Category Archives: endurance training

Moja zgodba (Žana Jereb)

B013 Žana EatingZa Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) način prehranjevanja sem prvič slišala 23. novembra 2012, ko mi Klemen pošlje enega izmed člankov prof. Tima Noakes-a, spodaj pa pripiše: “Tole bo treba sprobat!”. Takoj preberem članek. Zdel se mi je zanimiv, ampak ker že po naravi nisem tip človeka, ki bi bil naklonjen prevelikim spremembam, me ni prepričal. Bila sem mnenja, da tak način prehranjevanja ni primeren zame – saj ne bom mogla teči, če ne bom zaužila dovolj OH-jev. Takrat so moje obroke sestavljali pretežno ovseni kosmiči, testenine, polenta, sadje, mlečni izdelki s čim manj maščob in občasno kakšne ribe. Že samo ob misli, da bi morala krožnik testenin zamenjati za kos mesa in zelenjavo pečeno na masti – o ne, ne, nihče me ne bo prepričal, da je za moje telo to bolj primerna hrana.

In res ni trajalo dolgo, ko se je Klemen odločil, da na lastni koži preizkusi LCHF način prehranjevanja. Brez postopnega prilagajanja je črtal vso hrano, bogato z OH-ji. Močno sem dvomila v učinkovitost takšne prehrane, zato sem se bolj kot ne iz solidarnosti do njega odločila, da bom za kosilo jedla isto kot on, s tem da sem si zraven pripravila še neko prilogo (največkrat testenine ali polento). Zajtrke in večerje sva jedla vsak po svoje. Tiste dni, ko sem bila v Žireh pa sem več ali manj jedla po starem. Vedno, ko si je za zajtrk ali večerjo pripravil kaj novega, mi je rekel, naj vsaj poizkusim. Sprva sem se trudila vzeti čim manjši košček, saj sem bila prepričana, da so maščobe nekaj najbolj nezdravega, zato sem se jih izogibala na vsakem koraku. Vseeno pa sem ga z velikim zanimanjem poslušala, ko mi je pripovedoval povzetke knjig in člankov o LCHF prehrani in o tem, kako so maščobe neupravičeno na slabem glasu. Postopoma, ampak še vedno zelo previdno sem ga začela posnemati tudi pri zajtrkih in večerjah. Tudi sama sem prebrala kar nekaj člankov na to temo, ki so me še bolj prepričali v to, da je sladkor sovražnik našega zdravja, ki se ga moramo v čim večji meri izogibati. In če LCHF poleg tega, da pozitivno vpliva na naše zdravje, tudi pozitivno vpliva na rezultate v vzdržljivostnih športih…odločitev je padla.

Tako sem se konec maja 2013 zavestno odločila, da iz svojega jedilnika črtam vse, kar vsebuje gluten – in to tudi takrat, ko bom v Žireh. Od takrat naprej si tudi za kosilo, ko sem bila v Ljubljani, nisem več kuhala prilog bogatimi z OH-ji. Sam začetek je bil težak. Prve tri tedne se nisem počutila dobro, bila sem brez energije in že iz iztekov sem hodila popolnoma omagana. Če ne bi imela ob sebi Klemna, ki mi je iz dneva v dan potrpežljivo razlagal, da bo kriza slej ko prej minila, saj je sam na začetku imel podobne probleme, bi že po prvih nekaj dneh obupala. Poleg tega so me tudi njegovi odlični rezultati v triatlonu (predvsem na IM Lanzarote in kasneje na Hawaii-h) prepričali, da LCHF prehrana res pozitivno vpliva na rezultate v vzdržljivostnih športih. Testenin kar naenkrat nisem več pogrešala, saj sem dobila novo mojo najljubšo jed – jetrca z zelenjavnim pirejem. Sicer sem imela kar nekaj težav, da sem dojela, da živila kot so jajca, maslo in živalska mast niso noben “bav, bav”, ampak tako pač je, če prej tako dolgo poslušaš, kako so škodljiva. Priznam pa, da se še vedno izogibam ocvirkov, ampak sem prepričana, da bo tudi to minilo :-).

Vem, B013 Žana Runningda spadam med bolj previdne osebe, zato potrebujem nekoliko več časa, da dobro premislim in se zares prepričam, kaj je dobro in kaj ne. Z vpeljavo novega načina prehranjevanja sem bila prisiljena tudi v to, da sem začela poslušati svoje telo. To mi je omogočilo, da sem lahko začela prilagajati LCHF dieto na način, ki ustreza mojim potrebam. In res, ko se je telo privadilo na spremembe, je počutje bilo iz dneva v dan boljše, kilogrami pa so kopneli sami od sebe. V zadnjem času se je začel napredek kazati tudi pri teku. Čeprav nekaterih treningov nisem opravila najbolje (predvsem na račun izpraznjenih glikogenskih zalog), mi je letos na vsaki tekmi dobesedno “letelo”, na nekaterih celo nad pričakovanji. Tako sem že v pomladanskem delu sezone izboljšala osebne rekorde v maratonu, polmaratonu in na 10 km in prepričana sem,  da so na vse te rezultate v veliki meri vplivale tudi spremembe v načinu prehranjevanja.

Kmalu bo minilo leto dni od kar sem spremenila svoj način prehrane in po pravici povedano: splošno počutje je super, tekla še nikoli nisem tako hitro kot tečem sedaj, zato ne vidim razloga, da ne bi nadaljevala v isti smeri oz. še hitreje :-)!

Žana Jereb

Osebni rekordi:

  • 2:35:55 (Maraton: Rotterdam, 13.4.14)
  • 1:14:27 (Polmaraton: Trst, 27.4.14)
  • 33:49 (10 km: Trst, 4.5.14)
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Čas za spremembo celostne podobe Športa!

fork-in-the-road-3Človek se je tekom svoje evolucije v veliki večini časa (t.j. nad 99%!) ukvarjal predvsem s pomanjkanjem energije za svoj obstoj oz. napredek. S pomočjo poljedeljstva, živinoreje in predvsem kasneje v industrijski revoluciji, pa se je tega nadležnega problema večinoma rešil. Sedaj imamo na svetu paradoksalno situacijo, ko več ljudi na svetu pesti preobilna telesna teža kot pa lakota. Prevladujoče mnenje o vzrokih, ki so do tega pripeljali, pa je, da preveč jemo in se hkrati premalo gibljemo.

Če najprej pogledamo na levo stran te enačbe, poimenovane tudi »Kalorije notri, Kalorije ven«, bi rekel, da se večina ljudi zaveda o vplivu prevelikega vnosa hrane na telesno težo. Ta vpliv na povečanje telesne teže je bil tudi nesporno dokazan v številnih znanstvenih študijah. Malce manj jasen pa je vpliv desne strani enačbe na telesno težo, vsaj kar se znanstvenih raziskav tiče. Prevladujoče laično mnenje pa seveda polaga velike upe v telesno aktivnost pri zniževanju telesne teže, kar se npr. odraža v povečevanju obiskanosti fitnes centrov, čedalje množičnejših udeležbah tekaških prireditev, razcvetu industrije športnih pripomočkov… Kakšni so pa podatki iz raznih raziskav glede vloge porabljene energije preko fizične aktivnosti na epidemiologijo debelosti pa si poglejmo v nadaljevanju.

