Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dance like no one is watching..

I'll start this blog off with a familiar quote:

"Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt,sing like no one is listening,and live like it's heaven on earth."- William Purkey

Picture this: a girl, sitting in the canyon, ice bathing, doing a complete dance rendition of the YMCA that's blasting on her shuffle. That was me today! A glorious day it was.. I was utterly and completely dancing like no one was watching.

I read a few blogs this week where the writer talked about bonking. One totally and utterly bonked, and the other one saved herself with some random fuel she forgot about.

Fueling on the run is an interesting topic. I find it is one of the most important aspects of ultra running that can make or break your race. Yet, I hear stories of experienced runners who still make rookie errors. A lady I coach went for a 21 mile training run and had a horrible experience. She blamed it all on her poor nutrition and alcohol consumption from the night before. A couple days later I asked her what she ate on that run and she said "3 sport beans". WHAT!!!!? 3 sport beans!!!!???? I am sure if she had fueled correctly, she would've been fine (alcohol and all)!

As one becomes more experienced they learn what they need in terms of fuel. I have done enough races to know how much I need on an intense effort and how much I need during a training run. For myself, I know exactly what a bonk feels like, when one is coming on, and how to recover from it. I have been there and done that before...and it sucks!

I went for a 3 hour run today and my stomach was just jostling all over the place. I felt like I was fueling accordingly but I think I was just hungrier than normal. Lot's of things can play on how much fuel I need on the run..
- If I had breakfast and how much...big breakfast = less food on the run.
- Time of day. I find I am more hungry on a morning run than an afternoon or night.
- Fueling the day before. Sometimes if I have a big dinner, I am less hungry on a morning run for example.
- Intensity- If I am working harder I need more calories over a long period of time.

Somewhere along the way people headed into this "train your body not to need a lot of calories". Now, I am not saying I don't think this can work for some, but I can guarantee it won't work for all. Also, somedays you can get away with not a lot of fuel and somedays you cant. I am also not sure of the long term effects of depriving your body what it needs (change metabolism?).

My theory: When I go out on a long run, I pack what I think I will need plus a bit more. Sometimes I use less, and sometimes I need it all. Again, it all depends on the day. There is no reason to bonk. Today, I headed for a bonk and reached into my camelbak for my last gel (which was an extra) and it took me out of the depths of wooziness and allowed me to run strong for another 30 minutes. Today, I almost did a little experiment. I was going to ride with the bonk and she if I could make it the rest of the way in that state. But, then I realized I would be much better off, downing the last gel, and finishing the run strong. That was a much smarter decision and I even added on extra time because I felt so good.

Think about that the next time you are close to the end of a run and you are tired and feel like crap because you are underfueled. Even if you are 20 or 30 minutes from the end point, if you have fuel, take it! I am sure you will finish a lot stronger than if you didn't.

My last point- I think sometimes we are afraid to take in extra 'calories'. I know I have been in this state of mine before. You go for a couple hour run or longer and the thought of taking in 500 calories in fuel seems like A LOT. Listen up, you probably burned over 2000 calories and I am sure your body will appreciate the extra fuel to keep the legs working optimally.

Anywho, that is just my two cents. Tomorrow is Friday and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend of running!!!!!

See you in the trails.


Sara Montgomery said...

Love this post, Nicola. Makes so much sense to me!

Kaz said...

Totally agree - who wants to feel that exhausted state. I'm like you -I pack extra - I probably end up carrying a ridiculous amount of stuff, but what a great feeling when you're hanging out and finding an extra wee bar/treat that granted, is probably past its sell by date, but gives you sugar none the less!

As for taking on extra calories - how many do you snarfle up when you get home after bonking - ten times more than if you don't go into that state I'm sure!

Oh and I also agree about the train your body to need less - isn't that what they say is bad about dieting - nope I'd rather have a fast metabolism thanks and carry a few extra bits and bobs.

Loving your blog,


SteveQ said...

"Dance like no one's shooting at your feet, love like it's not being videotaped, sing like a gangland stool pigeon and live like you claim you do on your blog."

I never got the hang of fueling on the run. I've tried everything, I think, but the results are always the same... I love the study of what Yiannis Kouros ate when running a 6 Day race; he ate exactly the number of calories burned. That's amazing.

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

Shouldn't that be, dance like someone is shooting at your feet?? If no one is shooting at my feet, I don;t think I would be moving them as fast!!!

Taking in the same number as burned...hmmm...amazing. He must be an anomaly!!!