however, her general tips below are good guidance. If you have specific questions or concerns, you will want to consult your own doctor or nutritionist.
Training for a Race- How to Fuel Your Body Over the Next Four Months:
Afternoon/Early Evening Runners
If you are running in the afternoon, the most important thing to do is to make sure that your glycogen stores are topped off (that’s the carbohydrate in your muscle). You can do this by making sure your carbohydrates are spread out throughout the day. Ideally, Nicole says, you’ll want to be eating every 3 hours or so. Make sure you have a regular lunch, and then if you you are going to have a snack before you go and run, do it about 1-2 hours before you plan on running. You should be looking at a snack of between 50-60 grams of carbohydrates (e.g. lowfat yogurt, fruit, maybe even a granola bar with that; or, a peanut butter sandwich would work well, too).
Again, ideally, you will make sure you eat 1-2 hours before your run, but what if you already get up early in the morning and can’t see yourself getting up 1-2 hours earlier to heat? Nicole says you should make sure you have something an hour or two before you go to bed (such as a bowl of cereal) and then hydration is key.
Depending on the length of your run, water is generally fine, but if your run is longer than 45 minutes, she suggests adding Gatordae.
One tip that really stuck out was that, according to Nicole, to be properly hydrated, you want to drink half your weight in ounces of water in addition to 16-24 extra ounces per hour of activity. For example, a 120 lb woman should aim for at least 60 ounces of water on a normal day, plus 16-24 extra ounces if she is going on an hour-long run.
What if you don’t like just plain water? Nicole says tea or milk can work as well, but that sugar-free products like True Lemon or True Lime and Mio can help add flavor to water.
Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day
Make sure you don’t skip breakfast. Good, balanced breakfasts include carbs and protein, like a bagel with PB, egg and fruit, plus milk or water or oatmeal and fruit, nuts or flax, and milk.
“You always want a little bit of protein with your carbohydrate because it does help the carbohydrate get into the muscle a little bit easier. It also extends the properties of the carbohydrate, meaning it allows the carb to be used at a slower rate instead of rushing in and out of your system. That means that your carb can be more readily available,” Nicole explained.
When you get further into your training and start to add mileage, Nicole says you need to adjust your caloric intake.
“Typically, per extra mile of activity, you want to take in 100-150 extra calories per mile. It also depends on how fast you guys are. If you are doing some speed work, you might want to go closer to 200 calories per mile then. Your main goal is to keep the power up as much as you can.”
Energy Gels, Chews & Supplements… Oh my!
When we visited Performance Oufitters, we were overwhelmed by all the different bars, chews, goos, gels, etc. that were on the market. How do you know when to use them and what to choose?
Well, Nicole says that usually, you are good for the first hour of running where you won’t need to supplement. After the first hour, your body will require about 45-65g of carbs/hour.
“We usually recommend you are taking in a goo gel or a chew every 20 minutes at that point. Your main goal is to not let your glycogen stores deplete. You have to see what feels right to you guys. As you get higher in your distances, you can plant your goos along the way if you can’t carry everything with you, so you can kind of gauge what you might need.”
As far as which products to choose? That’s a personal preference related to taste and what works best for you. For instance, a goo gel might go down easier while running, while a chew might work better for someone biking.
And, when it comes to vitamins, if your diet is lacking then you probably need a multivitamin. But if you’re eating enough calories and you’re getting a good balance, you’re covered. The only additional supplement Nicole recommends to everyone is an Omega-3 fatty acid.
Closing in on the Race: Eat to Compete for the Main Event
The Week Leading Up to the Race (September 17!)
“Usually, the whole concept of carb-loading isn’t exactly the way we thought it was at one point,” Nicole said. “Really, your carb-loading starts the week before your race and that’s because usually before your race, you’re tapering your mileage. When you’re tapering your mileage, you’re using less carbohydrates and they can stay topped off. Usually you don’t want to change your eating so much before, because of the taper.”
Night Before the Race (September 21)
“The night before, you don’t want to take in mass amounts of carbs because your body actually can only store so much,” Nicole warned. “The purpose of the night before is to make sure you are very well hydrated depending on the time of the race. The more hydrated you are, too, the more saturated your muscles can become so the more efficient they will operate. Do you want to focus on carbs for your dinner? Yes, but you don’t necessarily have to go above and beyond what you would normally would.
You do want to make sure you have some nice solid sources for that meal, such as pasta or rice, good complex carbs. Balance that with a protein, a vegetable, milk, a roll, and maybe even dessert (such as froyo or sorbet) and you will hit your carb needs for that meal and it’s very well-balanced.
We had to ask. What about some of our “vices” like coffee, sugar and alcohol?
Are you someone who can’t survice without a cup of joe? “Studies have shown that it doesn’t dehydrate us like we once thought,” Nicole said, much to Cait’s delight, “But it doesn’t hydrate us either. It is fine if you want to keep it in, but you need to drink more liquid as well.”
