Inside Tracker – Optimize Health, Wellness, Performance

product review, Running, Training Tips

InsideTracker reached out to me a few months ago for a collaboration and I think when I saw the DM in my mailbox I basically SCREAMED FOR JOY! I have been so interested in their product but being in the practioner in the medical field I rarely find the time to focus on my own health as I am always focusing on everyone else’s – hence the “months go” part. I discussed with InsideTracker that I was interested in comparing the “medical way” your PCP approaches your health care vs what inside tracker gives you and they were 100% on board. So lets get started.

BACKGROUND ON INSIDE TRACKER

What is InsideTracker?

  • InsideTracker is a company that analyzes your blood test and physiological data and uses the results to form a simple, natural and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle recommendation in order to optimize your performance and well being.

What is the Process:

  • You purchase InsideTracker online on their website and you then are sent a slip to print to take to Quest Diagnostics. You can generally make an apt online so you dont wait forever. You want to do it first thing in the morning because its a fasting test. This is important because alot of the labs they are checking are fasting dependent. Once you go to the lab they draw about 6-10 vials of blood and send them off to InsideTracker. InsideTracker has their physician team analyze the labs and you are sent your InsideTracker results within 5-7 Days. Once you get the results inside tracker gives you the lab value and if you were high, low, optimal, or normal and different foods to improve your labs and the science behind it. Additionally you can create different grocery lists to help plan which foods to buy from the recommendations based on your dietary preferences as well as a create a targeted plan to improve your valures in 6-10 weeks.

What Type of Tests does InsideTracker Perform?

  • InsideTracker has 4 Main Plans and you can also do a DIY Plan if you are looking for followup on your first test or just want specific labs checked.
  • The 4 Main Plan range from the Ultimate with 42 Biomarkers for $589 to the Essential with 12 BioMarkers for $189.

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How is InsideTracker Different from Your Doctor’s Bloodwork?

  • So you may be thinking wow thats alot of money for labwork I probably can get covered by insurance. You are probably right if you don’t have a high deductable plan where everything costs a fortune. However InsideTracker gives you MORE than just the numbers InsideTracker TEACHES you how to fix it and optimize your levels not just settle for “your labs were in the normal range” phone call and “see in you 3-12 months”. Inside tracker will let you know if you are optimal, high, or low and explain the improtance and give you NATURAL ways to fix it through your diet and not an exogenous pill. This is important because of alot of us will have labs that are in the “normal range” but was on one extreme or the other of the bell curve of normal and if we changed some things we could more optimize our bodies function but doctos only look for the “red” on the labwork and if its all “white” they say check and you get the above said phone call.

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH INSIDE TRACKER

As I said before I was super excited about InsideTracker a few months back when they reached out, however by time I ended up getting the bloodwork I felt it was more of necessity than a fun experiment. After this year of moving around the country 2 times in 12 months, FT Job, FT Coaching, Finding 2 New jobs, Buying a House, 2 Half Marathons, 1 Marathon, 2 Half Ironmans, 1 Ironman, etc. etc. I was completely spent. I found myself just dead exhausted and it wasn’t like i was training at the volume I was and no I was not working because I am waiting on my new job in Florida to start but I still felt the need to take multiple naps and lay on the couch. On top of it when I did workout my legs were just not popping and I just felt like I was dragging through. I knew if anything I needed this test to confirm the obvious that I was in somesort of Adrenal Fatigue and I was curious to what else I put my body through the drain. Life is hard sometimes guys lol.

I got my results back last week which was perfect timing because I had 2 physician appointments with my new PCMs on base for routine physicals and “bloodwork” was supposed to be on the agenda. My first PCM appointment was on Monday prior to getting the InsideTracker Results. At my apt the physician looked over my history, vitals and listen to my heart and lungs and said whelp your healthy – call if you need anything. FANTASTIC. Mind you I didnt press the subject b/c I had the insidetracker results on their way, but it goes to show you that sometimes in medicine if you aren’t chronically ill they just scrape the surface. Later that week I saw the other PCM for my GYN apt and I had recieved my results from InsideTracker. I had analyzed them myself at home as I am a Physician Assistant but its always good to have an outside source manage your healthcare. She looked over all my labs including the “HIGH ALERT/RED” one and thought it all lokoed good and the only thing she would want to check again was my iron levels in about 1-2 months. Thats REAL MEDICINE guys! In order to get what InsideTracker gives you, you would have to find a dedicated physician who specializes in metabolic nutrition and an AMAZING DIETICIAN that will help tailor your diet to optimize your labs and perormance. InsideTracker gives you that in 1 visit without even having to exit your house or see a physician. Of course they say you always consult your doctor for any of the “red” values”. I think this is important because as a practioner I wanted to see how InsideTracker was different than how even I look at labs and to be honest it is WAY DIFFERENT. I look at normal ranges in a lab chart just like those physicians above and it isn’t way off normal then I move on. Your Family Doctor or me personally in the Emergency Room doesn’t have the time to dissect labs that was within normal and figure out what is optimal within the normal range b/c labs don’t do that. Its very black and white in medicine. HIGH – LOW – NORMAL. Thats it. Then you take the black and white and add it up to the big picture to see if someone is “healthy”. Someone like me and my viewers reading this is going to be “healthy” to every physician. Because you are compared to the hundreds of other patients they see with numerous comorbid conditions and countless medications. InsideTracker does that step farther and shows you whether you are “HIGH-LOW-OPTIMAL OR NORMAL RANGE”. This is important because even though you may be in the normal range you can always makes little tweaks to be in the optimal range by just switching something in your diet. You are what you put in your body. Nutrition is a key disipline in athletic success and inside tracker bridges the gap so that you can tailor your nutrition to optimize your heath which in turn leads to optimal peformance.

