Training Log Prior to 2019 Bridger Ridge Run

Here is my training log from beginning of June through race day. Typical week is about 15 to 30 miles of running. Some weeks included some mountain biking of 15 miles or so.

2019 Training Log

2019 Training Log

2019 Goal: Small Town Montana Race Tour

For the summer of 2019, I was focused on doing lots of races all over the state of Montana. They were either races I had never had the chance to do before or hadn’t done in several decades. During June and July, I raced somewhere in the state of Montana nearly every weekend. I did 3 5Ks 4 10Ks and 2 Half Marathons.

Racing oneself into shape is usually not such a good idea.

Peak performance was not so much a goal as just seeing and experiencing different parts of the state. From Libby to For Peck to Hot Springs to Ennis to Fort Benton to Philipsburg to Geraldine I was blessed to see so much of the state. And during a pastoral summer widely regarded as having the best weather conditions in decades.

Fort Peck Dam - Longest Dam Run Course

Fort Peck Dam – Longest Dam Run Course

The Ridge Run was was another chance to run in a magnificent part of the state; capping off one of the most memorable summers I have had in Montana since a was a teenager the mid 1970’s!

Geraldine Half Marathon Course

Geraldine Half Marathon Course

Health Issues Limit Training

My training lacks the mileage necessary to fully develop one’s running potential. It is not what I would recommend to anyone preparing for the Ridge Run. Unfortunately, I can no longer train and run as much as I would like or as much as needed for best performance. There are two health issues that now prevent me from higher mileage training. The first is a heart condition and the second is chronic problems with my feet.

Heart Condition

From numerous broken ribs and blows to the chest over the years, my chest cavity is compromised. Pressing on or compressing my chest triggers a heart electrical signal malfunction that has caused me cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation. Both potential fatal situations. Even just the simple act of bending over to tie a shoe if done abruptly and unconsciously can lead to disaster for me. I can no longer sleep on my left side. A possible label for this condition is Postural or Positional Cardiomyopathy. Standard of care is implanting a pace maker/defibrillator. Instead, I have self treated my condition by taking some common nutrients, avoiding situations that compress my chest and backing off on the long duration training if my resting heart rate drops below 50 beats per minute. A slow resting heart rate indicates the heart is enlarging. An enlarged heart does not have to beat as fast to pump the same amount of blood. Yes, it is also a popular indicator of improved fitness.

The heart adapts quickly to increased training lode. It also adapts (de-adapts) quickly when decreasing training. The heart adapts to logging high mileage at or below the aerobic threshold by enlarging with chamber wall thickening. Similar to a body builder maximizing muscle growth (hypertrophy) by high volume (high rep, low weight) weight training. Already squeezed in my busted up chest, when my heart enlarges from training, my heart condition worsens. Unlike most runners, I do not want to enlarge my heart.

Fortunately for me:

The size or fitness of the heart is rarely the limiting factor in endurance activities.

Limits to Performance

Glycogen depletion and muscle tissue damage in the legs is what limits performance in long duration (longer than one hour) endurance running events.

So instead of focusing my training on improving aerobic fitness, I focus on improving durability by doing downhill running and improving leg muscle fitness by doing tailored high quality short duration training sessions. So for the sake of my heart, I avoid long training sessions.

Smart Fueling to Maximize Endurance

Proper fueling with not just carbohydrates but essential amino acids and oils is critical in helping the body sustain long duration efforts without tissue damage and flagging energy levels.

Bad Feet

My feet have been a weak-point for me my entire life. It is probably from growing up wearing cowboy and work boots instead of running around barefoot as a child. And then spending lots of time with my feet bound up in Alpine ski boots. From experience, I know spending much more than a couple hours on my feet at stretch leads to foot problems. So for the sake of my feet, I avoid long training sessions.

