Tag: Test

How to Test Your Race Nutrition Strategy

Bonk!

You hit the wall.

You know what I’m talking about. You ran out of energy on a long training day or in a race. What was wrong? You didn’t fuel right or you went too hard… or maybe both.

How do you fix it? Practice of course!

We all need to spend extra time practicing our race day nutrition strategy. Even sours course racing requires fuel to get to the finish line, so the question is… how do we do that?

I think weekends are a great time to work on your fueling. Here’s how!

1. Pre fuel
This is something you should do for every workout, not just weekend ones. The only exception to this could be if you are experimenting with fasted workouts. Even then, your big days need to be training ground for your race day nutrition. What are you going to eat for breakfast on race day? Do that in your training! Try it out. Take notes. See what works and what doesn’t. Don’t forget to note the timing too. Oatmeal takes longer to digest than peanut butter and jelly with chocolate milk!

2. Fuel
This is what most people think of for their nutrition strategy, but it is really only the middle pice of the puzzle. You know it’s hard to put a puzzle together if you he middle instead of the edges right?

Look at what your race demands are going to be. If it’s short, you may not need anything or just a simple hydration mix. Going long? You need something else to keep you going. Remember to look at hydration and nutrition. Read the labels and see how many calories and how many grams of crabs you are getting. Aim for 30-60g of carbs per hour, but don’t be afraid to go outside of that.

Again, take notes and see what worked and what didn’t. Try it out with bike rides, runs, and bricks so you can see how your body responds in each workout.

3. Refuel
The often neglected refueling. (Except on race day when there is pizza and chocolate milk and who knows what else waiting at the finish line!) You need to refuel so your body to repair itself and be ready for the next go-round.

There should be two parts to refueling: immediate recovery and your next meal. Get something in your system as soon as you can when you finish. My go to is chocolate milk! Then, make sure you eat a good meal in the next few hours.

Again, take notes and see how you feel. Do you feel tired for the rest of the day? Eat some more! Your brain isn’t getting enough glucose since it’s sending it all to your muscles.

If you practice this in the 12 or so weeks leading up your race, you will not only be better prepared to execute on race day, but you will go into the race stronger because your workouts will have been more productive!

What have you tried for your nutrition plan? What worked? What didn’t? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

3 Things to do for a “B” Race

We are all too familiar with our “A” race of the season. Be it that first Ironman, the National Championships, or even Worlds. for some, their “A” race may just be that first Tri, or that local race everyone loves. Whatever it is for you, it’s the big priority of the season. A person can only have a few of these each year. I would even put the number at a max of 2. But some of us want to race more than that. That is where “B” and “C” races come into play. They are the lower priority races you do just for experience or for fun.

“C” races are treated like a workout… nothin special… just go out and race and have fun while getting some good training. But what about “B” races? You don’t want to taper for them… but they are a little more important than your local sprint done on a whim that weekend. Here are 3 things you can do for that upcoming “B” race! Continue reading

LTHR (Lactate Heart Rate) Test

As I am ending the last major block of training before my final taper and race of the season, I am naturally performing a few test workouts to check improvement over last few weeks, as well as determine my race strategy come race day. I mentioned earlier that my bike FTP (Functional Threshold Power) had increased 4.5%, but I wanted to take this post to explain what exactly that means, and how I arrived at the results. First up, a few definitions.

DEFINITIONS

  • Lactate Threshold- The effort level at which lactic acid begins to pool in the muscles because the body is producing it faster than it can clear it from the muscles.
  • FTP: Functional Threshold Power- the amount of power (Measured by a power meter in watts) one can sustain for 1hr. Essentially the lactate threshold for cycling.
  • Threshold Pace– The pace one can sustain for 1hr. Essentially the  lactate threshold for running (and swimming).
  • LTHR: Lactate Heart Rate– The heart rate measurement for lactate threshold. While not as accurate as FTP or Threshold Pace because of other variables (caffeine, heat, hydration, etc), cause be used in place of pace or power if necessary (ie. no power meter, broken power meter, hilly run course, etc.)

So, after that are we all thoroughly confused? Good. Basically, these are all the same… but different. When you run the test I am describing below, you are testing for the effort level that you could sustain if you were going 100% for 1hr and “leave it all on the course.” Now, rarely will you actually go this pace in a multisport event, and in a single sport event you may go over this effort since the event is shorter (ie. a 5k). But once we know this number we can A.) compare tests over a period of time to judge increases in fitness and B.) set race goals based on our current level of fitness. So, how do we get these numbers? I’m glad you asked!

THE WORKOUT

Garmin 310First of all, you need some way to record this information. a GPS watch with heart rate (HR) strap is the most versatile tool to use (Another post coming later about that). The rest of this post is written assuming you have these basic tools. A power meter is another tool for the bike as well.

Start with a good warm-up. I generally do 10 minutes with the first 5 easy to moderate pace and then do a few quick sprints with walk (or easy spin) breaks between . I make sure the last 1:30 is another easy- moderate pace.

At that point the test starts. Hit the “lap” button on your watch and go at a pace that is hard, but that you think you can hold for 30 minutes. The more of these you do, the better your pacing will be. after 10 minutes, hit the “lap” button again but continue at the same pace. The effort should stay steady over the whole 30 minutes and you should feel drained at the end.

After 30 minutes, hit “lap” one more time and start your cool down. Generally I either walk or spin easy for about 5 minutes.

INTERPRETING THE RESULTS

Now, what are the results? Your threshold pace or FTP (depending on the sport) is the average pace or power from the entire 30 minutes. Your LTHR is your heart rate from ONLY THE LAST 20 MINUTES. This is because it takes some time for your heart rate to catch up and truly indicate your effort level. It also may be that you went out too hard and your heart rate may have spiked at the beginning and later stabilized.

Now, what do you do with these numbers? Well, you can set your training zones for the next block of training (there are multiple schools of thought on this, so I won’t get into them here) and you can also determine your race plan as mentioned before. Most importantly, you can compare results over time and see all the great improvement your training has developed!

With that… It’s about time for me to head out and test my run LTHR and Pace!

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