Example: 

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MY RESULTS

For the most part as per my doctor I am “healthy” haha. I am lucky in that I have always been pretty healthy. This is not a given and being in the health care field I realize everyday it is a blessing. To say I was terrified some of these tests would be crazy of and I would have to be tested for XYZ crazy disease I see everyday was an understatement. When you see the worst daily its hard not to have anxiety everytime you get your blood tested. I got the InsideTracker “Ultimate” Package with 42 Biomarkers. The Biomarkers are broken down within various catagories and I will share my results for each.

Metabolism and Weight Control:

  • This Panel was mostly optimal except my Glucose and TG were slightly above the “optimal range” but were still within normal range. Glucose Normal is 70-99 Fasting and TG anything under 150 is normal. However, I am going to pay attention to my TG a little bit more often because I have genetic high TG that run strong on my mothers side of the family. The PCP was SUPER PROUD of my HDL – Thank you Endurance Training!

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Bone and Muscle Health:

  • My Calcium was lower than optimal for this test with normal Vitamin D. Thank you summer for returning cuz I am sure this looked different during Winter. I am going to try and work on improving my calcium because as a smaller framed white female I am predisposed to osteoporosis just by genetics and also I have had a stress fracture in the past so optimizing your bone strength to me is always important.

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Electrolytes and Fluid Balance:

  • These were in optimal range and my mom and husband were shocked because when I eat its like would you like some food with your salt. But hey I guess my body enjoys it! 🙂

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Cognition:

  • I kinda smacked myself in the face when I saw that my Magnesum was not optimal after I threw away the unused magnesium suppliment when I moved after failing to take it last year after I ordered it. Guess I am going to have to see if that in a gummy form lol.

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Inflammation:

  • This was all pretty normal which I was thrilled about because of course my fear for the past 6 years I havent gotten bloodwork is that my CBC will be way off and Ill have some sort of cancer. To be honest I had these fears prior to being in medicine but its only gotten worse after you have to be the one to tell patients of all ages this horrible news. All joking aside I am so thankful and grateful to have those greens. However my one yellow is a High CRP which is a marker for inflammation. I am not shocked I feel my body is a constantly inflammed state – thank you Ironman! 🙂Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.31.37 AM.png

Liver Function and Toxicity

  • These were all normal. GB is staying in this lady! 🙂

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Oxygen Transfer and Blood Function

  • This was one of the “HIGH ALERT RED” Catagories. My TIBC was High “Red” and my Ferritin was “low yellow” but trending closer the to low “red” section and my Iron was normal. I personally reviewed my labs and then discussed them with my physician and it was determined we felt that I was trending towards an early Iron Deficiency Anemia and that we are going to recheck the levels in 1-2 months and see if there is improvement before we start suppplimentation. But I am going to start incorporating alot of the inside tracker suggestions so hopefully that will not happen. Iron deficiency is very common in atheltes and runners especially marathon runners so you have to pay close attention to your diet in terms of iron and I know that I havent because I am not the biggest fan of meat in general.

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Strength and Endurance // Sex Hormones

  • Well you would think in Ironman Training this section should be like “GOLD STAR” but nope its was “WHOA STOP” you get “RED STAR”! lol. Well here is the obvious that I knew but was waiting on just how bad it really was – Cortisol was in the “red”. Whomp whomp hop on the adrenal fatigue train. I didn’t need a lab to tell me I already knew as I said above but what I did need was ways to help fix it besides the obvious of I need to “take a break” which I am very soon. It makes me question that if my Cortisol was 25 after a month off work what is was like 2 months ago in the midst of Ironman, Moving, New Job, Buying a House – EEEEKKKK!!!! Shockingly not shockingly of course my PCP didn’t care about my cortisol level – lucky for me I know medicine so I can help fix it myself in the interum and see if it improves. 🙂 My CK was also elevated out of the optimal range and the suggestion was to switch out high impact running for lower impact activites like biking and swimming. Thats switch is coming real soon as this posterir tendon tear needs some rest. The last thing that was red was the SHBG and the DHEAS both of these can be highly affected by birth control as well as your time in your cycle and I have been on birth control for close to 16 years. My GYN said she was not concerned with the value and its affect on future pregnancy but we would readdress it when the time comes for babies. Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.46.42 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.46.52 AM.png

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Once you have all the information you can create a grocery list through “food basket” customized to your preferences and calorie intake per day to help plan your meals to optimize your labs and performance – Example Below.

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I know this was lenghty but I had ALOT of questions on instagram when I posted my InsideTracker Lab draw! I hope this was helpful and also insightful that I shared my results. I am very thankful for InsideTracker for giving me the opportunity to look outside my own medical box and gain the insight onto how to better care for myself instead of always taking care of other medical emergencies. If you have any questions feel free to reach out!

With Love

Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored post. However the words, thoughts, and opinions shared on this blog are entirely my own and in no way influenced by the sponsor. 

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What’s in my Recovery Tool Box?