Vpliv mehanizacije v zadnjem poldrugem stoletju

Začenši od približno sredine 19. stoletja pa do 60. let 20. stoletja je uvedba mehanizacije tako pri delu kot transportu drastično zmanjšala zahteve za težko fizično delo. Posledično se je tudi zmanjšala poraba po vnosu energije, kar je potrdila nedavna ekonometrična študija vnosa kalorij v ZDA [1]. Zato so imeli Američani do sredine 60. let približno stabilno telesno težo, t.j. manj so delali in posledično manj jedli. V kasnejšem obdobju pa se je skupaj z dramatično povečano preskrbljenostjo s hrano povečal vnos energije ter posledično telesna teža. Hkrati pa je telesna aktivnost ostala na približno enakem nivoju. Končni rezultat je za 13kg višja trenutna povprečna telesna teža američanov kot je bila v 1960. letih [2,3].

Poraba energije se ne razlikuje med družbami z nizko ali visoko stopnjo debelosti

Pogosto omenjeni razlog za manjšo pojavnost debelosti v bolj podeželskih družbah Afrike, Indije ter Kitajske je zahtevno fizično delo. Česar pa raziskave v večini ne podpirajo. Npr. nedavna raziskava, ki je primerjala porabo energije med prebivalci agrarnih predelov Nigerije ter prebivalci ZDA, ni ugotovila razlik v aktivnosti [4,5]. Do podobnih ugotovitev so prišli raziskovalci podobne študije pri preučevanju telesne aktivnosti plemena lovcev nabiralcev Hadza ter razvitimi zahodnimi družbami [6]. Te ugotovitve pa je še nadalje podprla meta-analiza vseh podobnih raziskav, v kateri so zaključili, da se telesna dejavnost in poraba energije ne razlikujeta pri ekonomsko različno razvitih družbah [7].

Vnos energije se poveča pri višji porabi

tr401atg-w484h484z1-33095-trying-to-outrun-my-bad-dietPretok energije je v telesu uravnavan s kompleksnim nevro-hormonskim sistemom, katerega delovanje čedalje bolj poznamo. Povratni mehanizmi povezujejo črevesje z možgani, zalogami maščevja in ostalimi metabolno aktivnejšimi organi ter uravnavajo apetit ter sitost [8]. Enako kot večina ostalih organizmov v naravnem okolju z zadostno količino hrane, je tudi človekova odrasla telesna teža do nedavno ostala stabila do sarkopenije v starosti. Ti življenjski mehanizmi uravnavanja telesne teže so podzavestni a žal ne delujejo pravilno v primeru vnosa hrane, na katero nismo prilagojeni. Tu imam predvsem v mislih sladkor v obliki pijač, za katerega vnos je znano, da obide mehanizme kontrole sitosti [9-11]. Na vsak način pa dandanes še vedno zelo dobro delujejo kratko in dolgoročni mehanizmi povečanja vnosa hrane ob povečani porabi energije zaradi npr. povečane telesne aktivnosti.

Nasprotujoči si dokazi o vplivu povečane porabe energije na telesno težod0e82d4d6f2cea3ae759a816b157538f

Skladno s prejšnjim odstavkom o homeostazi energije tudi klinične raziskave potrjujejo dejstvo, da se ob povečani porabi hkrati poveča tudi vnos energije (i.e. hrane). Kar posledično nedvomno vodi v dejstvo, da je s povečevanjem telesne aktivnosti težko, če že ne nemogoče za večino ljudi izgubiti telesno težo. Veliko kontroliranih randomiziranih raziskav je ob odsotnosti restrikcije vnosa energije potrdilo neuspešnost povečane fizične aktivnosti pri zmanjševanju telesne teže [12-14]. Hkrati pa je tudi veliko raziskav potrdilo, da je povečana fizična aktivnost z restrikcijo vnosa energije praktično enakovredna pri zmanjševanju telesne teže kot sama restrikcija vnosa energije [15].

Opazovalne študije in povezava med povečano telesno aktivnostjo in telesno težo

Veliko epidemioloških raziskav je skušalo proučiti povezavo med spremembo telesne teže ter vnosom energije. Vzlic vsem težavam pri napačnosti samo-poročanega vnosa hrane je prišlo do mnogih konfliktnih rezultatov. Predvsem pri pretežkih osebah prihaja do velikega pod poročanja vnosa hrane kar vodi v paradoksalne rezultate o negativni povezavi med vnešeno količino energije ter telesno težo. Tiste raziskave z ustrezno metodologijo pa zavračajo splošno prepričanje, da je večja telesna aktivnost povezana z manjšim naraščanjem telesne teže [16-19]. Čemur potrjujejo tudi nedavne meta analize večih raziskav [20,21].

ChildhoodObesity2Na otrocih svet stoji

Debate na temo fizične aktivnosti pa dobijo še čustveno noto, ko se jih omeni v istem stavku kot naše otroke. Vsi se nekako pritožujemo, kako jih čedalje več obsedi na kavču pred televizijo, za tablico ali pa kar ob telefonu. In to postane kar samoumeven razlog, zakaj so tudi naši otroci predebeli. No, študije kažejo predvsem drugačno sliko. Nedavno so bile objavljene tri velike meta anlize večih študij, in vse tri so potrdile zgornje ugotovitve: večje število intervencij za povečanje telesne aktivnosti v šolah nima vpliva na telesno težo otrok [22-24].

Pri teh ugotovitvah se postavlja zanimiva in povsem verjetna hipoteza, ki dobiva tudi potrditve v nadaljnih raziskavah. Naše telo ima neke vrste števec za dnevno aktivnost (i.e. activitystat), in če smo bolj telesno aktivni v šoli, bomo v drugih dnevnih obdobjih manj. To so potrdili v dveh nedavnih raziskavah, kjer so bili otroci z večjim obsegom telesne aktivnosti v šolah manj aktivni v preostalem prostem času, ob celodnevno enaki telesni aktivnosti [25,26].

Kaj je bilo prej: debelost ali premajhna telesna aktivnost?

diet-versus-exerciseŠe eno vprašanje, ki postavlja teorijo o premajhni telesni aktivnosti kot vzroku za debelost na glavo, pa je naslednje vprašanje: kaj nastopi prej, debelost ali prenizka telesna aktivnost. Možen odgovor na to vprašanje nam je dala angleška prospektivna kohortna študija, kjer so 3 leta spremljali 202 otroka glede njihove telesne aktivnosti in telesne teže [27]. Rezultati so pokazali, da je bil njihov začetni % telesne maščobe dober negativni pokazatelj njihove telesne neaktivnosti (t.j. več telesne maščobe kot so imeli ob začetku raziskave, manj so se gibali v naslednjih 3 letih). Obratno pa začetni nivo telesne aktivnosti ni bil preditkor njihovega nadaljnega % telesne maščobe. Oz. z drugimi besedami, manjša telesna aktivnost je bila posledica prevelike telesne teže in ne vzrok! Zato so tudi vse intervencije za povečanje telesne aktivnosti z namenom zmanjšanja debelosti obsojene na neuspeh, saj ne odpravljajo pravega vzroka!

