Thursday, 26 June 2014

S7 Nutrition, Cut To The Chase Jack

Weather you are a relay runner or soloist getting ready for Sinister 7 you want to dial things back and focus on relaxation and rest and aim to keep your race planning as simple as possible. 

Well, now what do we do?
Mental Game
If you can focus on the positive and turn any set backs into positives you will be so far ahead come race day you cannot imagine. Focus on the positive completion of your leg or race and use every set back along the way as a reminder of how hard you have worked and nothing stands in your way.

Once your run begins take each moment as it comes and stay in the moment not focusing on the outcome and your event will be enjoyable the entire way. Once you focus on the outcome that is when things become overwhelming.

There will be moments of weakness and fatigue but if you slow the pace and focus on working through, the period will pass and you will rebound in time. The disappointment of stepping off the trail is far harder at the end of the day than working through a rough patch and waiting for your energy to return.

Don't sit down:-)
In terms of training, the big thing is to arrive at the start line well rested, relaxed ready to run. Continue to complete easy runs each day and make all your plans early in the week in terms of what you are going to wear and what you are going to use for nutrition and having everything set out ready to go.

Race Basics
If you listen to your body and remove expectations you will have a wonderful day on the trail following these basic "Cut to The Chase Jack" rules of ultra running;
  • Pace by feel
  • Drink when thirsty
  • Eat when hungry 
Pre-Race Hydration
There is no need to over do pre-race hydration simply drink your normal levels of water, otherwise you will feel bloated and lethargic for the start of the race.

You will need 150ml of your preferred sports drink every 15 minutes or 600ml per hour. Your sports drink will provide electrolytes and a portion of your needed carbohydrates.
  • Cut To Chase Jack: two regular swigs of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
As a guide you will need roughly 15 grams of carbohydrates every 15 minutes or 60 grams per hour, so in addition to the carbohydrates you receive from your sports drink you will need to supplement this with gels, bars or real food.
  • Cut To Chase Jack: two regular sized bites of sports bar, real food or 1/4 of gel every 15 to 20 minutes.
Aid Stations
"The Sinister 7 course has six staging areas (TAs) and several aid stations (CPs). Whenever you come to an aid station, feel free to help yourself to the available supplies. Note that at TAs the food is primarily meant for Solo runners but we do not stop anyone from eating. Also note that aid station food is meant to be a supplement and you should not rely on it for your primary sustenance. If you want something specific, make sure to bring it. Below is a list of roughly what you can expect at each TA and CP. We make changes as the race progresses and so the actual items may vary."

Be sure to download the Racer Information Package. It has everything you need to know and more!

"The following gear is a minimum requirement. You are running in the mountains and this is for your safety. You may elect to carry additional gear, like bear spray, at your discretion."

  1. Headlamp w/ new batteries (must be carried after 8:00pm)
  2. Full water bottle or hydration pack
  3. Wind/water resistant jacket
  4. Toque or warm hat
  5. Whistle
  6. Space blanket
  7. Timing Chip (assigned at registration)
  8. Race number (assigned at registration)
You need to carry a hand held or hydration pack plus your mandatory gear as listed above as part of the race rules so over and above that you need to decide how much nutrition you wish to carry and how much you would like to use the aid stations to supplement your requirements. I would suggest using a hydration pack that holds two litres of fluids and is large enough to carry your mandatory gear regardless of being a soloist or relay runner and then supplement at the aid stations as needed.

The take home message or the "Cut To The Chase Jack" is not so much what you use as fuel but how you consume that fuel and if you can take small sips, small bites and start early you will stay well stocked and energy levels will remain even throughout your event.  I would suggest as a relay runner focus on using sports drink and gels which provide the fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates you need and as a solo runner focus on using sports drink and solid food like the Crispy Rice Omelettes in the following video which will provide the fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, protein and the fat you will need to handle the longer effort.

Once you have made the Omelette and sliced into small portion sizes you can wrap as in the next video for easy access while out on the trail. Only take enough portions for the leg you are on and keep the other portions in a cooler and you can restock in each transition zone. Any food will do really just so long it is a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat with a little salt and cut up into small portion sizes. Pizza would also be a great option.

With the amount of aid stations available to refill your water bottles or hydration bladders you can reduce the amount of water you carry whereby reducing the weight you carry. For example if it is 10km between aid stations and you plan on taking one hour to reach that aid station you would really only need to carry 600ml's of water before you can refill your bottle.

If you have a special sports drink, you can keep extra sports drink in a small baggie and use to refill your water bottle at each of the aid stations.

By doing this you can reduce the amount of fluids you carry and focus on carrying the amount of gels, bars or pre packaged real food that you will need maintaining your 15 grams of carbohydrates every 15 minutes.

Shoe Choice
Your shoe choice will depend solely on the weather, if it is wet you will need a trail shoe with some bite, it can get slippery. If it is dry and hard packed you will want a fairly non-aggressive tread patterned trail shoe.

If you feel you are overheating and are starting to feel the effects of your effort your body is giving you cues that your pace is too fast based on terrain, heat and other factors, your best course of action is too slow the pace, drink based on thirst and with time you will start to feel better and will be able to slowly increase your pace again.