Gear, Running, Training Tips

The more we get into running and endurance sports and the more competitive we get with ourselves to set big goals and achieve our own greatness. The drive also comes with the realization that it takes ALOT more than just running shoes to get there. I think the main spot that alot of recreational runners lack in is the “recovery” aspect that is essential to success when pushing high volume and intensity. The Pros have it all at their finger tips – trainers, chiros, massage, nutrition, etc while the recreational runners are trying to balance FT Jobs and Running not to include the rest of life obligations (which pros have those too so I dont want to discount that i.e. The Bruces). However, for recreational athletes running isn’t our number 1 job but a hobby and sometimes we are lucky to just get in the miles so we all it good enough, but overtime if you want a goal the miles without the rehab eventually lead to overuse injuries. I have had my fair share of them before bucking down and making “recovery” a priority. It isn’t easy when your tired from life but trust me in the end game of endurance personal success it is so worth it! So here are some of my stable tools in my recovery tool box.

1.) Sequential Compression Boots.

  • Basically these boots serve to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery. They work by using dynamic compression (pulsing) starting at the feet and working up your legs to your quads in a manner similar to a massage. There are various brands for different price points. Most famous are Normatec ($1600+), Rapid ReBoot ($1000+), to the Amazon brand at ($400). I recently got the Rapid Reboot from Valentines Day and LOVE THEM and are a total game changer for this training cycle.

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2) Roll Recovery R8 Roller.

  • The R8 has been hitting the instagram world by storm for quite some time. I was lucky enough to get one of these beauties to review through Roll Recovery as well as the Mat and it has not left my side since. The best part of about the R8 to me is the easy portability. It fits perfectly in my work bag and I carry it daily to help rolll out my muscles after hard training during my long ED shifts. It also provides the perfect massage technique and intensity for those places that really need it i.e. hamstrings, quads, ITB, and calves! I serously could not love mine more. I am also considering ordering the R3 soon as my feet good use some TLC.

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3) The Foam Roller and the Stick.

  • I have a basic Foam Roller and Stick and you can get so many varietes – firm/moderate/soft/ridges/noridges/etc. I just think it is important to have one or both. I use the foam roller for all over body rolling and then the stick for those hard to hit places with the foam roller i.e. Calves, Glutes. I also used to carry the stick for traveling as it is easier to transport. I am so dedicated to my foam roller I even brought it to Mexico and had a cheap Amazon version shipped to Florida for when I go home lol.

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4) Dynamic and Static Stretching

  • I am not saying I am 100% the best at this but I will say it makes a difference. A good read for a dynamic and static stretching routine is in Meb’s book “Meb for Mortals” and I would highly recommend that book regardless. I try to do some light stretching daily after workouts I am not saying it always happens but I do feel much better the next day when I do.

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5) Compression Socks. 

  • Obviously I am an ambassador for Procompression (Code PRO17 for 40% Off) so those are my favorite but any brand of compression socks will work. I wear mine both during and after workouts but some people prefer one or the other. I would say they are an awesome recovery tool as they help eliminate that “achy leg” feeling after a long day of work or workouts. I wear them during my ED shifts to help with leg swelling/fatigue and also on plane flights to help with leg swelling. I am most definitely that person who is always walking around in compression gear even if its summer and I am shorts, compression sleves, and sandles haha I have no shame in my game when it comes to optimizing my fitness potential.

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#6) Sports Massage Therapy

  • This is something I generally will only indulge during the high intensity of race season mainly because of the time committement and cost. However I really should be better at priorizing myself especially as an athlete. I think a good rule of thumb is to get a sports massage 1-2x/month if you can afford it to get all the muscles mobilized and prevent tissue build up resulting in injury. However as recreational athletes we don’t always have the time or budget but when I am really feeling run down a sports massage is my first step is getting back on my feet in Grade A shape!

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#7) Active Release Therapy (ART

  • Last but not Least ART!!! This has serious saved my booty way more times than I can count when it comes to those “niggles” that are treading the line of injury. Basically ART uses manual mobilization to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. I use this alot with “overuse injuries” i.e. ITB syndrome, Hip Pain, Achilles, etc. If you want to try it out you can use this site to find an ART provider and also more information – you will not regret it!

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So there you have it my Top 7 tools in my recovery tool box! Feel free to share you best recovery tips and ticks and let me know if you invest in some of mine!

With Love and Training,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

Training Tip Tuesday: Race Day Nutrition

Running, Training Tips

I haven’t done a Training Tip Tuesday in a while but I figured with alot of people gearing up for Fall Races this is the perfect time to share my approach to Race Day Nutrition for myself and my clients.

Pre Race Nutrition: 