Ridge Run Training

For 2019, my key Ridge Run training sessions were 3 separate runs in the Bridgers. First was going up Sacajawea and repeating the last section from the pass to the summit. The other two Bridger sessions were going up Baldy. Each of these workouts left my quads quite sore for days afterward. A bit troubling and indicative of under training. The last Baldy training day was 12 days before the race. Other workouts were described here. It is interesting to look back and think that in years past, I have done 3 runs in the Bridgers each week for many weeks in a row, not just 3 for the whole summer!

Compared to previous years, my training was much less focused on training on the course. The biggest compromise to race performance this year was the downhill running sections. My splits between Sacajawea and Ross Pass and the Split from Baldy to the Finish were each about 10 minutes slower than recent past performances. Some slowing is probably from having a permanently damaged left quadriceps. Lack of confidence on the technical terrain is another reason for slowing on these normally fast downhill sections. That confidence is only built from experience training on that terrain. With age, I also get more cautious. Over the years, I have taken numerous falls while doing the Ridge Run or while training on the course. The memories of these falls and the resulting injuries, some serious and permanent, are deep and certainly contribute to a more cautious slower pace on the downhill rocky sections. Remember:

Uphill speed is governed by fitness, downhill speed is governed by fearlessness (or foolishness).

2019 Injuries

I did incur a couple foot injuries over the summer. First was from fast downhill running on a treadmill. A nerve in my foot got irritated. Very painful. Similar to a neuroma. Backing off running and focusing on uphill power hiking saw this issue improve in about a week. The second was an ankle injury from a yoga session. This injury is still bugging me.

Posted in My Training, Race Guidance, Training Guidance | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2019 Ridge Run Recap and Race Fueling Details

2019 brought much more typical conditions compared to last year’s challenges of being the hottest day of the year combined with smoke.

The 2019 Ridge Run greeted runners with mild temperatures, clear skies and calm winds. The day before the race, there had been some rain so there were some damp and slightly greasy sections on the first part of the course before the day waxed and the sun had a chance dry things thoroughly.

The most excitement was on the women’s side as two runners became the second and third women ever to finish under 4 hours. They were quite impressive as they both broke the women’s course record previously held by world class trail and ultra distance runner Nikki Kimball. Results are here.

The women’s race was close and the final outcome came down to some differences in route choices in the final minutes of the race. A similar drama played out in 2012. At this point in the history of the race, there is very little opportunity to make different route choices. But there still are multiple routes down from the top of the M down to finish line in the final portion of the race. The routes differ in distance, steepness and footing. Runners that have the luxury of training on the course get their personal preferences dialed in well before race day.

2019 First Woman

2019 First Woman

 

2019 Second Woman

2019 Second Woman

Personal Experiences

Given last years disaster for me with cramping issues, I had my trepidations going into this year. So when my right calf muscle started to clench up when slogging the steep climbs between Ross Pass and Bridger Bowl it felt like deja vu all over again. Instead of freaking out and thinking oh no not this again. This year, I squeezed a couple drops of peppermint essential oil stored in a tiny plastic dropper bottle into my mouth and it did the trick. Along with focusing on keeping my calves relaxed by either side stepping or duck walking up the steeps, I experienced no more problems. Last year, I chewed on fresh ginger and that did not work. What is the ultimate cause of cramps and what works to mitigate them, is still a bit of a mystery. Just in case, I also brought along a tiny zip lock bag of powdered ginger this year, but never used it.

Cramp Busters

Race Fueling Details

After decades of doing multi hour trail events similar to and longer than the Ridge Run, I have had the chance to experiment with many different fueling strategies and products. In case anyone is interested, here is what I consumed during the 2019 Ridge Run. It is a snapshot of what of what works for me at this point in time and represents the culmination of a lot of trial and error and years of experience.

I started the race with the following:

  • 1 24oz water bottle premixed with 200 calories of Tail Wind.
  • 1 Small Flask containing 400 calories of Tail Wind powder.
  • 2 Packages of Clif Bloks
  • 4 Tiny Zip Lock Bags Each Containing 1 Capsule Each of: Carnosine, Citruline, Choline, Esential Aminos, ECap, MCT Oil. One of the Zip Lock Bags in addition to the above also contained B Vitamin, HMB and coQ10.

