Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Recovering well

I know it's Saturday and it's likely that not many people will read this post, but I wanted to post anyway. I've missed the past couple days because I was so too darn busy with work (these posts don't take 10 minutes to get written!).

I had a pair of great short runs Wednesday and Thursday and they spawned this idea of how my body has recovered so quickly from last Saturday's 6 hour race. I logged 6 miles Wednesday and 7 on Thursday and I felt so light on my feet. This certainly means that the new shoes aren't inhibiting my running, but I think it just comes down to excellent recovery. But there is something that I can't ignore that has surprised me this week. I'll get back to this shortly.

So maybe you haven't heard that sleep is extremely important in aiding and even allowing the body (muscles) to recover from physical stress which can be caused by anything from weightlifting to running to any other serious physical activity you engage in. If you haven't heard this then it has to be because you've been engaged in the activity for far too long....WAKE UP! Okay, kidding. But seriously. This talk of sleeping to recovery well has been in the sports news for a while now and it's not losing steam.

Check out some online articles here. And here (scroll halfway down to find when they start discussing sleep). Here.

There's even a journal abstract I came across that focused on the effects of protein ingested directly before nighttime sleep. The protein, unfortunately, was casein protein which comes from dairy milk, but I think protein from nuts would help just the same. In Rich Roll's book, Finding Ultra, he mentions that he eats a few brazil nuts before bed to assit  in testosterone production, but the ultra athlete that he is, I would bet that this protein ingestion before bed aids in his overnight recovery as well.

         Brazil Nuts (click here for nutrition info)                                  Rich Roll

Anyway...let me get back to what I was saying.

So what surprised me about my ability to go 7 minutes/mile for a few miles on Wednesday and then get down to 6:35/mile for a few miles on Thursday was the fact that I have been going to bed much later than usual. I mean I have not gone to bed before 12 midnight all week--which is a streak I haven't seen since freshman year of college--and I have been waking up at 6:15. So this would seem to contradict the sleep-to-recover theory, right? Not even close.

One: such lack of sleep and ability to perform well in your fitness exercise of choice is just not sustainable. I wouldn't be able to keep this trend going for more than a week and I don't intend to do so either. Two: I believe nutrition has saved me. And I don't mean eating a vegan diet.

For starters, this past week I have eaten more salads than I've eaten in the last couple months (horrible, I know) and I truly believe the nutrients I was putting into my body have helped a lot in my recovery process. I also can't rule out that my reduction (not elimination) of packaged-processed foods and my intake of tart cherry juice concentrate just might have shown what they are truly capable of: for me, prepping my body for optimal performance. Despite the lack of sleep, my energy throughout the day has been pretty decent and my runs and swims have been great as well. I see no choice, but to credit proper nutrition for my body's ability to combat not only the stress of the ultra last week, but the loss of sleep hours. Do I recommend sleeping less? Absolutely not. I am merely stating my thoughts on the power of proper nutrition.

Now I am off for my first run over an hour all week. Wish me luck!

Happy Running and have a good weekend!

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