Poleg psiholoških vzrokov za manjšo fizično aktivnost debelih oseb (npr. občutek sramote zaradi omejenih fizičnih sposobnosti, sramovanje lastnega telesa…) pa je fiziološke temelje tega pojava lepo opisal Gary Taubes v svoji uspešnici knjigi “Good Calories, Bad Calories” [28]. Možgani predebele osebe zaradi leptinske in inzulinske rezistence ne zaznajo prevelikih zalog maščobe. Ker ne “vidijo” hormona leptina, ki je kazalec zalog maščobe v telesu, mislijo, da je potrebno zaloge napolniti in sprožajo mehanizme za povečanje zalog. Ti pa so seveda znani: lakota in vnos hrane ter manjša poraba energije oz. manjše hoteno ter nehoteno gibanje. Tako zaradi okvar v hormonskih signalnih procesih telo debele osebe kljub obilici maščevja misli, da strada, in da mora varčevati z energijo. Tako je zaradi naše neprilagojenosti na dandanašnjo hrano vzročna puščica obrnjena predvsem pri že debelih osebah v drugo smer, kot je mogoče razvidno na prvi pogled.

ZAKLJUČKI

Najprej moram seveda poudariti, da je telesna aktivnost bistvenega pomena za zdravje. Tudi dejstva »da več je bolje« pri telesni aktivnosti ne moremo zanikati v nobenem primeru, če izvzamemo tisti majhen promil profesionalnih (ali odvisnih rekreativnih) športnikov. Namen tega zapisa je samo izpostavitev zmotnosti dandanašnjih priporočil in tudi škode, ki se jo s tem (po mojem mnenju) dela.

Screenshot 2015-08-29 18.25.39Miselnost, da lahko s telesno aktivnostjo odšportaš slabe prehranske navade vsekakor koristi prehranski industriji v našo škodo. Samo pomislite, kolikokrat ste si zavezali superge z namenom, da se boste po športni aktivnosti nagradili s hrano. Pa najverjetneje niste imeli v mislih brokolija ali cvetače po tuširanju! In če hkrati dodate še naše pre-cenjevanje porabljenih kalorij in pod-cenjevanje vnešenih kalorij, je to recept za dizastr. Ki lahko celo vodi v popolno prenehanje ukvarjanja s športom, ko uvidite njegovo neučinkovitost pri zniževanju telesne teže. Hkrati pa nastane še občutek krivde, ki nam jo vsiljuje industrija s svojimi »kalorija notri, kalorija ven«. Kar implicitno pomeni, da lahko ješ vso svinjarijo, če jo potem tudi skuriš. Krivda torej ni na strani industrije, je na strani lenega potrošnika!

Zato se je po mojem mnenju potrebno zavedati naslednjih dejstev:

  • redna telesna aktivnost (npr. priporočana 5-6x tedensko po 30 minut) ne bo vodila v izgubo telesne teže oz. preprečila povečanja telesne teže za veliko večino populacije,
  • samo manjši vnos energije doprinese k zmanjšanju telesne teže, bodisi v kombinaciji s telesno aktivnostjo bodisi brez nje.

Zato sem mnenja, da je potrebno spremeniti celostno podobo telesne aktivnosti. Kot sem že napisal v nedavnem blogu na delo.si, je šport tableta za izboljšanje počutja, vzdržljivosti in moči, zmanjšanje verjetnosti sladkorne bolezni, številnih rakavih obolenj, stresa, tesnobe in psiholoških motenj ter povečanje koncentracije, pozornosti in kognitivnih sposobnosti. Je boljša od katerega koli farmacevtskega pripravka. Žal pa ni tableta za izgubo telesne teže. Če potrebujete šport za uravnavanje telesne teže, potem je nekaj narobe z vašo prehrano. Miselnost, da pa lahko s telesno aktivnostjo odšportate slabo prehrano je pa več ali manj ekvivalentna miselnosti, da lahko s telesno aktivnostjo odšportate kajenje cigaret!

Zato je skrajni čas, da si začnemo obuvati športne copate zaradi dobrega počutja, ne zaradi hujšanja. Za izgubo telesne teže je pač potrebno spremeniti prehrano!

šport tableta

Literatura:

  1. Swinburn B, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1453-56.
  2. Ogden CL, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics. Mean body weight, height, and body mass index, United States 1960-2002. No. 347. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2004.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009–10. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes2009-2010/BMX_F.htm
  4. Ebersole K, Dugas L, Durazo-Arvizu RA, et al. Energy expenditure and adiposity in Nigerian and African-American women. Obesity 2008;16:2148-54.
  5. Luke A, Durazo-Arvizu RA, Rotimi CN, et al. Activity energy expenditure and adiposity among black adults in Nigeria and the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:1045-50.
  6. Pontzer H, Raichlen DA, Wood BM, Mabulla AZP, Racette SB, Marlowe FW. Hunter-gatherer energetics and human obesity. PLoS One 2012;7:e40503.
  7. Dugas LR, Harders R, Merrill S, et al. Energy expenditure in adults in developing vs. industrialized countries: a meta-analysis of doubly labeled water studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:427-41.
  8. Dhillo WS. Appetite regulation: an overview. Thyroid 2007;17:433-45.
  9. Caprio S. Calories from soft drinks – do they matter? N Engl J Med 2012;367:1462-63.
  10. De Ruyter JC, Olthof MR, Seidell JC, Katan MB. A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. N Engl J Med 2012;367:1397-406.
  11. Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Chomitz VR, et al. A randomized trial of sugar-sweetened beverages and adolescent body weight. N Engl J Med 2012;367:1407-16.
  12. Church TS, Martin CK, Thompson AM, Earnest CP, Mikus CR, Blair SN. Changes in weight, waist circumference and compensatory responses with different doses of exercise among sedentary, overweight postmenopausal women. PLoS One 2009;4:e4515.
  13. Rosenkilde M, Auerbach P, Reichkendler MH, Ploug T, Stallknecht BM, Sjodin A. Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response to different doses of aerobic exercise: a randomized controlled trial in overweight sedentary males. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2012;303:R571-79.
  14. Donnelly JE, Hill JO, Jacobsen DJ, et al. Effects of a 16-month randomized controlled exercise trial on body weight and composition in young, overweight men and women: the Midwest Exercise Trial. Arch Intern Med 2003;163:1343-50.
  15. Wing RR. Physical activity in the treatment of the adulthood overweight and obesity: current evidence and research issues. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31 Suppl:S547-52.
  16. Hallal PC, Reichert FF, Ekelund U, et al. Bidirectional cross-sectional and prospective associations between physical activity and body composition in adolescence: birth cohort study. J Sports Sci 2012;30:183-90.
  17. Luke A, Dugas LR, Ebersole K, et al. Energy expenditure does not predict weight change in either Nigerian or African-American women. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:169-76.
  18. Ekelund U, Brage S, Franks PW, et al. Physical activity energy expenditure predicts changes in body composition in middle-aged healthy whites: effect modification by age. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:964-69.
  19. Tataranni PA, Harper IT, Snitker S, et al. Body weight gain in free-living Pima Indians: effect of energy intake vs expenditure. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003;27:1578-83.
  20. Cook CM, Schoeller DA. Physical activity and weight control: conflicting findings. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2011;14:419-24.
  21. Wilks DC, Sharp SJ, Ekelund U, et al. Objectively measured physical activity and fat mass in children: a bias-adjusted meta-analysis of prospective studies. PLoS One 2011;6:e17205.
  22. Kevin C. Harris et al. Effect of school-based physical activity interventions on body mass index in children: a meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2009 March 31; 180(7): 719–726.
  23. Mura G1 et al. Physical activity interventions in schools for improving lifestyle in European countries. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2015 Feb 26;11(Suppl 1 M5):77-101.
  24. Cesa CC1 et al. Physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors in children: meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:54-62.
  25. Frémeaux AE1 et al. The impact of school-time activity on total physical activity: the activitystat hypothesis (EarlyBird 46). Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 Oct;35(10):1277-83.
  26. Møller NC et al. Do extra compulsory physical education lessons mean more physically active children–findings from the childhood health, activity, and motor performance school study Denmark (The CHAMPS-study DK). Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014 Sep 24;11:121.
  27. Metcalf BS1 et al. Fatness leads to inactivity, but inactivity does not lead to fatness: a longitudinal study in children (EarlyBird 45). Arch Dis Child. 2011 Oct;96(10):942-7.
  28. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