  • Monday – Wednesday:
    • Diet should be your normal balance. For Macro counters that would be your normal daily macros. Usually for most people it is around a 50% Carb, 25% Protein, 25% Fat. During this time you want to ensure you are keeping fiber content on the lower end and eating simple foods that settle well and digest well for you as you don’t want any GI issues leading into the race. Also this is not the time to “cut calories” because you are decreasing activity – part of the taper in itself is to build your glycogen stores.
  • Thursday – Friday:
    • This is the time I do a “pseudo carboload” and top of the Glycogen stores. I do this my shifting the macro distrubution to a more carb dense diet without adjusting how many calories I eat per day. For non macro counters this basically means you want to eat more carb-dense foods that are lower in fat and protein throughout Thursday/Friday. For Macro counters this typically breaks down to 75% Carbs, 15% Protein, 10% Fats but this is difficult for most so I would say it generally ends up being 65% Carbs, 20% Protein, and 15% Fats.
  • Saturday (Day Before Race):
    • Basically you want to follow the same macro breakdown as you did on Thursday/Friday but I also really tell my clients to listen to their body and eat what has worked for them in the past and during their training. The key to the day before the race is to eat the majority of your food earlier in the day and not too late into the evening so you have time to digest it by morning. If you generally eat 3 meals then you want to eat your 2 largest meals for breakfast and lunch and then have a light dinner with a carb-dense bedtime snack (i.e. Oatmeal, Bananna, Energy Bar etc). If you eat 2 meals then I would have my largest meal at brunch and then a medium-light dinner with small snacks throughout the day and a carb-dense snack before bed. Make sure during the day you are consistently staying fueled and never “starving” – I know sometimes stress can get the best of people.
  • Overall:
    • I think this goes without being said hy hydration is key. Ensure you are at least drinking your 8 glasses of water per day if not more throughout the entire week.
  • Example of an Athlete’s Marathon Week Nutrition who eats normally 1800 kCal/Day
    • Monday – Wednesday: 1800 Calories – 225gC, 112gP, 50gF
    • Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 1800 Calories
      • 75% carbs/15% protein/10% fat:  337gC, 68gP, 20gF
      • 65% carbs/20% protein/15% fat: 293gC, 90gP, 30gF

General Half and Full Race Day Nutrition:

Plan to wake up at least 3 hours prior to the race start. This will give you enough time to get dressed, eat breakfast, ensure you have all your stuff, travel to the start, potty breaks, etc.

Immediatly upon waking up get dressed and ensure all the stuff  you need is ready to go and packed. After you are composed then grab your pre-workout beverage and pre-race breakfast. Usually for a pre-race breakfast I always suggest something you have tried in the past before a long run. Some examples of good options for breakfast include: (1) Oatmeal, (2) Energy Bar (i.e. Cliff Bar, Picky Bar, etc), (3) Bagel or English Muffin or Toast with PB/CC/Jelly, (4) Bananna with PB or Plain. Good options for beverages are (1) Coffee, (2) Amino Energy PreWorkout, (3) Vega Energizer, (4) Tea, (5) Water – the key only do what you have done in the past. Depending on the logistics of your race either eat your pre-breakfast in the car or if its a long bus to the start on the bus ride. Ensure you eat your breakfast early enough to ensure all things are moving in the right manner before the race if you know what I mean…

Once you get to the Start ensure you have given yourself enough time for at least 1 if not 2 porta potty breaks (I usually plan for two). I suggest carrying around a bottle of water or electrolyte drink to sip on before the start to stay hydrated. However do not chug a whole bunch of liquids prior to the race or you will be stopping at every porta potty on the course.

Once they call for final bag checks head to your corral and ensure you are ready to go. At this point you usually have about 5-10 minutes before the gun. At this point I suggest eating some simple carbs – i.e. gel, chews, or a honey stinger waffle. This will top of those carb stores before heading into the race.

During the race my number one rule for all my clients is DO NOT EVER SKIP A WATER STATION ESPECIALLY NOT THE ONES IN THE BEGINNING! This is so imporant because even though you don’t feel thirsty because adrenaline and excitement you will need that water later on and you cannot make it up later. If it is going to be hot I do suggest my clients take the electrolyte drink on the course every 2-3rd water station just to ensure they are getting a little extra electrolytes.

Marathon Fueling:

  • 4:30 Marathon or Less:  I suggest fueling every 5 miles on the course this ends up being Mile 5, Mile 10, Mile 15, Mile 20, and then the last one around Mile 23 -24.
  • 4:30 Marathon or Greater: Consider fueling every 4 miles so a gel at Mile 4, Mile 8, Mile 12, Mile 16, Mile 20, Mile 23-24.
  • This is all very personal so try different ratios out on your long runs and see what works for you. My only caveat is that realize that your long runs are not at race pace and you usually are running 30-90 seconds slower than Goal Marathon Pace and thus utilizing less energy and you will require slighly more fuel on race to sustain that harder effort.

Half Marathon Fueling:

  • For Half Marathons fueling is not as complicated intrarace. I generally give my clients 2 options depending on how they are feeling during the race. Option #1 is take only 1 gel at Mile 6.5-7. Option #2 is take 2 gels one at mile 5-6 and one at mile 9-11.

Post-Race Fueling:

  • Immediatley post race some people stomachs are quite queezy – I know mine is super sensitive. But it is important for your muscles to get some fuel in your body in the form of mostly carbs and protein. My suggestion is that most races have some sort of milk product try sipping on that post race or bring your favorite nutrition bar and try to eat at least half of it walking around getting your bag and what not. Then about 1-2 hours post race have a balanced meal. My favorite thing to do post race is to go have an amazing brunch after!

I hope this was helpful and not too confusing. Obviously there is so much information out there and this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt and always listen to your body and do what works for you as we are all so very different. But that is what makes us special ;)!

