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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh to be lean without the mean!

Another blog entry driven by an email from a client - they so inspire me to keep hard at it EVERY DAY, because truly the greatest reward for what I do is to see athletes experiencing joy in what they do.

"It has been about 18 months since my personal session with you in Boulder, and it is still as fresh and meaningful as it was the day we met. I have been working on the basic ideas you suggested, especially the “habituation” of a solid training program.

The one aspect that I have not yet mastered is what Bobby called “the fat loss game” but I am working on it and know I will make progress. If you have any additional writing and/or tips on this I am certainly open to suggestion!!!

To be honest, I am surprised that I still recall and think about our training session, but I truly do. I find it amazing that a one hour session has had such a profound and long lasting positive impact on me."

How very kind of you Joe – it makes the heart sing when you positively impact some aspect of an individual’s life. Happy Holidays to you & your family as well, (& to all of you out there that read my blog!).

The “Fat Loss Game” as you know, is the toughest one of all – here are some more guidelines, some old, some new:
· Read In Defense of Food – by Michael Pollan
o Eat often, not so much, mostly raw & unprocessed fruit & vegetables
o Eat meat as a side dish
· 5-6 meals a day, keep the caloric density weighted towards the AM
· Serve your actual (tested daily caloric requirements) with these meals; no more, no less (yes – no less)

- Also read Bob Seebohar's book - Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes

· Fuel your training separately before, during & after workouts; so when you train, you eat extra to fuel that training, when you don’t train, you eat only your regular daily requirement.
· Walk plenty as part of your training – throw in a big hike (1 – 6 hours) per week. Start & end all runs with a 3 – 5min walk. Make sure that at least 60% (if possible 80%) of your other/run training is easy aerobic (below 70% of heart rate reserve – max minus resting times .70, plus resting)
· Eat (good) fats
· Stay satiated – i.e. do not allow yourself to get hungry. Snack proactively (i.e. choose, buy, decide on snacks while satiated, not when you start becoming aware of hunger)
· Watch out for the caloric density of juices, sports drinks, salad dressings & sauces

Hope this is useful,
Best wishes,
Bobby McGee

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are you Running SLOWLY enough?

I get such great questions on my website that provide an opportunity for me to spout my opinion on my blog. This one should be of use to many runners & triathletes.
"Bobby, I have attended several trainings by you. Which I have taken a lot out of each one. I am an endurance coach. I was wondering if you could answer a training question. It seems my faster athletes do not have a problem doing their easy runs, easy....say 45sec or more per mile, slower then their Marathon pace. But the athletes at the other end, the 9:00 MP runners always seem to struggle with at their V-Dot predicted easy pace. They complain about running so slow. I am concerned they are spending to much time in the grey zone. What are your thoughts? Thank you."

This is a complex question & I am very glad you asked it – it is most challenging for the slower runners, they ARE going too fast & in that grey zone - diminishing their chances of transcending their current plateau & here’s why:

Their easy pace is too close to their race pace – a common challenge for marathon coaches of the masses. A vast majority of marathoners run their easy & long runs at their marathon pace. In order for them to super-adapt they must find a way to change this & initially the answer is for them to go slower in training & trust it. In this way, pretty soon, they’ll start to adapt & their projected marathon pace WILL go up (faster) & then their training pace will also. This is a mental skill also – teach the ego to shut up & then teach the body to train for adaptation. It can take years for this adaptation to take place fully. See if the following points help out – they do for my runners & triathletes:

· I have had success with teaching the slower runners at altitude to NOT run until they can run at less than 70% of their actual heart rate reserve (i.e. using their resting HR as an evening factor). They walk brisker & brisker at that sub 70% until they can run, or they run on the downs & then flats & walk the climbs (which brings them into grey if they try to run), until they adapt. It can take 18 months – but most can do this in about 6 or so weeks
· I use the walk/run method a LOT (even with elites) – this helps them run a bit faster (as they’d like), but keeps the HR down – they slow to a walk when it begins to exceed 70-75% of HRR. This helps with fat metabolism training also. Check out my webinar on USAT website, from a couple of weeks back on walk/run:
· Have them do ever increasing hikes & get more & more hilly with these. I start with 45min & work up to even 4+ hours.
· Finally, check out the latest triathlete magazine (p106), for something that I have used & believed for years - 12 – 15% grade (on treadmill also) walking. Is exactly the same as running without the impact & HR is easily controlled

Good luck & please let me know if this helps,

Best wishes,

Bobby McGee