PS: Pa še zanimivo predavanja na to temo s strani Yoni Freedhoff-a z univerze v Otavi. Vsekakor bolj zanimivo povedano kot moj poskus!

 

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Running head lamps – Petzl Tikka RXP and Tikka plus, Led Lenser SEO5

Along with winter’s weather comes also the shortening of days, which poses some difficulties for us runners, who hate to run indoors. Winter weather means bad road and trail conditions that in conjunction with still present leaves from fall and dark conditions pose non-negligible risks for ankle sprains.

Up until this winter I managed these hazards by running on shoveled pavements. But due to various reasons some changes were made for this season’s winter running. On most weeks I got running company in the form of my brother, especially for early morning long(er) runs. Throughout the winter we managed to run 2 – 3 times per week in the early morning, often starting between 4 and 5, so that we finished our 2+ hour runs well before breakfast time. And this early morning runs (or better, night runs) often in city suburbs on trails without lighting required investment into a decent running head lamp.

Petzl Tikka RXP (left), Led Lenser SEO5 (right), old Petzl Tikka plus (top)

Petzl Tikka RXP (left), Led Lenser SEO5 (right), old Petzl Tikka plus (top)

I had and older version of Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp, which was unsuitable to run with on everything but straight asphalt. And in the process of choosing a new headlamp, I also tested my girlfriends Led Lenser SEO 5 headlamp, with which I could run on nicer and wider trails, but pure off-road was still a no-go with it. So my brother and I opted for Petzl Tikka RXP, a powerful headlamp with rechargeable battery, as we didn’t want to go through millions of batteries.

The higher price of Tikka RXP was justified on the first test run! Although being slightly heavier with its 113 grams than Tikka plus (78 grams) and Led Lenser (106 grams), it sits really well on the forehead, far better that the other two. The headband fastens around the back of the head with two straps, so the headlight stays firm even when jumping or quickly changing directions. But the beast feature is of course the light itself with its reactive lighting technology. It has two LED lights that provide one wide and one focused beam pattern thus eliminating the “tunnel light effect” that Led Lenser has with its sole LED. This way the path itself is illuminated to the greatest degree, while the surrounding area is still lighted enough to provide some orientation guidance.

Before mentioned “reactive lighting technology” works well in practice too, as the sensor analyzes the ambient light and adjusts the beam pattern and brightness instantly and automatically to user requirements, thus optimizing burn time and reducing the need for manual operation. Or in short, the headlamp dims as you run on lighted street and then instantaneously lights back up when turning to non-lit path, effectively prolonging the battery life. This feature can also be turned off, but I haven’t experienced situation that would require me to do so, this technology really works well.

old Petzl Tikka plus, Led Lenser SEO5, Petzl Tikka RXP(from left to right)

old Petzl Tikka plus, Led Lenser SEO5, Petzl Tikka RXP(from left to right)

Otherwise, the maximum brightness is rated as 215 lumens for Tikka RXP, 180 lumens for Led Lenser and 80 lumens for Tikka plus. Depending on brightness, the rechargeable battery on Tikka RXP is rated from approx. 3 hours on maximum setting to 12 hours on maximum autonomy. In practice I needed to recharge it via USB port once every two weeks, after estimated 10 hours of running. It also has a battery charge indicator so that the possibility of running out of light in the middle of the workout is greatly reduced.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the value of this lamp and the enjoyment it brought to my runs in the dark. Being more on the “hard to convince” and “late adopter” camps I needed some persuasion for this investment. And now seeing how it expanded my running options and broadened the trail choice I am totally booked on running in the dark as well. It has become one of my favorite running accessories.

Just a minor disclosure at the end, I don’t see very well in the dark. Actually, my eyesight in the dark is lousy at best, so please keep that in mind when reading through this test.

Petzl Tikka RXP, Led Lenser SEO5, old Petzl Tikka plus (from left to right)

Petzl Tikka RXP, Led Lenser SEO5, old Petzl Tikka plus (from left to right)

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DIY Low Carb Energy Bars

The need for energy intake during prolonged activities is greatly reduced while being on Low Carb nutrition due to greater reliance on fat for fuel. And we carry plenty of fat to get us nearly anywhere. But there are still situations, where easily transportable, energy and nutritionally dense snack may come in handy. Hence I decided to make my own Low Carb energy bars for long trail runs or bike rides. After few iterations, I came to the following recipe for energy bars that are highly nutritious, have quite a lot of energy and do not melt in your back pocket.

1. First I start with soaking the chia seeds overnight, so that they become more gel like and easily digestible.

2. In a separate bowl I mix together following ingredients:

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar

The bulk of the caloric value comes from ground nuts (macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts), coconut flour and coconut butter, while 2 eggs, a bit of starch and whey protein powder are added as binding substances that enhance the binding properties of chia. Cinnamon and ground cocoa beans are added as flavor, while raisins contribute to that extra carbohydrate mental boost spark.

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar mixture

3. Then I add chia seeds, mix well and put the mixture into the pan with baking paper.

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar into the pan

4. I bake at 160°C (320°F) for about 40 minutes and then let it cool down.

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar batch

5. Then I cut the energy “loaf” into 16 pieces and wrap them in aluminum foil. They can be kept either in refrigerator or freezer for a very long time. But in my experience, the expiry date is not a problem 😉

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar packets

Nutritional information for the whole batch and for 1 energy bar is as follows.

B017 DIY Low Carb energy bar composition NEW

 

As you can see, one Low Carb energy bar has just shy of 300 kCal with only 11 g of Carbs, while 74% of energy comes from fat! A pretty nice composition and packed with nutrients!

Bon appetite!