With Love, Nutrition, and Racing,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

 

Training Tips: 5 Tips to Create Your Own Training Plan

Running, Training Tips

Hey Guys!!! So I know alot of people don’t want to hire or cannot afford a coach but you want to have some advice on how to create a training plan specific for you and yours goals so I thought I would share some tips…

  1. Pick a Race and Date. Seems like a no brainer but honestly its the first step if you want to run a 5K/10K/Half/Full/Ultra/etc you have research the available races and find which one corresponds to your goals, location, time frame, etc. For example if you want to qualify for Boston 2017 you need to know your marathon needs to be ran before mid-september 2016. Additionally you want to research course profiles and find a course that fits your racing style and has a record for being a solid BQ race. Further you want to make sure that if you choosing a race you have enough time to adequately train without injury – this varies by the individual but the key is be realistic and honest with yourself.
  2.  Pick The Number of Days to Train per Week. How many days per week do you want to run? How many days a week can you for sure dedicate to running? Most marathon plans have a training split of 4 or 5 Days running with one rest day and 1-2 XT Days. Some plans have 3 days (Run Less, Run Faster) and some plans have 6 Days (Hansons). Be honest with yourself and pick a realistic number of day you can run and make consistently for 12 – 20 weeks (length depends on your goal). 
  3. Create your Training Split. You want variation in your training so that you don’t plateau.
    • 4 Day split: 1 Speed Work, 1 Easy Run, 1 Tempo, 1 Long Run.
    • 5 Day Split: 1 Speed Work, 2 Easy Runs, 1 Tempo, 1 Long Run.
  4. Formulate a Schedule. Make a schedule for your specific runs that you can follow each week and  have some float days so you can adjust if necessary.
    • An example for a 5 Day split:
      • Monday: Speedwork, Tuesday: Easy, Wednesaday: XT/Rest, Thursday: Tempo, Friday: Easy, Saturday: Long Run, Sunday: Rest Day.
      • Adjustment if you pushed long run to Sunday –> Monday: Rest Day, Tuesday: Speedwork, Wednesday: Easy, Thursday: Rest Day/XT, Friday: Tempo, Saturday: Long Run, Sunday: Rest Day
  5. Use Your Resources. The internet is a HUGE place and there are a ton of free plans out there for your use. A couple example are Runners World and Hal Higdon. Also you can invest in running books great reads with training plans are Hansons, Run Less Run Faster, Hal Higdon Marathon, and 80/20 just to name a few. Additionally some of your favorite running bloggers offer automatic downloads such as KatiesFitScript, FitandFaithfulFitnessand MyHeartRacesBlog. You can always look at these free or low cost plans and adjust them to make a custom plan to fit your schedule.

Hopefully some of these tips were helpful to you on journey to your next race – because Fall and Winter PRs are made in the Summer!

With Love and Training

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

 

Training Talks: All About Tapering Down for a Marathon

Running, Training Tips

So recently I have been getting asked a few questions regarding taper so I thought I would shed some light on my thoughts and advice on the subject. I am going to talk in regards to the marathon since it is the most in lengthy in time for tapering however you can apply the concepts any where from 5K – Half. The shorter the event the less of the taper so for a 5K and 10K it is generally just week. For half it is about 2 weeks. So let’s get started….

Approaching the Marathon Taper – Running/Training Plan:

The Taper usually “starts” roughly 3 full weeks out for the marathon or the last 3 weeks of your training plan. Most people dread the taper but if you trained correctly you should be welcoming it with open arms. The taper is the time for your body in a sense to recover while maintaining fitness in order to achieve optimal performance on race day. It is kind of like climbing a mountain – you have done the hard work climbing to to the top now all that is left is the descent back to homebase.  The taper is NOT the time to start inserting new exercises now that you have more time on your hands. The taper is meant for your muscles and body to rest and recover. This is the time in your training where since you have some extra time to get some more rest, stretch, and foam roll. All the stuff we know we should do but sometimes run out of time to do. Here is how I approach the Taper…

  • Week 1 of the Taper (3 weeks out from marathon) nothing much has changed in your training it is basically the equivalent to a cutback week with about a 10-20% decrease from your peak mileage (usually hit this 4 weeks out from the marathon). I usually keep weekly workouts around the same mileage and intensity and then shorten my long run to 14-16 miles. During this time I still continue to cross train as well as do my routine lifts including legs.
  • Week 2 of the Taper (week before marathon week) I usually end up being around a 30-35% cut from peak week milage and I shorten my week-day run mile but still keep the intensity and then shorten my long run to 8-12 miles. Usually during this long run I will either do a mid-tempo at GMP or a fast-finish with the last 3 Miles at GMP. I will still cross-train during this week but I cut out leg day to ensure my legs are rested.
  • Week 3 of the Taper (Marathon week) is when you really want to be SERIOUS about the taper and get the extra rest – NO MESSING AROUND THIS WEEK! This is not the time to add in extra cross training or take a new workout class. This week is the hardest for runners because you are so antsy but really try to do all the things you normally can’t – lay out by the pool, read a book, go see a movie, RELAX!!! During the week I do no cross training and only upper body lifts the first 3 days of the week – then no lifting the 2-3 days prior to the marathon. I follow a pretty consistent pattern and it has worked well for me the past 3 marathons so I stick to it.
    • Monday: 5 Mile Tempo – 1M w/u – 3M GMP – 1M c/d (this is a race specific workout so you want to keep the pace at GMP not way faster). Lift Back.
    • Tuesday: 3 Miles Easy. Lift Bis/Tris/Chest
    • Wednesday: Lift Shoulders. I might do a light swim/cycle (nothing hard core or taxing – very easy exercise). 
    • Thursday: 3 Miles Easy with Short Strides at end.
    • Friday: Total Rest Day
    • Saturday: Marathon
    • Sunday: Rest Day
    • Note: My past 3 marathons have been on a Saturday. But if it was a Sunday then you can take Thursday and Saturday as Rest Day and do your 3 Mile Shakeout on Friday. I also like to do my shakeout 2 days before and then have a total rest day the day before. This is all preference and you have to find what works out best for you.