Vest and Fuel

Race Supplements Every Hour

 

Race Supplements Once Mid Race

At each major aid station (Ross Pass, Bridger Bowl, Baldy) I refilled my 24oz bottle with water. At the first two aid stations, Ross Pass and Bridger Bowl I emptied half the contents of my flask containing the Tail Wind powder into the water bottle. This is a tricky process as it requires the cooperation of the aid station volunteers to fill the bottle half way, add the Tail Wind powder and then finish filling the bottle with water. This year went smoothly, but previous years have seen some messes from overfilling, spills and the such. Yes, there was Tail Wind on the course, but I would rather know exactly what I am getting and at what concentration it is mixed at than leaving it to chance and the whims of whomever mixed it. At the last aid station, I had no more Tail Wind so just filled my bottle with water.

Total calories of Tail Wind consumed during the race was 600. Total water consumption was 96oz.

During the race, I would occasionally grab a Clif Blok and suck on that till it dissolved. During the race, I finished off a little more than 1 pack. 7 individual Bloks for a total of 233 calories. At the end of the race, I had 5 individual Bloks left over, uneaten.

The little zip lock bags of amino acids and supplements amount to about 20 calories each for a total of 80 calories.

Opening up the zip lock bags removing the capsules and swallowing them is a bit tricky. Especially when having hands occupied by poles and a water bottle to wash them down. Eating them when walking slow up a hill works best. The first pack got consumed climbing up to Sacajawea. Second pack with the extra B vitamins climbing up out of Ross Pass. Third pack right before Bridger Bowl and the fourth pack on a climb somewhere after Saddle Peak but before Baldy.

These various amino acids and supplements don’t amount to much in the way of calories, but they help keep neurotransmitter levels up and mitigate tissue damage. This wards off the sense of fatigue and pain (mental, emotional and physical). They keep my mood up and make the race feel fun instead of a grind.

Total Calories Consumed: 913

Given my finish time, this is approximately 200 Calories per hour which is the sweet spot between not enough and bonking versus too much and stomach upset.

A very minimalist lightweight vest with several front pockets makes grabbing fuel and essential odds and ends very quick and easy. I modified this one with a second sternum strap to keep it from flopping around when running.

2019 Bridger Ridge Run

2019 Bridger Ridge Run

A waist belt that carries a 24oz bottle in a horizontal has always worked well for me being comfortable and stable.

Waist Best and Water Bottle

Waist Best and Water Bottle

Posted in Equipment, Race Guidance, Results | Tagged | 4 Comments

Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo Review

This spring and summer I have been running in the Nike Pegasus Turbo. Available for a couple years already, that makes me a bit late to the party. So what inspired me buy a pair and give them a try? It was a drop in price. The price of certain styles (Nike calls them Color Ways) has come down to an almost reasonable price: $100.00 versus the original $180.00.

Nike Pegasus Turbo

My first experience with the Nike Pegasus was 30+ years ago. In the succeeding years, Nike has always offered some version of the Pegasus as a staple. From what I can remember, this current model fits and feels similar to those I used decades ago. The Pegasus has always been a traditional training shoe with a lot of cushion under the heel and not so much under the ball of the foot. The Turbo version is certainly lighter and has a springier feel most likely due to the new Zoom X foam. A men’s size 10 without the insoles weighs 7.8 ounces.

Nike Pegasus Turbo 7.8 Oz

The upper and profile still has that Pegasus look and feel. They even have a tendency to cause my second toe nail to get bruised just like first generations. Most other shoes don’t cause this. It must have something to do with the volume of the toe box which is generous. So it is not from being to small (short), but probably from being to roomy vertically and my toe slapping around inside. The shoes have a fairly thick mid sole under the heel promoting heel striking and foot slapping aggravating this tendency to bruise my second toe. Perhaps downsizing a half of size would be warranted.

Over the last month and a half, I have raced two 5Ks four 10Ks and two half marathons all in the Pegasus Turbo. The lightness and liveliness of the turbo make them fun to run in and give them a sense of speed. The lack of an aggressive out-sole and lack of much protection under the ball of the foot makes them most suitable to smooth roads or trails.

