Sunday, December 30, 2012

Metabolic Efficiency Training.

      In listening to the many different podcasts that get me to and from work, as well as keeping me company on some of my long road runs, I hear a lot about metabolic efficiency training.
      So what the hell is it anyway??

      For me, I want to learn the science behind everything and  truly understand why to do something, whether it be in training, racing or living.  I want to test drive a number of different practices in my training regimen and this is how I ended last season and am working into this season.  So I went right to the books...literally.  I picked up Dr. Phil Maffetone's The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing as well as Stu Mittleman's Slow Burn.  (reviews of both to follow)
    I'll try to explain it in the simplest of ways.  Just know that there is quite a bit more that goes into planning a training schedule around using metabolic efficiency training and the lifestyle (i.e diet) changes that go hand in hand. So here goes...

    Metabolic training is working to make your body more efficient at fat burning, while increasing your aerobic capacity.  This in turn will make you a much more efficient endurance athlete.  Aerobic training is when you are burning primarily fat calories for fuel, and is roughly 60-70% of your max heart rate. The idea is to train in that zone and as your aerobic capacity increases, you will not only drop body fat, but you will be running at a faster pace at the same effort..still got it??
   So how do you find your metabolic range?  According to Phil Maffetone, you can use the formula 180-age, and then factor in a few variables:
1.) medication or illness (subtract 10 beats)
2.) Injury, asthma, allergies, or if you are not consistent with training (subtract 5)
3.) consistent training for at least 4 weeks (stay at 180-age)
4.) training for more than 2 years with progress (add 5 beats)

   For me this makes 180-30= 150+5=155, this would be my max heart rate to ensure I am training in my aerobic zone.

    In Mittleman's opinion, although this is a great place to start, there is nothing personal about the range.  Here he suggests a three range training plan.  He uses the MAP (mostly aerobic pace), MEP (most efficient pace) and SAP (speedy aerobic pace). While he uses these three zones to formulate a solid training schedule, he still begins with Maffetones base of 180-age, but then adds ranges to create a training c-quence
    The formula for the three zones are:
MAP: lower MEP limit -20                                              

MEP: upper limit 180-age
          lower limit: 180-age-10

SAP: upper MEP limit+20

For me: MAP range: 125-135
             MEP range: 145-155
             SAP range: 155-175

  To put this into a training plan, a MAP run, most efficient at burning fat (but low in caloric output) would be a slow recovery day, or long post race/hard run walk.  The MEP is where at least 3 runs a week would fall.  It is the zone that will lead to increases in performance.  The SAP zone is primarily reserved for the speed phase of training, after base building is done, or as an experienced runner/athlete adding one day a week in the SAP zone.

As I head into the new year I will be using heart rate training for my base building and to increase my aerobic capacity. I am hoping to continue to drop more time from my 50k and use this into my first 50 miler. Here's to training in 2013, exploring new routes and learning everything we can!

Friday, December 21, 2012

So this is my bid for 30.

So...hi.  I decided to put my thoughts in one place.  I thought maybe someone might read it and it could help them get through a race, or just the day.  So here goes nothing.

I love running, I love cooking, and I love eating, and at 30 I decided to go back to school. I want to study nutrition. I want to build training and nutrition plans and help others get healthy and fit and work toward their goals.  I want to keep running and racing and I want to perfect the ins and outs of a solid training plan.  I want to share my passion for these things through my training plans, recipes, and reviews, and use this format to hold myself accountable for the things I want and am working towards.

I will go back to school, I will train hard, run hard, race hard, cook more, be healthy, and share the ups and downs and everything in between.

So there it is in all its glory, out in the open.  Hold me to it.

So I wasn't kidding when I said I love running.  I do...on the road, on the trail (mostly the trails). I listen to podcasts, read race reports, blogs, and gear reviews, have too many (there aren't really too many) magazine subscriptions, and could talk about gear for days.  I test out as much as I can, and will hopefully be doing justice to some of the shoes and gear I use.  I train to run far.  I have run a few 50k's and have another year lined up.  I learned more than I could have imagined last year.  I learned what it means to race, not just run to a finish line. I worked on periodization, nutrition, and pacing.  I ended 29 with a 43 minute drop in my 50k time. Into 30 I want to keep peeling off minutes with the miles and be more competitive.  I'll share my journey in getting there.

I love cooking and eating almost as much as I love running. I try and eat mostly whole foods, and lay off processed foods. I cook my way through the week. I feel like cleaning up what I was eating made an impact on my run season.  I'll share some recipes I really like, cuz maybe you will too.

School is the other hurdle I plan on jumping this year (don't you love my running puns). It's pretty damn hard to figure out how to balance a full time job and school, but I will make it work. The new year holds the road to the classroom and I couldn't be more excited. Now it's just waiting on those transfer credits.

So this is my bid for 30, and beyond.  Welcome to everything between my ears.