Approaching the Marathon Taper – Nutrition:

I am going to talk about nutrition in the form on macros for this portion but it can apply to intuitive eating or just nutrition in general. For the first 2 of 3 weeks of the taper your nutrition will stay the same as your previous weeks. The first thing people think is that I am doing less so I should eat less – WRONG. Another integral part of the tapering process is rebuilding your glycogen stores from your hard training cycle and the 3 week taper will do just that. Remember for the first 2 weeks of your taper you are not cutting back that much in your training so you will still need those calories and fuel for your workouts and to repair the muscles that have been torn down in training to get you ready for your peak marathon performance. The week of the marathon I do have some alterations in my nutrition but my overall caloric intake stays the same I just change around the ratios to “carbo-load” for the race. Here is how I approach each day for a Saturday Marathon Race.

  • Monday – Wednesday:same macros/calories as previously eating
  • Thursday & Friday: I switch my Ratio to 70% Carbs, 20% Protein, and 10% Fats – so if you are eating 2000 calories per day then your macros would be 350gC/100gP/22gF
  • Saturday/Marathon Day: I do not track at all – you just ran a marathon CELEBRATE!
  • Sunday: Back to normal macros/calories as previous eating.

I hope some of these tips are helpful to you all in your training either current or future.

With Love and Training Talks,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

My Approach/Perspective to Flexible Dieting

IIFYM, Training Tips

As many of you guys know I am an avid follower of Flexible Dieting also known as “If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM”. I started with flexible dieting approximately 1.5 years ago when I took a leap of faith and signed with KatiesFitScript on a Black Friday Deal (Read More about my experience HERE) – and I have never looked back. So here is a little bit about it and my approach/perspective.

Definitions: Flexible Dieting/IIFYM is basically counting an alloted number of grams of fats, carbs, protein based on your current metabolic capacity and goals. I use the tracking app MyFitnessPal. For more information of macro counting for beginners KatiesFitScript has a great spot on her blog – check it out HERE.

Why I follow Flexible Dieting: When I first started counting macros I did it as a type of “new years resolution” however I had no clue it would change my whole viewpoint of nutrition. The best part of flexible dieting is that there is NO RESTRICTIONS – you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits within your alloted macros. This allow flexible dieting to be a lifestyle vs a diet. No more worrying about sticking to your diet on vacation or a night out with friends because NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS! Sure you still have to make smart choices but there is not set food list of do eat this but not this to answer to.

My Approach to Macro Adjustments – Cutting/Reversing: This is the question that I have been getting a lot lately – how I decide on cutting/reversing/maintainance etc. I base all of my nutrition based on my training demands. I always cut during the “off-season” or “base building” season so that my body doesn’t get too taxed for increased training volume and low caloric intake. Basically I usually end up starting my cuts after holidays or the end of a marathon training cycle to rid the extra fluff. I approach my cuts SLOW decreasing the minimum amount of calories/macros  (usually by 5-15%) in order to lose weight and holding to each macro adjustment for at least 2 weeks to see how my body will respond. I continue this process until I am close to my goal weight and/or my training volume increases to a point that my body NEEDS the extra nutrition. I NEVER put weight loss goals over my endurance performance because it never turns out good and puts you at increased risk for injury. Basically when I hit the above crossroads is when I start reverse dieting. I have approached reverse dieting in my first 2 reverses in a structured format – I added 5gC/1gF to my daily macro intake per week for my first reverse and I added 10gC/2gF to my daily macro intake per week for my second reverse. This time I am taking a different approach and being more analytical in assess my hunger cues, body weight, training volume, work volume to determine how much to increase per week to meet my daily caloric needs. Basically reverse dieting is SO INDIVIDUAL and there is so many different approaches but the main goal at the end of the day no matter which step you take to get there is to increase your metabolic capacity to a point that you are happy with long-term to live a happy fulfilled life and support your activities. Some people reverse to maintenance (the point in which you don’t gain weight from x amount of calories/day) and some people reverse above maintance and put on weight and muscle mass. I basically reverse until the end of my training cycles and to maintaince and then I either hold at maintaince or cut depending on my goals.

How Flexible Dieting has Changed my Life in Nutrition: Before flexible dieting/macros I followed the notion that “less is more” as many of us are taught in American Society and the 1200 calories diet cut. If I wanted to lose weight the only ideas I had been to just drastically cut calories. However, now I never have to do this because I know exactly how much nutrition my body needs on a daily basis to maintain weight. So If I want to lose weight I just cut 5-15% slowly over time until I get to my goal weight. Additionally, If I want to eat more I just add 5-20gC/1-3gF per week depending on my metabolic needs/capacity in order to reverse to a higher metabolic capacity. Flexible Dieting takes all the guessing out of everything and puts YOU IN CONTROL of your nutrition, health, and goals.