Nike Pegasus Turbo Sole

One of the half marathons I did was on a gravel road and doing a bit of per-race reconnaissance I realized that the Turbos did not give enough protection from some of the sharp rocks composing the road surface. My solution was to add an improvised rock plate to the insole under the ball of foot. This is where the turbo offers the least amount of cushioning. The added rock plate is just some thin plastic cut from a yogurt container. It worked well. My feet held up surprisingly well running a hard 13 miles on rough gravel.

Insole with Added Rock Plate

An ensuing training run on a rainy day on muddy trails exposed the Turbos lack of traction on slippery surfaces. These shoes are not intended for trail running in wet conditions.

The Ginger Runner Reviews are Informative and Entertaining. Here is the Ginger Runner Review of the Pegasus Turbo:

 

For those of you that liked the soft cushy foam of the original Hoka Clifton, but are disappointed with current crop of Hoka shoes that utilize a much stiffer harder foam, give the Turbo Peg a try.

Caveat Regarding Nike Haters:
Given Nike’s recent actions and their sponsorship of athletes that have taken anti-American actions, I realize that many consumers consider Nike anti-American and will not buy their products. You are free to make that choice. Nike is also criticized for being evil by exploiting cheap foreign labor and work camps that are the modern replacement for slavery. Realize that Nike is an international corporation whose purpose is to make money by selling a product or service that people want. They are an entity, neither good or evil, that adapts to thrive in the current tax environment and consumer culture. The free trade situation that eliminates import tariff and duty taxes replacing them with income taxes makes it more cost effective to utilize foreign sources for labor and materials. The current grievance oriented culture that looks up to individuals that busy themselves searching for reasons to be offended by America’s past and traditions represents a large market that Nike does not want to alienate.

Posted in Equipment, Shoe Reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Training Ideas for those that Can’t Train on the Ridge Run Course

The most effective way to prepare for the Bridger Ridge Run is to train on the course. For those that do not have the luxury of living near the Bridger Mountain Range, simulating the course conditions will have to suffice.

Given the 7000 feet of climbing and 9000 feet of descent, finding steep climbs and descents to train on is imperative. Power hiking up a steep incline builds strength and endurance in the posterior chain: Lower Back, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves. Descending a steep grade conditions the anterior chain: Hip-Flexers, Quads, Abs, and front of Calves to be resistance to damage associated with the eccentric loading of these muscles when going downhill.

Completing the Ridge Run without the requisite conditioning, will result in extreme levels of muscle soreness for days afterwards. Especially the Quads from all the downhill.

Find the steepest longest hill you can find and do hill repeats.

Living near mountainous terrain, this should not be a problem. But being in flat land country such as Florida, even hills are hard to come by. Yes there are people from Florida that have done and will do the Ridge Run. Climbs such as a bridge, stadium stairs, the stairwell in a high rise building or parking garage will have to suffice.

I no longer live near the Bridger Range, but I am fortunate to live near a big hill that gains 400 feet in 0.25 miles. That is a very steep grade.

Big Hill

Big Hill

If you remember your Junior High School math. Grade also referred to as Incline or Slope is just rise over run. Elevation climbed divided by distance traversed.

So 400 feet in 0.25 miles is 400 Feet / (0.25 Miles * 5280 Feet Per Mile) = 0.30 or 30%.

Twice as steep as a typical treadmill is capable of. As a minimum, shoot for 2000 feet of climbing and descending in a training session. For this particular hill, that is repeating going up and back down 5 times. The longest continuous sustained climbs (such as the Start to the Summit of Sacajawea) in the Ridge Run are about 2000 feet of ascent. You can do more and will benefit from the resulting increase in endurance. Eventually I will work up to 10 repeats yielding 4000 feet of climbing and descending over 5 miles in a training session. I’ll do this at a moderate power hike up and a controlled slow run down. It will take up to 2 hours to complete. It is a comparable training session as going up and back down from the M Trailhead to the top of Baldy in the Bridger Range.