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Moja zgodba – My Story (Žana Jereb)

B013 Žana EatingZa Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) način prehranjevanja sem prvič slišala 23. novembra 2012, ko mi Klemen pošlje enega izmed člankov prof. Tima Noakes-a, spodaj pa pripiše: “Tole bo treba sprobat!”. Takoj preberem članek. Zdel se mi je zanimiv, ampak ker že po naravi nisem tip človeka, ki bi bil naklonjen prevelikim spremembam, me ni prepričal. Bila sem mnenja, da tak način prehranjevanja ni primeren zame – saj ne bom mogla teči, če ne bom zaužila dovolj OH-jev. Takrat so moje obroke sestavljali pretežno ovseni kosmiči, testenine, polenta, sadje, mlečni izdelki s čim manj maščob in občasno kakšne ribe. Že samo ob misli, da bi morala krožnik testenin zamenjati za kos mesa in zelenjavo pečeno na masti – o ne, ne, nihče me ne bo prepričal, da je za moje telo to bolj primerna hrana.

In res ni trajalo dolgo, ko se je Klemen odločil, da na lastni koži preizkusi LCHF način prehranjevanja. Brez postopnega prilagajanja je črtal vso hrano, bogato z OH-ji. Močno sem dvomila v učinkovitost takšne prehrane, zato sem se bolj kot ne iz solidarnosti do njega odločila, da bom za kosilo jedla isto kot on, s tem da sem si zraven pripravila še neko prilogo (največkrat testenine ali polento). Zajtrke in večerje sva jedla vsak po svoje. Tiste dni, ko sem bila v Žireh pa sem več ali manj jedla po starem. Vedno, ko si je za zajtrk ali večerjo pripravil kaj novega, mi je rekel, naj vsaj poizkusim. Sprva sem se trudila vzeti čim manjši košček, saj sem bila prepričana, da so maščobe nekaj najbolj nezdravega, zato sem se jih izogibala na vsakem koraku. Vseeno pa sem ga z velikim zanimanjem poslušala, ko mi je pripovedoval povzetke knjig in člankov o LCHF prehrani in o tem, kako so maščobe neupravičeno na slabem glasu. Postopoma, ampak še vedno zelo previdno sem ga začela posnemati tudi pri zajtrkih in večerjah. Tudi sama sem prebrala kar nekaj člankov na to temo, ki so me še bolj prepričali v to, da je sladkor sovražnik našega zdravja, ki se ga moramo v čim večji meri izogibati. In če LCHF poleg tega, da pozitivno vpliva na naše zdravje, tudi pozitivno vpliva na rezultate v vzdržljivostnih športih…odločitev je padla.

Tako sem se konec maja 2013 zavestno odločila, da iz svojega jedilnika črtam vse, kar vsebuje gluten – in to tudi takrat, ko bom v Žireh. Od takrat naprej si tudi za kosilo, ko sem bila v Ljubljani, nisem več kuhala prilog bogatimi z OH-ji. Sam začetek je bil težak. Prve tri tedne se nisem počutila dobro, bila sem brez energije in že iz iztekov sem hodila popolnoma omagana. Če ne bi imela ob sebi Klemna, ki mi je iz dneva v dan potrpežljivo razlagal, da bo kriza slej ko prej minila, saj je sam na začetku imel podobne probleme, bi že po prvih nekaj dneh obupala. Poleg tega so me tudi njegovi odlični rezultati v triatlonu (predvsem na IM Lanzarote in kasneje na Hawaii-h) prepričali, da LCHF prehrana res pozitivno vpliva na rezultate v vzdržljivostnih športih. Testenin kar naenkrat nisem več pogrešala, saj sem dobila novo mojo najljubšo jed – jetrca z zelenjavnim pirejem. Sicer sem imela kar nekaj težav, da sem dojela, da živila kot so jajca, maslo in živalska mast niso noben “bav, bav”, ampak tako pač je, če prej tako dolgo poslušaš, kako so škodljiva. Priznam pa, da se še vedno izogibam ocvirkov, ampak sem prepričana, da bo tudi to minilo :-).

Vem, da spadam med bolj previdne osebe, zato potrebujem nekoliko več časa, da dobro premislim in se zares prepričam, kaj je dobro in kaj ne. Z vpeljavo novega načina prehranjevanja sem bila prisiljena tudi v to, da sem začela poslušati svoje telo. To mi je omogočilo, da sem lahko začela prilagajati LCHF dieto na način, ki ustreza mojim potrebam. In res, ko se je telo privadilo na spremembe, je počutje bilo iz dneva v dan boljše, kilogrami pa so kopneli sami od sebe. V zadnjem času se je začel napredek kazati tudi pri teku. Čeprav nekaterih treningov nisem opravila najbolje (predvsem na račun izpraznjenih glikogenskih zalog), mi je letos na vsaki tekmi dobesedno “letelo”, na nekaterih celo nad pričakovanji. Tako sem že v pomladanskem delu sezone izboljšala osebne rekorde v maratonu, polmaratonu in na 10 km in prepričana sem,  da so na vse te rezultate v veliki meri vplivale tudi spremembe v načinu prehranjevanja.

Kmalu bo minilo leto dni od kar sem spremenila svoj način prehrane in po pravici povedano: splošno počutje je super, tekla še nikoli nisem tako hitro kot tečem sedaj, zato ne vidim razloga, da ne bi nadaljevala v isti smeri oz. še hitreje :-)!

Žana Jereb

Osebni rekordi:

  • 2:35:55 (Maraton: Rotterdam, 13.4.14)
  • 1:14:27 (Polmaraton: Trst, 27.4.14)
  • 33:49 (10 km: Trst, 4.5.14)


B013 Žana RunningIt was on 23rd November 2012 when I first heard of Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet, when Klemen sent me one of the articles by prof. Tim Noakes and wrote bellow “This needs to be tested!”. I read the article immediately. And though I thought it was interesting, it didn’t convince me, as I am not very prone to excessive changes. I was of the opinion that such a diet is not suitable for me – because I could not run if I’m not consuming enough carbs. At that time, my meals consisted mainly of oatmeal, pasta, polenta, fruits, low fat dairy products and occasionally some fish. Even just the thought of having to replace a plate of pasta for a piece of meat and vegetables grilled on fat – oh no, no one will convince me that this would be more suitable food for my body.

And Klemen didn’t take long to try LCHF diet on his own body. He went cold turkey and removed all foods rich in carbs from his diet. I had strong doubts as to the effectiveness of such a diet, but I ate main meals with him out of solidarity and added my own carb rich side dishes (usually pasta or polenta). We ate separate breakfasts and dinners. And in the days when I was in Žiri, I ate the same as previously. Whenever he prepared something new for breakfast or dinner he told me to at least try it. At first I tried to take the smallest possible amounts because I was convinced that fat is something very unhealthy, so I avoid fat at every step. However, I listened with great interest when he told me summaries of books and articles on LCHF diet and about how fat has unjustifiably bad reputation. Gradually, but still very carefully I began to imitate him even at breakfasts and dinners. I too read several articles on this topic and was getting more convinced of the fact that the sugar is the real enemy of our health and that we should avoid it as much as possible. And if LCHF diet in addition of having positive effects on our health, it positively impacts performance in endurance sports… I made the decision.

