An InsideTracker and training update
After the Boston Marathon, I took a few weeks off from heavy training, as I had been going hard for about a year straight on a 6-7 day program with only a couple of weeks off after harder race efforts. I saw a lot of progress, and my 5k time dropped by over 6 minutes, and I ran 3 marathons in that time. Only towards the 2nd half of the year did I start to get real serious about nutrition, sleep and recovery and the impact it has on training.
I joined the InsideTracker team in November, and the PR’s haven’t stopped since. I dropped a full minute from 18:42 to 17:42 in the 5k in the month of November. My training volume didn’t change – I could just train harder, as my body was primed to recover faster due to some nutrition and lifestyle changes I was making.
January brought on marathon training again, and despite adding volume (2 days of strength training + occasional yoga, at InsideTracker’s recommendation for creatine kinase) and intensity to a 7 day program, my recovery continued to improve, and I noticed I was sleeping better and had more energy overall. It seemed like magic at this point.
So I retested during a peak week in February. Most of the data continued to improve, which I was thrilled about. Testosterone dipped a bit, as expected with increased training load, but remained in the middle of the optimized zone. With my third test, after more sleep and decreased intensity, it went back up again. My coworker says I need to start throwing around some heavy weights in the gym, as a T level like that makes it very easy to pack on muscle. Good to know.
Free Testosterone:Cortisol ratio also improved, which is good, because if it hadn’t it would have indicated that I had not appropriately recovered from the two recent marathons.
Many of the athletes we work with use this (and the T:C ratio) as a way to measure training load, and if you’re overreaching/overtraining, at a good spot, or have room to add more volume or intensity to your training. My coworker, an Ironman triathlete has been experiencing similar (if not even more impressive!) results!
Electrolytes: now that it’s finally warm again in Boston (although many of us were sure that never would be the case again), electrolytes have become an issue for me. Water doesn’t seem to be enough, even though I’m not training for more than 60-75 minutes at a time these days. I’m going to start using Skratch Labs (a real food based electrolyte mix)
After my potassium level was elevated (and even higher on 2nd test) I seem to have almost stopped eating bananas entirely. Looks like it’s time to have a few more every week now. I changed my magnesium nutrient timing to consuming it on an empty stomach rather than with other foods, which definitely made a difference. Thank you dark chocolate.
Hemoglobin, key for endurance athletes (learn about our findings with GU in our blog here) has come back up as well, and this is one that will be critical going forward, as the miles start to increase again.
Overall, I’m excited with the progress, and am looking forward to eating more sushi, drinking more red wine (a glass a day helps with glucose!) and training harder. Next up in terms of racing is The North Face Endurance Challenge’s marathon relay in Ontario, where we’re gunning for a podium spot. After that, I’ll be racing that same event in Utah in September. I’ve added in a new pre-workout fuel lately to my normal routine of spirulina algae: Beet Boost. It’s beet and cherry juice powder, which supposedly helps with oxygen production and fueling your muscles. I use it prior to every hard workout.
Next crazy scary goal: sub 17 5k, and 1:20 half. As Shalane Flanagan says: pick goals that scare you, share them as well as your journey, and help everyone get better along the way.