You can also do Productive Ridge Run Preparation on a Treadmill.

A good quality fitness club treadmill typically will go from a -3% downhill incline to a 15% uphill incline. Each mile completed at 15% produces 800 feet of ascending. So 1000 feet of climb for every 1.25 miles. A sustained training session would be 2.5 miles at 15% (2000 feet climbing) followed by 2.5 miles at -3% incline (400 feet descent). The uphill speed will be at a fast walk. Depending on your fitness this can be 3 to 5 mph. Unless you are an elite trail runner, you will be doing a lot of walking (power hiking) up the steep portions of the course. It is important to train your walking ability and focus on keeping a purposeful pace when walking. If you have not specifically practiced walking fast, it is easy to degrade into a slow walk or saunter. Walking slow can chew up a lot of time.

The downhill speed will be twice the uphill speed.

Example Minimum Treadmill Hill Training Session

I like to build up to a training session that consists of walking uphill for 2.5 miles at 4.3 MPH (14:00 per mile) 15% incline. This is immediately followed by running downhill for 2.5 miles at 8.6 MPH (7:00 per mile) -3% decline. Total mileage is 5. Ascent is 2000 feet. Descent is 400 feet. Elapsed time is 42:30 (35:00 walking uphill, 17:30 running downhill).

Treadmill Uphill

Treadmill Uphill

Treadmill Uphill 15% Incline

Treadmill Uphill 15% Incline

 

Treadmill Downhill

Treadmill Downhill

Treadmill Downhill -3% Decline

Treadmill Downhill -3% Decline

If the treadmill you do not have access to does not have downhill incline capabilities or go to at least 15% incline uphill, you can improvise to a certain extent by stacking some 2 X 6 boards under the front or back. Just be cognizant that this may put extra stress on the treadmill that it is not designed for. Be cautious of keeping the treadmill stable and safe.

Posted in Training Guidance, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hoka Napali Review – Similar to Original Hoka Clifton

If you are a fan of the Original Hoka Clifton, you may want to check out the Hoka Napali. It became available in early 2018 and is very similar to the original Clifton.

Check out this review on Ginger Runner:

The midsole and outsole of the Napali seems identical to the original Clifton. Perhaps the Napali feels a bit stiffer, but I’ve noticed a little stiffness variation between different pairs of the original Cliftons. So it may just be differences between manufacturing runs.

The only major difference is the Napali has a padded tongue compared to the thin tongue in the original Clifton. This may be a plus to those that found the thin tongue in the original Clifton less than comfortable. The extra material in the upper makes the Napali a tad heavier than the original Clifton.

Hoka Napali Size 44 Euro, 8.4 Oz

Hoka Napali Size 44 Euro, 8.4 Oz

The difference is about a half an ounce per shoe.

Hoka Clifton Size 44 Euro, 8.0 Oz (with filled heel cutout)

Hoka Clifton Size 44 Euro, 8.0 Oz (with filled heel cutout)

These are size US Men’s 10, Euro 44. Although this example of the original Clifton has the heel cutout in the sole filled in with glue to add protection from rocks in this weak spot. That may have added a fraction of an ounce as typically most size 10 Cliftons weigh just under 8 ounces per shoe.

Hoka Clifton Heel Cut Out Filled with Glue

Hoka Clifton Heel Cut Out Filled with Glue

The only place, that seems to sell the Napali is Running Warehouse. They are available in both road and trail (ATR) versions.

The Napalis worked well on the rugged rocky terrain and the near perfect conditions the 2018 Rut 28K had to offer. The only placed where they lacked a little traction was on dry loose pebbly dirt.

2180370

Running The Rut 28K in Hoka Napalis 2018

Posted in Equipment, Shoe Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ridge Run Reflections 2018

2018 bought warm and dry conditions to the Race. This year also lacked the usual cooling winds up high along the Ridge. I’m not sure, but it may have been the warmest Ridge Run in the 33-year history of the Race. One could check historical weather data to verify. Late afternoon saw race day temperatures at least in the high 90’s in the finish area. Race director David Summerfield speculated that Bozeman may hit 100 degrees race day which it hadn’t in 15 years. Regardless, I think the race just happened to take place on warmest day of 2018.