A Few Extras
Here are a few things that can make the race easier;
  • Use sports slick or body glide in areas of friction.
  • Have a small tub in transition with face clothes to wipe away sweat and dirt.
  • Have a cooler of ice in transition to use in water bottles and face clothes.
  • Do not sit down in transition, always keep moving.
  • Have spare singlet, short sleeve, long sleeve so you can adjust based on temperatures.
  • Have spare shoes with tread options so you can adjust based on weather and trail conditions.
  • Lastly all those other items already outlined in the S7 racer package.
Good luck at Sinister 7 and if you have any questions stop by the shop or send me an email and we can guide you in the right direction.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Shoe Tech Sheet

This resource is brought to you by Bartold Biomechanics in partnership with Fast Trax and is designed to help you navigate your way through the sometimes murky waters of athletic footwear selection.

The rules.
  1. There is no one right or wrong way to run for every athlete, just as there is no one right or wrong shoe.
  2. Footwear choices should be based on your ability, goals, and your biomechanical profile.
  3. Running is a high injury, repetitive sport. One of the very few established strategies to prevent running injury is to reduce the repetitive load wherever possible. This means you aim to keep a mix in your training. Different terrain, different surfaces and different footwear are a key to keeping the injury rate in running down.
Understanding basic lower limb biomechanics.
  1. Pronation is a description of segmental motion of a body part. It therefore is not exclusive to the foot. In any case, pronation at the level of the foot, which is most widely observed at the subtalar joint, is normal and absolutely necessary for normal ambulation. There is a vast variation in what we may consider “normal” pronation, and by far the majority of people who “overpronate”, are actually functioning within a perfectly normal movement spectrum.
  2. The timing of pronation of the STJ is far more important than the amount of pronation. So, a runner may pronate a lot at heel strike, but be functioning normally by midstance. This is not a problem. However, an individual who pronates from midstance through to propulsion is asking for trouble because it will effect muscle firing patterns and joint loading, and this may lead to injury.
Understanding footstrike. 
There is no right or wrong way to strike the ground, with the notable exception of overstriding. All runners should try to get their point of foot contact as close to their centre of mass as possible. For the most part this does not involve adapting a forefoot or midfoot strike pattern, although this is one of many strategies. Be aware that walking and running are learned skills and as such are relatively hard wired into our motor patterning program. Making wholesale changes to movement patterns, especially in the absence of injury, is a recipe for disaster. Remember that if you want to experiment with a change of footstrike pattern, you MUST transition with extreme caution because it takes time for the muscles, tendons and joints to adapt to this new load.

Shoe anatomy.
The three essential components of athletic shoes are;
  1. The upper
  2. The midsole
  3. The outsole
Each of these components may have multiple facets to enhance the performance and durability of the shoe.  One of the key reasons that barefoot running and minimalist footwear gained popularity over the past few years is that running footwear undoubtedly became complex and gimmicky.

Modern athletic design focuses on weight reduction and increased flexibility, allowing the shoe to interact more positively with the foot, whilst still affording an element of protection and a stable propulsive platform.

Matching shoe to foot type.
  1. Recognize that it is not possible to “control” motion with athletic footwear. The footwear industry has encouraged us to embrace the concept of “motion control” footwear, however, I would encourage you to think of this category as high stability rather than motion control. High stability shoes are very inflexible and very heavy. They are an appropriate recommendation for perhaps less than 1 in 500 runners.
  2. Some runners are pronated at ‘end of range’. This means they strike pronated and remain pronated throughout the entire gait cycle. It is tempting to put these runners into a “motion control” shoe, but because they are not able to utilize the role of STJ motion as a shock attenuator, they have very poor ability to distribute impact shock. These runners need cushioning. 
  3. Varying running footwear is a vital injury prevention strategy, as is varying training. Plan to mix in hills, trails and different surfaces, and for at least 2 runs per week, use a different shoe, preferably a lighter, more flexible shoe for faster shorter workouts. By all means introduce short sessions barefoot on grass if desired, but get expert opinion before embarking on this path. 
  4. Minimalist footwear has been popular, but is subject to faddish claims that consistently have remained unproven. AS a “mix up” tool they may be valuable, but seek expert advice, and remember that if you want to experiment with minimalist footwear, you MUST transition with extreme caution because it takes time for the muscles, tendons and joints to adapt.
Understanding shoe drop / stack height.
Stack height refers, most specifically, to how much material is between the bottom of your foot and the ground. I.e... how thick is the midsole? Two different stack heights are usually discussed: heel and forefoot stack height. However, there remains confusion on how to measure this, and the data reported by companies, often varies widely because of different measuring techniques.

The differential between FF stack height and RF stack height is the "Drop', and this gives and overall indication of the incline of the shoe. For most regular running shoes, companies stick to a drop of 10 -12mm, and this will vary from shoe to shoe. For example, the a cushioning shoe may be 24mm rearfoot and 14mm forefoot form an overall drop of 10mm, while a more stability oriented shoe may be 20mm RF and 10mm FF, again for an overall drop of 10mm.

Hope this helps.