“Real sugary foods aren’t necessarily a problem if you’re wise with how you use them,” Nicole said. Simple sugars are great post-run because when you take them in, they get into your muscles that much faster, which means the healing happens that much faster too. The reloading of your glycogen stores happens that much quicker as well. It’s the easiest for your body to use that sugar. Having simple sugars when you’re just lying around is not what you want and having simple sugars before an event is not what you want either because you can crash pretty easily if your stores are already topped off.”
Simple sugars are found in natural foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurts and milk. Obviously, healthier than processed foods with more refined (or added) sugars.
Alcohol on the other hand is a different story. Alcohol can stay in your system up to 72 hours after consumption. Throughout the whole training schedule, it is good idea to cut back on alcohol consumption, especially days before your longest runs. And, the week before the big race, at the very least, make sure you cut out alcohol at least four days before, so your muscles aren’t hurting.
“Alcohol can inhibit the reuptake of carbohydrates,” Nicole said. “Alcohol is very greedy, which means it wants to be used for energy first and foremost, so until it is completely out of your system, nothing else can be utilized very well.”
Overall, you want to be sure you decrease muscle damage, because when you run, you are tearing up muscle tissue.
Here’s a scary visual: “When you think about ingesting alcohol, think about putting rubbing alcohol on a wound….it just kills. The same thing happens with your muscles inside. It creates a lot of inflammation and it can’t heal. Be wise,” Nicole warned.
I talked in an earlier blog about how my high school cross country coach, Mr. Jim Kearney, had a lot to do with teaching training techniques that are still in my head today. nyone who ran for Mr. Kearney remembers his many “Kearney-isms.” One that I always remember was (for lack of a better term), “Eat like (garbage), you run like (garbage).”
Now, that is not to say today I’m always eating healthy, but those simple words do stick in your head. I do enjoy my fair share of sweets, snacks, probably too much red meat and, well, the occasional “garbage.” But, I try to be aware what I’m eating and when I’m eating it to keep up as healthy of a standard of living as possible.
That is pretty difficult to do when you work at a baseball stadium where there is an endless supply of food all around you (Hey, but I have to taste it all to write about it for the blog!). Add that to working weird hours and I feel like I’m a pretty special case. I listened to closely to what Nicole had to say during her address to the team at Spring Training and again the other day. I picked up on the importance of being able to balance everything and eat at the right times. The food you eat affects your performance, but it also affects how you carry out your job, your overall mood and well being.
I really found the above tips useful. I know it can seem a bit overwhelming, and by no means am I going to stop eating the foods I like. I will, however, think more about what I eat and when I eat it, not just for a better performance in the Brewers Mini, but also for better overall personal well-being.
I may work out often and hard enough, but I know that my diet could use it’s own boot camp… I am that person who doesn’t like eating breakfast in the morning. I love coffee, have a major sweet tooth, a penchant for bloody marys, and such a sporadic, hectic schedule that I tend to skip meals and/or end up eating out too much.
I confessed most of this to Nicole and, although she was very polite about it, I am guessing I am probably her worst nightmare. I found a lot of her advice to be very useful and it really helped keep things in perspective. She didn’t tell us we had to give up coffee, sweets or even alcohol, we just have to be smarter about it. And, I’ve always read about how your body uses food as fuel and energy, but having the Brewers Mini to train for and hearing her talk about the science behind how your body uses the food that you put into it, really helped me understand that not only what, but also when, I eat can make a big difference. I know I’m not going to change overnight, but I’m going to start with some small changes like drinking half my weight in water and making sure I am eating more regularly throughout the day, especially at times more conducive to my runs.
A personal trainer recently spilled the beans to a friend of mine, working out is important, but what we eat really determines how fit we are!
I remember when I was training for my first marathon. I thought I would shed pounds and look like the women on the cover of Runners World. Instead, I gained weight. And not the “muscle weighs more than fat” kind of weight. I fell into the very large trap of thinking that because I was working out more than I ever had before, I could eat whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, that is just not true.
Food is fuel and you don’t want to put the wrong “gas” in your “car”, but you also don’t want to be running around on empty.
I am certainly not qualified to advise anyone on proper nutritional or caloric needs, but I do know that eating well not only improves your performance, but makes you feel a heck of a lot better!
I recently completed a 10-day cleanse which included a fiber drink, herbal cleansing and probiotic pills and a diet void of sugar, refined, white starches (white breads, pastas, tortilla’s, etc…) caffeine, alcohol and dairy. It was not easy, but I can assure you that after ten days I felt better than I had in years. I no longer crave sugar (I suffer from a crazy sweet tooth!) or junk food like I did before. When I began the cleanse, I was dreaming of double cheeseburgers, fries and custard. By the time I had finished, I honestly no longer wanted those types of food.
Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t treat myself or have something if I want it, but I definitely broke the addictive habit of having a cookie or some ice cream almost every day. It wasn’t that I really wanted or needed that particular food, it had just become routine.
I challenge our readers to adopt a new habit or break an old one this week! See if you can skip the cupcake, the post-work glass of wine or promise to eat a healthy breakfast every day. My goal for this week is to continue to eat meals high in healthy proteins and loads of fruits and vegetables. I’m also hoping to keep kicking the sugar habit!
-John and Cait (& Trenni!)