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Archives for October, 2010

Nutrition and long runs

Now that everyone is ramping up their distance for the California International Marathon and the Oakland Running Festival in March, remember to consume enough calories for those long runs.  When you start getting into the long runs of longer than 10 miles, it is easy to start watching your waistline and legs and admiring your physique.

It is not uncommon for people who go from a sedentary lifestyle to running a marathon to lose 30 or more pounds and a few inches off the waste.  If you want to lose more weight or inches, add other workout routines, and do not cut the calories.  Your body needs them to complete the long runs.

Long runs to strange things to your body.  You have to keep your body full of good fuel.  Junk calories can sneak up on you at mile 20 of a practice run.  It is okay to fill up on junk food after your 20 mile practice run but not the day or two before the big run.  I say this because it is rare that your body will crave junk food after a 20 mile run.  It will crave salt and electrolytes so be sure to feed your body the critical minerals that were sweat out.  I found that popping a couple Hammer electrolyte pills at around mile 15 helps a lot.  Nutrition gels at the prescribed intervals listed on the package helps too.

Getting to run 90 minutes is great.  90 minutes is the accepted point where you start burning fat.  After about 3 hours, weird things start to happen.  Your body needs minerals and calories.  If you do not get those minerals, you have a good chance at crashing or bonking.  Crashing is bad.

To keep from crashing during your long run, keep the following tips in mind.  As always, customize to suit your tastes.

  • Limit the junk food for two days prior to the long run.
  • Have a good breakfast on run day.  I like Ted’s terrific pancakes with an extra ½ teaspoon of salt and an extra tablespoon of sugar.  A couple pancakes and a cup off coffee the pre-run prep.
  • A couple cups of water and gel right before I take off for my run.
  • Gel every 45 minutes.
  • Electrolyte pills at 2 hours
  • One or two bites of PB&J at 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • I carry water and try to consume at least 20 ounces per hour.

Follow this routine or a similar routine and you should be fine for your long runs.  If you feel like you don’t want to ever drink water again for the rest of your life, you should get some electrolytes.

Runners and cross training

Most of the things I write about here at Alameda Runners are based on my own experiences.  I usually get advice from the experts but I often take it for what it is because we are all different.  It is good to read different views and follow the advice based on your own experience.  The idea is to try things to see what works.

I say this because a friend of mine gave me some books on cycling in your geriatric years meaning over 50.  I am close enough to 50 to read the books to see what it is about.  In the first chapter of the first book I picked up, it says to give up all sports other than cycling.

That is not going to happen.  I like cross training.

As most of the regular readers know, I have been injured for the past 4 months with very little running at all.  During this time, I have been lifting weights, swimming and cycling.  I have also been doing rehabilitation work to strengthen the muscles around the injured hip flexor.  After a long 4 months of no running, I went out for a run with one the local running clubs.  We ran for about 8 miles at 8-9 minute per mile pace.  That is just a bit slower than my pace before the injury.  I feel good now.  I have to restrain myself or I will aggravate the injury by over training again.

Back to the cross training.  I was always afraid to lift weights using my legs because I was worried about injuries.  I started out very slowly with high repetitions (20-25 per set) on the various exercises.  For the first month, I did this once per week slowly increasing the weight as it got easier.

I now lift with my legs twice per week lifting 2-3 times as much weight as I did when I started.  I don’t know if the weight training will equate to increased strength and less injuries but I sure hope so.  I do think that I will incorporate leg training with weights at least once per week from now on.

In all fairness to the book, I may have taken “give up all sports, other than cycling” out of context but I am not about to read through that section of the book again because it was boring.

Another fine event by Brazen Racing.  We are all learning about the beautiful parks in the  East Bay Regional parks district and how hard it is to run around in them.  The views up on the ridge were absolutely stunning.  Unfortunately, you had to get up to the ridge to enjoy the views.

Here is a paragraph from pre-race instructions- “One note for everyone coming:  these are some tough courses.  While the distance may resemble those of road races, the experience is going to be a lot different.  Hills will be super-tough, trails will be bumpy, rocky and full of roots and water stations will be spread out much further than most would prefer.  The Las Trampas Wilderness is not for sissies!  We’re not trying to scare you, we just want to make sure you know what you are getting into and are mentally prepared.  You will likely have some tough times out there, but we believe everyone is capable of finishing.”

He was right.  I went up and down the hills for the 10k course and wound up icing my legs later in the night.

We had a nice contingent from Alameda out running the race with one of our own winning the 5K!  I did not see anyone from the 5K as I was out taking pictures on the 10k course.

John from Alameda estimated an extra 45 minutes from his PR because of the hills.  It took him an hour longer than estimated or twice the time it normally takes him to run a flat road half marathon.  Carrie, John’s wife, did her first 10k here.  That is a serious accomplishment.  Marathoners and half marathoners are used to this type of punishment.  It is rare to find a 10k with 2,000 feet of climbing.  We had Laura, a cancer survivor from Alameda, finish her first distance event in a while.

Just last year, Laura was talking about never being able to run again because of the beating she took from her battle with cancer.

I have been struggling with a hip flexor injury for the last couple of months so I have been volunteering to take pictures at the brazen events instead of running them (You can see some photos here).  I have just as much fun taking pictures as I do running the events (almost).  If you ever make to Northern California, check to see if there is a Brazen event to run.  They are all hard.  The harder they are, the better the views and the fun.

Nike Women’s Marathon SF 2010

Sunday is the big day for all of the women running the Nike marathon in San Francisco.  Good Luck.

For those of you not familiar with the Nike Marathon in SF, it is one of the big guys.  There will more than 20,000 participants this year.  The amateurs are just as fast as the elite professional runners and it can really confuse things at the end.  All of locals know what a special treat it is to be running or being a spectator at a big event in San Francisco.  Appreciate every step and every runner as it will be a great day.  Finishing any marathon is a great accomplishment.  You go girls!

Events like this one help bring out female runners that are willing to train and participate in an organized race in a very comfortable atmosphere.  Whatever gets people up and active is okay for us, especially first-time and new runners.

Swimmers itch has been in the news a lot lately in the Alameda area because there have been confirmed cases of the nuisance.  It is a flat worm parasite transmitted by an exotic marine snail that is referred to as an invasive species that was probably imported through a ship’s ballast.  Fortunately the parasites die as soon as they enter the human body.  The parasites are transmitted around the bay area by birds that eat snails and than fly around.  Sea gulls are the most common birds that eat in the shallow tide pools where the snails are prevalent but the CDC study did not find the parasites in the birds they collected in the estuary around the Oakland airport.

Here are some facts for the swimmers out there who are planning on swimming off Crown Beach in Alameda.  The cecariae parasites usually emerge at temperatures greater than 22 C or 72 F.  The Alameda water temperature is usually between 8 C and 20 C (46-68) year round.  The tide pools are the most common areas where the temperature goes above 22 degrees.  There is also a lot of standing water that gets pretty warm during low tide on sunny days.

The swimmers itch is unique to the San Francisco Bay in Alameda as it rarely occurs in salt water or cold water.  The original article that brought all of this to the news is from the CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases division.

FAQs can be found here on the CDC web site.

I really like swimming in the bay but I rarely swim in Alameda.  I don’t like the way the water feels, it is not deep enough nor does it move quickly enough.  There is also something about the solitude of swimming in the bay right in the middle of a tourist area.  The Alameda side of the bay is probably safe for swimmers who jump right in and swim out and back then rinse off as soon as they finish their swim.

If you do get swimmers itch, take a picture and contact the CDC.  They need all of the information they can get to help prevent this Emerging problem from spreading.