At the end of May 2013 I stopped eating foods containing gluten, even when eating in Žiri. From then on I also stopped eating carb rich side dishes. The start was difficult. I didn’t feel well for the first three weeks, I was without power and even slow runs exhausted me. Without having Klemen around telling me that this crisis is only initial and that it will soon pass, I would have given up. And given his excellent results in triathlon (Ironman Lanzarote and then Ironman Hawaii), I was getting more and more convinced, that LCHF nutrition has really positive effects on endurance performance. I suddenly no longer craved for pasta, as I got my new favorite meal: livers with vegetable puree. Otherwise, I had some problems before realizing that foods such as eggs, butter and animal fat are not harmful, but that is the way it is, if you spend your whole life listening to such fallacies. I admit, though, that I still avoid cracklings, but this shall also pass with time J

I am more of a precautious person, so I need a little more time to form my opinion about things and make sure what is good and what is not. With the introduction of a new way of eating, I was forced also in listening more to my body. It gave me a way of adapting a LCHF diet in a way that meets my needs. And indeed, when the body got used to different fueling, I started to feel much better as the days passed and my weight dropped off as well. Recently, the progress became more apparent at my running as well. Although some trainings didn’t go well (mostly due to depleted glycogen stores), my racing performance really got another gear, performing above expectations. In spring season I already smashed my personal records in marathon, half-marathon and 10k and I am convinced that these results were largely influenced by changes in diet.

Soon, it will be a year since I changed my diet and to be honest: the general mood is great, I’ve never ran as fast as I’m running now, so I see no reason not to continue in the same direction! Or even faster 🙂

Žana Jereb

Personal bests:

  • 2:35:55 (Maraton: Rotterdam, 13.4.14)
  • 1:14:27 (Polmaraton: Trst, 27.4.14)
  • 33:49 (10 km: Trst, 4.5.14)
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Triathlon training books

Many of us amateur athletes are self-coached, for various reasons. It may be due to lower ambitions, because of financial constraints, lack of good coaches or something similar. I, for instance, enjoy coaching myself because I like experimenting with new training principles and blending them with established facts, observing effects and analyzing results. I firmly believe that training is pretty much art, with some science thrown in-between. There is so much to learn, how your body reacts to certain stimulus, what are its strengths and weaknesses, how your body is trying to tell you certain things. And by being your own coach, there is no one else to blame for your results. Or more importantly, no one takes credit for your successes  😉

With or without coach, some basic universal principles still apply. Following are the books which I use for coaching myself:

 

The Triathlete's Training BibleThe Triathlete’s Training Bible

Well, the title pretty much sums it up. It’s the training bible for triathletes, now in the 3rd edition. Very well written, with a lot of emphasis put on training basics, periodization, progress tracking and racing strategies. It covers all distances, from sprint to Ironman, has sections specific for women, younger and older athletes. So if I would recommend one triathlon book, this would certainly be it!

 

 

 

 

Your Best TriathlonYour Best Triathlon

Building on the success of the Triathlete’s training bible, in Your Best Triathlon the emphasis is put on training plans for sprint, olympic, half-ironman and ironman distance triathlons. For any given distance and training period, the training plans for all three disciplines are provided. Not an essential reading, but recommended for ones, who struggle to organize their training weeks.

 

 

 

 

Triathlon ScienceTriathlon Science

This book’s main purpose would best be described as a go to reference book. It deals with pretty much every topic relevant to triathlon training and provides scientific backgrounds. Each section is written by a respectable science writer on that field, so the books chapters are not closely “bound” together, and can be read as sections easily. Only for the most enthusiastic ones, who wish to understand the scientific foundations of triathlon.

 

 

 

 

Strength Training for TriathletesStrength Training for Triathletes

This nicely illustrated guide shows a plenty strength training exercises for swimming, biking and running. The exercises are organized by sport and muscle group, allowing you to quickly find the best exercise for their unique training needs. What I also found very useful in this book is the periodization principles of strength training that are also very well presented. Recommended for ambitious athletes.

 

 

 

 

Training and Racing with a Power MeterTraining and Racing with a Power Meter

This is a bible for everyone, who owns cycling power meter. The scientific rationale for using power meter is nicely presented along with training protocols and workouts. Also, great emphasis is put on testing your progress and searching your weaknesses. In the new version is also a whole section devoted to triathletes and their training and racing specifics. A worthwhile investment to get the most out of your power meter.

 

 

 

 

The Cyclist's Training BibleThe Cyclist’s Training Bible

Written in the same manner as Triathlete Training Bible, this book covers everything regarding cycling, from training, periodization to racing. A nice read even for us triathletes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runner's BodyRunner’s World The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster

The Runner’s Body offers in a friendly, accessible tone, the newest, most surprising, and most helpful scientific discoveries about every aspect of the sport—from how best to nourish the runner’s body to safe and legal ways to increase oxygen delivery to the muscles. Full of surprising facts, practical sidebars, and graphical elements, The Runner’s Body is a nice resource for anyone who wants to become a better—and healthier—runner.

 

 

 

 

Lore of RunningLore of Running, 4th Edition

Often deemed as the Bible for runners, this 900+ page reference book provides incomparable detail on physiology, training, racing, injuries, world-class athletes, and races. The only section that is not relevant is the section on nutrition. The author, Tim Noakes, repeatedly instructed all owners of the book to rip those pages out, as he now endorses a more Low Carb approach to endurance training. Since writing this book in 2002 he reversed his opinion to “get as much carbohydrates as possible” in your diet to “as little as possible”.

 

 

 

 

Which Comes First, Cardio or WeightsWhich Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise

Alex Hutchinson, a physicist, award-winning journalist, and contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, reveals the little-known and often surprising truths that science has uncovered about exercise. A book that ranges from cardio and weights to competition and weight loss, here are fascinating facts and practical tips for fitness buffs, competitive athletes, and popular science fans alike. Nothing essential, but a nice collection of various scientific topics related to exercise.

 

 

 

 

The Athlete's Guide to RecoveryThe Athlete’s Guide to Recovery: Rest, Relax, and Restore for Peak Performance

The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery is a comprehensive, practical exploration of the art and science of athletic rest. Sage Rountree details daily recovery techniques, demystifying common aids like ice baths, compression apparel, and supplements. She explains in detail how to employ restorative practices such as massage, meditation, and yoga. All in all a nice overview, but nothing vital that hasn’t been covered in other books such as Triathlon Training Bible.

 

 

 

 

Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and TriathletesSwim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers (Swim Speed Series)

4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swim technique used by the world’s fastest swimmers. Much of her emphasis is put on the high-elbow underwater pull, with many drills and tips for efficient swim stroke. Not an essential reading.

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Training Low

Carbohydrates are undisputedly ergogenic aids for endurance exercise training. There basically isn’t a single study out there that shows a negative effect of carbs on performance. So when going Low carb in training period, your training performance will suffer, either in volume, intensity or RPE (rating of perceived exertion). I finally managed to perform an analysis of my key training periods before Hawaii Ironman triathlon 2012 (High Carb) and before Hawaii 2013 (Low Carb), that confirmed my initial observations and findings from scientific literature.

I compared the last 14 weeks of training heading into Hawaii Ironman in 2012 or 2013 (three 4-week training blocks + 2-week taper), as this is considered the most important training period before Ironman race. In 2012 I was still on “traditional endurance” High Carb diet, in accordance with all guidelines and with no junk food. For 2013 season I changed to Low Carb nutrition at the start of the year, so the compared period in 2013 was well after adaptation to new nutrition (i.e. 8 months after the switch to Low Carb).