Reverse Dieting and Marathon Training: As I mentioned above I reverse diet during my marathon training cycles. I have had some ask if this has helped my performance and my answer is HELL YES! What better way to reverse diet than a marathon training cycle where each week you body has increased metabolic demands – it basically allows your metabolism to grow with your training volume. The increased foods not only help you perform better and feel better but also reduce injury risk. On the flip side it also keeps you accountable to not go eat 3 donuts because you ran 20 miles and helps you to avoid the whole marathon weight gain phenomenon. KatiesfitScript also has some great information on marathon training and nutrition – find more HERE. This article is fantastic for this same thoughts.

Its a Continum NOT one event: Cutting, maintenance, and Reversing are a continuous process not individual events. This is so important to understands because each one build on the other. Each time you go through a cut/maintainance/reverse phase you are building your metabolism to become stronger and stronger. I will give you my experience in a nutshell for an example…

  • My Macro Timeline: When I signed up with KatiesFitScript my starting macros in December 2014 were roughly 1440 calories – 140gC/130gP/40gF at around 110-112 lbs and at this point I was just starting running again after a severe ITB injury and just starting lifting. After following those macros for about 12 weeks  I weighed around 105-106 lbs then started my first reverse diet over the next 12-14 weeks from March 2015 until the Utah Valley Marathon on June 13th, 2015 and reached roughly 1830 calories – 200gC/145gP/50gF. At this point I had put on some post marathon fluff and weight 108 lbs and Katie and I did another cut for about 8 weeks weeks and got down to 1610 calories – 156gC/45gF/145gP from June to August (read more HERE) and I ended the cut at 105.7 lbs. In August I started my second reverse diet and got up to 2,200 calories – 275gc/145gP/60gF by November 2016 at the Revel Canyon City Marathon and ended my reverse at at the same weight I started of 105.7 (read more HERE). From November to January I basically remained at maintenance which ended up being lower macros due to decreased activity and by January 1st I was roughly at 1875 calories – 200gC/55gF/145gP and I weighed around 110lbs s/p Holiday “gains”. I then cut for the next 6 weeks down to 1630 calories – 160gC/45gF/145gP and ended up weighing in at 104 lbs. Now I am currently in week 7 of my current reverse leading into the Revel Mount Charleston Marathon and I am up to 2180 calories – 265gC/145gP/60gF and weighed in at 102lbs – THE LOWEST YET (read more about that HERE)!
  • My Thoughts: Obviously from this you can see it was a continuous process. With each reverse diet my metabolism got stronger and stronger and with each cut I was able to lose more weight on higher calories. So my suggestion is to always view the “bigger picture” in the process and that is building up our metabolism to your own greatest potential which is DIFFERENT for everyone based on your personal daily activities, personal metabolism, and personal training!

With Love, Nutrition, and Training,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

Training Tips: Ideas for Speedwork

Training Tips

Hey Guys! I sometimes get questions on what are some speed workouts that I like to do during my training season. So I thought I would share some ideas. For reference to paces to fit your personal training I like to use McMillan Running Calculator.

#1: Yasso 800s.  1-2 mile warm up – 3-10 x 800 meter repeats with 400-800m recovery jog/run – 1-2 mile cool down. The number of repeats is based on your goal milage for speedwork. Pace should be your goal marathon time converted to minutes so if you want to run a 3:30 marathon you should be doing your 800m in 3:30 or 7:00 min/mi.

#2: Ladder Workout. 1-2 mile w/u – 400m @ 5K pace – 800m at 10K Pace – 1200m at HMP – 1600m at GMP – 1200m HMP – 800m 10K Pace – 400m @5K pace – 1-2 mile c/d. If you wanted to use this for a long run workout do a 5 min recovery jog in between sets. 

#3: Alternating Mile Repeats. 1 mile w/u at 15 – 30 seconds slower than GMP – Alternate 1 mile at GMP with 1 mile at HMP until desired mileage – 1 mile c/d 15-30 seconds slower than GMP. This workout will teach your body to use marathon pace as a recovery pace and allow it to feel easier on race day.

#4: Progression Runs. Start at 30-60 seconds slower than GMP then work your way up in speed by 10-15 seconds per mile every mile until you hit desired mileage. This is will help teach your body to negative split and work hard even when your legs are tired. I like to use this workout for a less intense speedwork day or during a mid-week long run workout.

#5: 1200m repeats. 1 -2 mile w/u – 1200m repeats @ 10K-HMP pace with 400m recovery until desired mileage – 1-2 miles c/d.

With Love and Happy Training,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Tips for Sticking to Your Training

Training Tips

Hey Guys! So I always get these comments on my instagram about my training and how I have the drive and energy to train the way I do. So I thought I would share my Top 10 Tricks to sticking to your training.

#1: Set a Goal. Most of the time it is a race or it could just be an arbitrary goal without a price tag with a medal attached. But either way pick something that you want to work towards and put a hard date on it to make it happen by.

#2: Plan. Fail to Plan. Plan to Fail. If you are training for a running race you have three options for the plan. 1) Make your own if you are a seasoned athlete who has trained for similar events before. 2) Hire a Coach to either do a Custom Plan or Coaching. 3) Download a training plan there are tons of great free ones on the internet but I love the Hal Higdon Website. Also MyHeartRacesBlog, FitandFaithfulFC, and KatiesFitScript among many others have downloadable plans on their sites for half and full marathons for a reasonable price.