Putting a Cramp in One’s Race

So obviously the warmth played a factor in most people’s race experience. Heat typically does not bother me, but for some reason I suffered severe muscle cramps that really slowed me down and made the second half of the race a painful struggle to complete.

My hamstrings were the first to start cramping as I neared the half way point of Bridger Bowl. Flexing my leg to step over rocks or downed logs would cause my hamstrings to seize up in a cramp. Taking a bite out of some fresh spicy ginger root has helped me manage cramps in the past so I employed that strategy. It would temporarily help, but it was not a permanent solution and I got to Bridger in a state of worry and concern.

After Bridger, my Quadriceps and Adductors also started to cramp. The rolling terrain between Bridger Bowl and Baldy presented a multi-dimensional challenge. My Quads would cramp going downhill, my Adductors would cramp going uphill and my Hamstrings would cramp trying to run on the level areas. My calves never cramped.

Frequent chomps on a bit of ginger root or licking salt sprinkled on my hand, just did not do the trick of relieving the tendency to cramp. The theory of munching on ginger root is that a very strong spicing tasting substance like ginger or salt divert nerve signals from the cramping area to the mouth giving the cramping muscle a chance to relax. It is kind of a nervous system diversion or distraction technique. Mustard, peppermint and pickle juice are also supposed to help. There is a product called HOTSHOT based upon this theory.

I’ve never tried HOTSHOT. It has mixed reviews and is expensive for what it is. Perhaps I will add a little cassia (cinnamon) and capsicum (cayenne) to my ginger and salt to better match their active ingredients.

HOTSHOT Ingredients

HOTSHOT Ingredients

Descending from Baldy to the Finish line was a real struggle. My Quads were painfully cramped up resulting in stabbing pains with every step on the steep downhill sections. It was slow going and I just had to press on. No one was going to get me down the trail for me. The result was my slowest finishing time ever.

You Do Not Know How a Race Will Unfold until You Do It

Last year, 2017, I had a freak accident 3 weeks before the Ridge Run that resulted in major trauma and injury to my leg. It forced me to do the race with my left leg immobilized with a brace and tape combination. I figured I could stiff leg shuffle, gallop and skip through the race using ski poles in about 5:30. Somehow, last year, I ended being 45 minutes faster than I expected. Now, a year later, although my leg is permanently disfigured, at least it functions enough that I can hike and run without a knee brace and ski poles. For an old man like me, the high expensive of reconstructive surgery and a muscle graft is just not worth it and surgery is not without risk.

Ruptured Quad

Ruptured Quad

Based upon recent training, this year, I figured I could do the race in 4:30. But 2018 found me 45 minutes slower than I estimated. One just never knows. Every year is different. Some are more humbling than others.

Hydration

2018 marks the most I have ever drunk during the race. I started out carrying a full 24oz water bottle and refilled it on course 4 times. That is 5 X 24 or 120oz total. A cup, 8oz, short of a gallon. Usually I drink between 72 and 96oz during the race.

Weight Loss from Sweating

This year, out of curiosity, I weighed myself before and after the race. By the time I got home (about a half hour after finishing) and had a chance to weigh myself after the race, I had consumed another half-gallon, 64oz, of liquid. The scale indicated I had still lost nearly 9lbs from the morning weigh in.

So what does all this mean? Well for simplicity, figure that 9lbs is mostly (not all) water weight. I lost a net 9lbs or over 1 gallon of water while ingesting (120+64) or just under 1.5 gallons of water. It is hard to get an exact figure because I also drank 24oz after I weighed myself in the morning, but before the start. I also pee’d twice before the start and once during the race. One could estimate I sweated out at least 2 gallons of water during the race and the half hour after the race. Wow, that seems like a lot! Especially for someone that usually weighs about 145lbs.