VOLUME COMPARISON

The first (and easiest) comparison is of course the volume of training, represented in km or hours.

B01101 Volume comparison

The numbers speak for themselves, as 11% reduction in total training time was hard to overlook even back when I was training for 2013 Hawaii. I averaged 3 h 03 min per day in 2012 and only 2 h 42 min per day in 2013. Only swim volume was greater in 2013, and that was due to broken ribs and arm lacerations in 2012, that limited my ability to swim. Both run (-18%) and bike (-18%) volumes were markedly lower in 2013, in accordance with previous observations, that I just couldn’t train that much. It wasn’t for the lack of time or motivation; it was just the volume that was killing me in 2013.

As far as the sleep goes, I averaged 9,0 hours of sleep per day in 2012 and 8,6 hours in 2013, so no major differences.

WORKOUT TYPE COMPARISON

The volume is only one determinant of training, with quality being probably more important. So the comparison of workout types may provide a better glimpse into changes between my 2012 and 2013 Hawaii preparation period.

B01102 workout type comparison

In running, I did a couple more interval training sessions and a couple of tempo and long distance workouts less in 2013 when compared with 2012. The major difference comes in other run workouts (i.e. recovery runs, “garbage miles”…), that I performed almost one third less in 2013! And the picture is almost identical for bike workouts in 2013, with the numbers of workout types quite similar except of “garbage miles” workouts (approx. one fourth less in 2013). So all in all, the quality of training was more or less comparable between 2012 and 2013, also confirming my initial feelings.

RPE, FATIGUE, WILLINGNESS TO TRAIN

As mentioned before, I also track Rating of perceived exertion, Fatigue and Willingness to train for every session. I assign a 0-9 value to each based on the following index:

Rating of perceived exertion Fatigue Willingness to train
1 – Very light
2
3 – Fairly light
4 – Moderate
5 – Somewhat hard
6 – Hard
7 – Very hard
8
9 – Maximum
1 – Feeling new
2
3 – Rested
4
5 – Average
6
7 – Tired
8
9 –Destroyed
1 – Very High
2
3 – High
4
5 – Average
6
7 – Low
8
9 – Zero

So another possible comparison between years could be based on RPE, Fatigue and Willingness to train criteria. RPE is excellent measure of how hard I went in each session (i.e. intensity) while Fatigue and Willingness to train are good indicators for overtraining status. By comparing these indicators for key workouts, I can get another view of the training quality.

I averaged these indicators for key workouts (i.e. interval, tempo or distance workouts) and for “garbage miles” workouts (i.e. all other).

B01103 RPE, FATIGUE, WILLINGNESS TO TRAIN

When looking through results, no difference appears in “garbage miles” workouts, whether they were run or bike workouts. This would indicate that intensity was the same as well as Fatigue level and Willingness to train. But when looking at averages from key workouts (i.e. intervals, tempos and distance sessions), the most notable difference is RPE, being quite higher in 2013 for both run and bike workouts. While on first thought this would indicate higher intensity and quality of key workouts in 2013, I would most probably ascribe that to typical characteristic of Low Carb training. Namely, for a given workout performed at lower muscle glycogen content (which is the case in Low Carb training) the RPE is higher at the same intensity or power. This fact is well established and proven in scientific literature, as subject always report higher RPE on Low Carb for the same workout intensity in comparison to High Carb.

Also, the track run workouts indicate the above mentioned fact of higher RPE at same pace as well. In 2012 I was performing 10x400m run repeats at 74 sec with average HR 150 bpm and 60 sec rest periods in between, while in 2013 I could only do 77 sec 10x400m repeats with average HR 150 bpm. But on 90 sec rests, so the overall intensity was substantially lower in 2013, albeit at higher RPE!

MY 2013 NUTRITION

Unfortunately, I do not have any nutrition data for the last 14 weeks before 2012 Hawaii when I was training High Carb Low Fat, but I would guesstimate that I was consuming well over 500 g of carbs per day. Probably more in 600 – 700 g region, as only my usual (cereal) breakfasts consisted of more than 200 g of carbs!

I started tracking my nutrition intake in 2013, so I have complete nutrition data for whole year. In last 14 weeks of training for Hawaii in 2013, my average daily carb intake was 199 g on 5.011 kCal consumption.

B01104 average nutrient intake

Average fat intake was 360 g, while protein at 231 g, which means that I got almost 2/3 of my energy from fat! As far as food groups goes, they averaged out as follows.

B01105 average food groups

CONCLUSION

Quite evidently, the most important training period (14 weeks before an Ironman) was lower in volume and at best similar with regards to quality in 2013 when compared to 2012. But as stated before, training performance is of minor importance with regards to race performance, as I train for races and not for training “bragging rights” 😉 The end result of different training approaches taken in 2012 and 2013 can be nicely summarized by the following graphic:

Comparison of 2012 and 2013 Ironman Hawaii race performances (2013 was Train low Race high Carb approach)

Comparison of 2012 and 2013 Ironman Hawaii race performances (2013 was Train low Race high Carb approach)

So where did this 38 minute (7%!) improvement come from? Some of it was evidently from better weather conditions, some were undoubtedly because of additional endurance training year, additional experiences… And I believe the major factor was also a change in nutrition. As far as I experienced until now, the Train Low Race High approach with regards to carbs has two major advantages:

  • Smaller reliance on carbs for fuel and correspondingly greater fat burning capacity, which means lower chances of bonking.
  • Greater training adaptation at lower (or the same) training stimulus (i.e. intensity and volume).

Especially the second advantage is most often overlooked and seldom mentioned. This may also be the consequence of quite limited research on this topic, as you can basically count studies that deal with this question on the fingers of one hand! But sadly, this advantage is in my opinion also one of major reasons, why people don’t stick with Low Carb training approach. They only see the reduction in performance in training, get scared and conclude that they are not suited to Low Carb.

In my opinion, based on my experiences gather so far and with regards to studied scientific literature, I could compare Train Low Race High Carb approach to altitude training. You are training at tougher conditions (higher altitude or lower muscle glycogen content) so that the races seem easier (sea level altitude or full muscle glycogen)!

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How I track my training

On 5th February 2000 I ran 3,7 km in the time of 15:45. This was my first entry into training log, which was in paper back then. 3.757 workouts later (until 2014) I get very nostalgic when holding those couple of papers that were my training log at that time. Now in the electronic age, I cannot hold my training log anymore as it is stored in a cloud. Being data geek, this is how I track my workouts.

My training log is of course in a form of Excel spreadsheet. The data entry sheet for specific year is arranged in rows, so that each row represents a date in a year. For each day I record the following things:

  • run training,
  • swim training,
  • bike training,
  • strength training,
  • In which part of the day workouts were performed (i.e. morning, AM, PM, evening),
  • weight,
  • and hours of sleep.

B00701 Daily data entry

For running sessions I firstly assign a label for the workout type, so that I can easily determine the intervals sessions, tempo sessions and long runs. Before the session numbers comes a brief description of the workout, while the numbers present duration, length, vertical gain, average and max HR and calories burned (as calculated by Polar watch).

