Friday, July 6, 2012

Lesson Learned: Do What You Know Works

I often refer back to 2009 when I ran my three 100-milers and some would say: "You're not a 100-miler anymore. You haven't done anymore." To them, I say hogwash. But that's another conversation. I refer back often because I was a guinea pig back then...trying out new things, pushing myself in training like never before, and wrapping up that 3rd 100-miler with an injury...for the last 80 miles of the race. I took myself to the edge...and then some. I learned soooooo much that year...about ultra running and myself. It was probably the best year of my life...but I'm trying to top that in 2012. :-)

This post is about something I learned in recovery. At the peak of my training, I ran back-to-back 30-milers. I would hit the trails for 30 on Friday and again on Saturday. Nearly every time, the 2nd 30 was stronger, faster, and easier. Back then, I attributed it to what I did within the first half hour post-run. After such an exhaustive run, the body is all-but-audibly SCREAMING for fuel. Imagine fly-catchers wide open, reaching upward without closing. Those muscles are just dying for rebuilding fuel. The ticket, for me, was taking in Hammer Nutrition's "Recoverite." This all-natural, gluten-free stuff rebuilds muscle tissue, restores muscle glycogen, and supplies the body with the proper 3:1 ratio of complex carbohydrates and the highest quality whey protein. It also contains a whoppin' 3 grams per serving of glutamine which is the key "recovery amino acid that 1) helps boost the immune system, 2) helps to reduce the symptoms of overtraining, 3) plays a role in enhancing glycogen synthesis and 4) stimulates muscle protein synthesis for the rebuilding of lean muscle tissue. So, two scoops of this powder mixed with water or any favorite liquid (my personal favorite is the Chocolate flavor mixed with super cold chocolate milk) within 15min of finishing is the key to it all. Of course, hydration and nutrition also play a key role.

Rewind 6 days: Run Between the Suns 12hr Endurance Run. I only made it 7hrs, 14min and 30 miles and guess what, I had Recoverite with me. Yes...with me. My wife even asked me afterwards: "You going to take your Recoverite? I'll get it for you." Nope. Dumb me. STUPID me. I wasn't hurt last Saturday. I had no aches and pains. I was simply parched. I was still sore on TUESDAY. No excuse for that at all. Not sore like I can't walk down stairs, but sore in that I felt it still. On July 4th, I still felt some remnants of the soft, trail run but still hit the streets (concrete and asphalt) in Brooks' minimalist Pure Connects. Mind you...I'm a 205lb, 6'2" guy running atop 7.2oz shoes with only a 4mm drop between me and the earth. You'd think I would take a physical beating on that 20 miler I did in the heat and you'd be right! But this time, I wised up and had my wife bring cold milk to the parade and the Recoverite. I chugged that baby down within 10min of finishing. The result was a day later filled with the desire to do it all again. No soreness and no indication I ran a step on July 4th. No one can convince me that Recoverite is not responsible for so much. I have benefited from it countless times and count on it.

So please...do what you know works and do it often. Experiment, try new things, listen to others, train like you'll race when it comes to nutrition and when race day comes, stick to your plan. Do what works.

Happy Trails and Happy Recovery!

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