Perhaps I should of drank more during the race? I never felt overheated, dehydrated or extra thirsty, but maybe I was and perhaps it was contributory to my cramping problems. There is no way to know for sure.

Posted in Fun Stories | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What if You Get Sick During the Training Buildup Before a Race

This post is a response to a comment comprised of questions about dealing with illness and training for a marathon.

Getting sick during the training and buildup to a big race is common. Even world class athletes have seen their plans and performances disrupted by a poorly timed illness.

If it happens to you, what can you do to mitigate the negative impact on your training and race performance?

First Priority: Get Well as Soon as Possible

Second Priority: Maintain Fitness

Both of these are such broad topics that much can be said about them. To keep this post reasonable and useful, I’ll just deal with the general approach and some simple actions to take.

Common Causes

Most illnesses acquired during training for an event are infections from exposure to some pathogen in combination with susceptibility from a weakened immune system from the stress of a prolonged hard training plan. Most common disruptive illnesses are cold, flu or gastrointestinal (typically food poisoning).

You can minimize your exposure to pathogens by practicing good hygiene, but you can’t eliminate all potential exposure. Travel, crowds of people and eating at restaurants always expose you to pathogens that will be new to your immune system. The immune system’s lack of experience in how to deal with a particular pathogen can lead to sickness even if you are healthy and not weakened from the stress of intense training.

Treatment

If you do come down to a cold or flu what can you do to get well as quick as possible? Think:

Sleep, Sweat, Swill

Rest gives your body a break from stress and focus on healing and mounting an immune response to fight the infection. Stay warm to the point of sweating. A fever is one of your body’s tools to fight infection. Unless a fever is very high above 103 degrees F, avoid trying to bring it down. Let the fever do its thing which is killing (cooking) pathogens. Take saunas, bury yourself in blankets, turn up the thermostat in the house and wear lots of clothes. Drink a lot of good pure water and tasty remineralizing broths and soups. There really is something to chicken soup expediting the recovery from a cold or flu. Keep the elimination functions flowing by drinking more than usual. If you have loose stools from gastrointestinal infection, let it take its course. It is your body trying to get rid of the offending culprit. Make sure you drink a lot and replenish your gut health with fermented foods, sauerkraut, kumbucha, kefir, etc.

There are a lot of choices of remedies for treating infection. Some that show at least a little promise to shorten the lifetime of an illness are: Zinc, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Elderberry, Oregano Essential Oil, Vitamins A, B, C, D to name some. Ask anyone and they will have an opinion of their favorite remedy.

How to Maintain Fitness when Sick

The rest portion of addressing getting well, can be counterproductive to the second priority of maintaining fitness. So what can you do to stay fit while you are trying to heal?

Keep Moving

Laying or sitting around for long periods of times is the quickest way for your body to dump fitness. Form follows function. If you are not moving, your form (body) does not think it needs to keep all the muscle and metabolic overhead required for movement. Within a few days of laying or sitting around all day, fitness deteriorates significantly as muscles start to atrophy, red bloods cells are shed and new ones not produced. It does not take nearly as much activity to maintain fitness as it takes to build fitness. While you are trying to get well, keep a regular routine of walking around many times throughout the day and even perhaps do some very slow easy runs. Just make sure you are staying warm and not stressing yourself as that can prolong the illness. Avoid interfering with the first priority of getting well.

This post on micro dosing your training may be helpful.

When and How to Resume Full Training

Once you are well, you should be able to pick back up your training plan close to where you left off. Perhaps go back a week in the progression for every week or partial week you were laid up ill.

Whether to reschedule a race and abandon your plans or to go ahead and do a race as planned boils down to a blend of common sense and goals for that event. If you are still sick and vulnerable, it is not wise to do a challenging event. But if the race is important, hard to get into, a bucket list event, then the reasons for doing it may outweigh the lack of being prepared for it. If you don’t do it, you will never know how you could have done. There are cases of people surprising themselves with their performance after being forced to take some time off due to illness. Maybe, they needed a little rest.

Posted in Questions, Training Guidance | Tagged , | 5 Comments