Growing up, my Mom and Dad were co-pastors of a small church and often opened our home for people to come for counseling. Often, these guests were from out of town. I still chuckle today at this memory:
My mom received a call from Carolyn. I could hear the lady on the other end of the phone. “Barb, this is Carolyn. I’m in Owensboro. How do I get to your house?” For all our younger readers, this was in the early 80s, prior to navigation systems! My Mom laughed and replied, “I can’t give you directions unless a know your current location.”
My sister, Stephanie, who is seven years older than me, had difficulty navigating our small town when she first learned to drive. Don’t get me wrong, she always successfully made it from point A to point B, but with little to no efficiency. She had lived in our town all 16 years, but only knew how to get from our house (point A) to her destination (point B). The problem occurred when she had more than one...
When Dean completed his first Ironman race in 2013, he was having his perfect race... until he wasn’t. He was on pace to Kona Qualify until the proverbial 16th mile of the marathon. At that point he bonked. I was a bit shocked, as I’ve been watching him race since middle school. This guy is always prepared and always implements his race plan with precision.
As with any good wife , I congratulated him and celebrated at the finish line. But as a coach, I had questions. After letting him bask in the glory of completing his first Ironman and giving him a day or two to recover and self-reflect, I could wait no longer. “So, Babe, typically when an athlete bonks, it’s related to execution. Have you thought about a root cause?” Over bike? No. Bike nutrition? Executed to a T. Pace too aggressive at beginning of run? No. Run nutrition? “I wasn’t hungry on the run...”. Wait. What?
Ironman is quite the long endurance event, so...
As athletes, sorting out how to properly fuel requires much research and experimentation. Many of our athletes not only seek guidance with training, but also with nutrition. While neither of us are certified dietitians, we have done our research and provide resources and guidance in helping athletes properly fuel on a daily basis.
If you have tried to solve the nutrition equation on your own, then you perhaps have read many authors with varying ideas such as Matt Fitzgerald, Scott Jurek, Shalane Flanagan, Jeff Galloway, Stacy Sims, etc.
Many of these authors are fabulous, and with each book we’ve read, we add ideas and tools to our arsenal that help us find the right nutritional balance to properly fuel ourselves and each athlete.
Many of these books offer recipes, recommended macros per pound or kilogram of body weight, variations depending on body type, and a myriad of additional information. Most of these books also...
Sometimes what first seems like a great idea turns out to be far less than ideal.
Paula and I live in western Kentucky. It is a beautiful area with lots of colors. We experience all four seasons with lows in single digits and highs near 100. We often have high humidity, so the heat index exceeds 100 for weeks at a time. However, where we live is relatively flat.
Paula heard about the Revel Mt Hood Marathon outside of Portland, Oregon. The race starts on a mountain and works its way down a 6% grade for the first 6 miles. Then it eases off but is still downhill for most of the race. We thought this would be great to try. We searched around our town for long hills but found very few. We trained on what we found.
When we arrived in Oregon, we drove to the race start to get a sense of the incline. It was shocking! It was hard to walk on much less run on. The road was fine. The scenery was beautiful. But the grade was brutal.
When the race started, I took off at my target marathon...
When you decide to compete in an endurance event, you typically find a plan or build a plan. Paula and I remove this stress and responsibly from our team members. However, instead of laying out the entire training cycle, we focus on one or two weeks at a time. The benefit of this method is that the plan will evolve based on the athlete’s fitness, health, and life events.
Endurance athletes are committed individuals. As you know, our hobby is far from easy and that’s one of the reasons we enjoy it so much. Being committed to a training plan can cause problems. We encourage our athletes to “get to the starting line healthy”. We need to see how you respond to training in order to map out the next set of workouts to maximize potential with a priority on getting to the starting line healthy. Some athletes may determine that if they can’t break a certain time, they prefer not to even...
Endurance athletes are unique individuals. We push ourselves hard. We sometimes feel guilty when we don’t train. We enjoy setting goals and pushing our limits. For an endurance athlete, the opportunities to compete throughout a year may be few. For Ironman athletes or marathoners, two events per year are typically the max. Competing in shorter events offers many more opportunities. But we all need time to allow our bodies and minds to absorb the efforts and come back stronger.
If you are planning to attend one or two events per year, the anticipation and excitement can be overwhelming at times. Day after day you increase your fitness. When race day arrives, you are full of nervous energy. You probably toss and turn most of the night before.
At larger events, you may go to an expo the day before. If, like me, you come from a small town in Kentucky, walking around an expo and seeing all the...