#3. Commitment. I view my training like I do my job. You don’t miss work unless you are terribly ill or extenuating circumstances. Therefore unless I am extremely ill or something comes up out of my control I make my training happen. Sometimes I have to cut a training session short or sub out an easy run for a hard run etc. depending on how I am feeling and the circumstances surrounding but I get it done.

#4. Involvement. Training is for our self interest. However, with Endurance events like Half Marathons, Marathons, Triathlons, Half and Full Ironmans they are also a HUGE TIME COMMITMENT. Make sure you explain to your family and friends what kind of task you are taking on and that they understand and are supportive of your endeavours even if it involves no Friday Night Happy Hour or waiting until you’re done with your long run for brunch. Also involve them – ask them to bike beside you during your long runs or go to your races with you and enjoy the expo and trip or just thank them for supporting you through your training to reach your goals even if they are not their own.

#5. Reward YourSelf. Training is hard work and almost like a second full time job. it takes a lot of you both mentally and physically. While the race or goal itself is definitely a reward there is no harm in splurging on yourself every once in awhile for an accomplishment whether it be a simple breakfast date at your favorite spot after your long run, new running/gym shoes, or a new running/gym gear/outfit. Make yourself feel special and reward yourself for all your hard training – BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT AND YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!

Hope these tips help you out and good luck with all your training! 🙂 ❤

With Love and Training,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

Training Tip Tuesday: Chasing PRs!

Training Tips

Hey Guys! I figured today I would share some training tips on how to increase your speed/pace over time and chase those PRs!

#1: Recovery/Time-Off Period: First off the last thing any runner wants to hear is “You Cannot Run” but sometimes that is just the ticket. Before I got injured 15 months ago with my ITB I was running my body to the ground with no increases in race times or major gains. I was forced due to injury to take 1 month off, cross train, and re-evaluate and work my body back up from scratch. The last thing I expected after my 1 month running hiatus was to get faster. At first running was a struggle but then over the next 1-2 months something amazing happened – all my times were getting so much faster so much quicker and new PRs were happening all the time. So my suggestion is after a hard training season (aka Marathon or Multiple Marathons) take at least 2 weeks off completely from running and up to 4 weeks for hard training and high milage. Trust me your body will thank you and so will your mind – it helps you to fall in love with running all over again.

#2: Efficient/Tactical Training: No more running “junk” miles. Each run should have a purpose. If you run 5 days per week then 1 speed session, 1 tempo run, 2 recovery runs, and 1 long run. Make sure your paces are appropriate – speed days are for speed/fast paces – push yourself. Recovery is just that easy going run for hours talk with friends kind of pace. Start training like a professional athlete because even though you may not be sponsored or being paid to run you are still an athlete and should train like one. A good place to find your accurate paces is McMillan Running – it will tell you what paces you should hit for each workout.

#3: Nutrition: I think this one is key and mostly overlooked. I feel like there is a lot of extremes in the industry – either I run therefore I can eat whatever or running to burn off what I ate. I think one of the biggest things that has helped my performance is eating like an athlete and eating to perform. During both of my marathon cycles I have reverse dieted which is adding calories slowly over time every week to build up your metabolic capacity. You can find more information HERE. You don’t have to do IIFYM/Macros to be healthy. But it is critical to fuel your body with key nutrients to fuel your increase in training volume. This will help you recover faster from key workouts as well as keep your body injury free. It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge but being mindful of your body and nutritional needs will definitely help you improve in your overall athletic goals.

I hope you found some of these tips and tricks helpful. Obviously some of it is nonspecific but these are some things personally over the past year that has led me to a lot of success with running and endurance events.

With Love and Training Tips and Tricks,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)

 

Wednesday Wrambles – How to become a Faster Runner?

Training Tips

 

Hey Guys today I am going to talk about some tricks I have learned over my running journey for becoming a faster runner. Whether you are an olympian or newbie we can all relate to the thrill of a PR and here was some tips to help you get there.

#1: If you are a new runner and training for your first half marathon/marathon/10K/5K ENJOY THE PROCESS. Do you worry about time/speed just put the miles under your belt and the speed will come – “Beginner Gains”. My first 5K was an 11 min/mi and 3 months later I ran a half marathon at 8:30 min/mi and did not clock one speed session I just followed the Novice Marathon Hal Higdon plan. {Caveat: I was also in college and had a lot of time on my hands to rest and recovery – I realize how invaluable that was now that I am in adult life}

#2: Incorporate Speedwork 1 to 2 times per week after you had a solid base. My suggestions for starting would either be 800 meter repeats, hill repeats, or tempo runs to start. Which leads into #3…

#3: Be intentional about your workouts. You cannot be a speed demon everyday – in order to get faster you have to recover in order to perform on these hard training days (aka speedwork). So if you are running 5 days per week. You would do 1-2 speedwork sessions faster than goal pace and then recover with 2-3 easy runs and then your long run on the weekends.

#4: Train where you are at and work towards where you want to be. For example if you current PR is a 4:00 marathon and you want to run a 3:30 marathon you should NOT start your Yasso 800s at 3:30s but rather 4:00s and then over a 16-20 week training cycle slowly work your way up to your goal pace without injury or burnout.

#5: HAVE FUN. Remember running is your hobby it is your me time. Pick speed sessions and training sessions you enjoy. Because when you enjoy your workout you perform at your optimal potential. And when you are training at your optimum then you are becoming a better runner and a better you!

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With Love and Running,

❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)