B0070101 Run

Then I have 3 categories that present my Rating of perceived exertion, Fatigue and Willingness to train for that session. I assign a 0-9 value to each based on the following index:

Rating of perceived exertion Fatigue Willingness to train
1 – Very light
2
3 – Fairly light
4 – Moderate
5 – Somewhat hard
6 – Hard
7 – Very hard
8
9 – Maximum
1 – Feeling new
2
3 – Rested
4
5 – Average
6
7 – Tired
8
9 –Destroyed
1 – Very High
2
3 – High
4
5 – Average
6
7 – Low
8
9 – Zero

This allows me to assess my training / overtraining status. Furthermore, I also track in which running shoes I ran. The workout tempo and TSS (my Training Stress Score, more on that in a later post) are calculated automatically, and the yearly summary sits on the top of workout list.

I track swim training very unclearly, as I still haven’t found a suitable way to easily browse through main sets in a sea of drills. So I describe each workout in a list manner, then I note training duration and the total swim distance. I also note RPE, Fatigue and Willingness to train for that session and weather the swim was done in wetsuit.

B0070102 Swim

As with running, I first assign a label for workout type when logging cycling session. Then duration, distance, vertical climb, cadence, average power, HR and calories come, along with RPE, Fatigue and Willingness to train. At the end comes the notion of which bike, wheel set, tire and cycling shoes were used.

B0070103 Bike

I also track the type and reps / sets of strength exercises and their total duration.

B0070104 Strenght

On this sheet I also have some basic statistics of workouts I performed in the last week, month or in last specified days (i.e. number of workout, duration of workouts…). Beside this summary table is one very annoying cell, that shows me how many hours I am behind (or above) the planned weekly hours, which I have set at 21. If the cell is white, than I am on plan (at least based on duration), and if it is red, then I have some training to do.

B0070105 summary

This sheet in a workbook represents the data entry point, while I have some computed statistics on other sheets. They are weekly, monthly and yearly view sheets, which show weekly, monthly and yearly summaries.

B00702 Weekly view

B00703 Monthly view

B00704 Yearly view

I also have two other sheets, which show my cumulative yearly data for run / bike / swim volumes and run / bike / swim volumes in chosen time periods (i.e. in 30 days).

B00706 Cummulative view

B00705 Period view

Other various sheets include a list of all my races (122 up to this day), list and description of all my injuries, list of all my triathlon expenses, list of all my run track sessions and bike hill workouts and a list for yearly planning of training and races.

B00707 Races summary

B00708 Equipment summary

I find Excel really excellent program for my tracking purposes as it enables me any statistical analysis I choose. Over the last 10 year that I am using Excel, I updated this file gradually, adding various statistics and features along with some fancy formatting touches. This is the main reason for not using online programs like Garmin Connect or Strava as they limit me either in their statistics or at their presentation of the data.

I made a simplified version of my Excel spreadsheet for tracking triathlon training. Feel free to download and use it, if you find it useful!

Download “Training log” Training-log.xlsx – Downloaded 678 times – 257 KB

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Tracking body composition changes

Human body is composed of several materials, some of which are muscle, fat, bone, blood, urine… So measuring or tracking changes in body composition with weight scale is pretty much like observing total points scored in basketball games – 153 baskets scored doesn’t tell you who won and by how much! And when you factor also gut contents, gut microbioma (over 1kg in adults!), glycogen content (with all bound water), urine volume, hydration status… into body weight, the picture becomes quite messy.

Body fat caliper

Body fat caliper

So while I do track my body weight on daily basis (I am data geek, who thinks that even bad data is better than no data at all!), I now mostly rely on body fat measurements with skin caliper to track my body composition changes. The skinfold estimation method is based on measuring the skinfolds at several standardized body points to determine the subcutaneous fat layer. These measurements can then be converted into estimated body fat percentage by various equations. Although this method may not give you an accurate reading of real body fat percentage, it is very useful for tracking composition changes over a period of time. I mainly compare the skinfolds values (individual or the sum of values) over time and do not pay much regards to the estimated body fat percentage. All in all, the main goal is to reduce the subcutaneous body fat, so why not measure it directly!

The calipers are very cheap; you can even get electronic calipers for very reasonable prices! As previously described, I use mechanical caliper on 10 body locations (Chest, Abdominal, Thigh, Bicep, Tricep, Subscapular, Suprailiac, Lower Back, Calf and Midaxillary).

Skinfold measuring sites

Skinfold measuring sites

I made Excel spreadsheet for tracking my skinfolds, with body fat estimates from various equations from literature. The formulas used are from Parillo (9 sites), Jackson Pollock (7 sites), Jackson Pollock (4 sites), Ball (7 sites for general population), Faulkner (4 sites for athletes) and Wilmore (7 sites for athletes). But as stated earlier, I mainly check the skinfolds values.

On the next graph are represented my values from July 2013, when I started using caliper. I had average skinfold of 5 mm, and at just above 71 kg body weight the formulas estimated my body fat percentage to be in the range of just over 7%. Going into my A race of the year, Hawaii in October, I had a racing weight between 71 and 72 kg with 3,4 mm average skinfold (around 5,5% body fat). In my offseason (November, December) I gained back some weight to just over 75 kg and my average skinfold increased to just over 5mm. This indicates that most of my weight gain was due to muscle mass gain, in the range of 2 – 3 kg. Naturally, I also gained approx. 1 kg of body fat, mostly for insulation purposes 🙂 The increase in weight is intentional, as I am emphasizing strength work in this training period by performing a lot of leg and upper body strength work along with core strength exercises. The underlying reason is to build a solid foundation for demanding training sessions that will come later in the season.

My skinfold data with average body weight (red line) and average skinfold (green line)

My skinfold data with average body weight (red line) and average skinfold (green line)

So to summarize, I think the caliper is superior tool in comparison to weight scales for tracking body composition changes and far more useful in daily practice. That is if you are quite ambitious athlete, and need to lose only couple kg of body fat for that optimal race performance. When I will return to “normal” life without racing ambitions, I will gladly ditch the use of both weight scale and caliper and replace them with another proficient measuring device: my eyes!

So if you are an ambitious athlete, you can download my Excel spreadsheet for tracking body composition changes here:

Download “Body composition tracking spreadsheet” Body-Composition-Tracking.xlsx – Downloaded 1458 times – 69 KB

 

And  here are the preprinted notes for easier measurements:

Download “Skinfold measurement” Skinfold-measurement.doc – Downloaded 742 times – 509 KB

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Year in review – Training & Racing

I recently got reminded that the year 2013 ended and that it would be appropriate to publish also training data summary for the year, not just nutrition data. I basically do not view 1st of January as the start of season marker, as my 2014 season already started back in December 2013. But minor details aside, here are the summary data for 2013 season in comparison with all previous seasons.

My yearly totals

My yearly totals

The season 2013 could be summarized in one number as: -10%. That was my reduction in total training time. The reduction in training volume was highest at running (-18%) and was a consequence of my early season injury (raptured Achilles tendon in January). I was unable to run for 3 weeks, but recovered quite well after that, thanks also to excellent treatment of Tina Maze’s personal physiotherapist Nežka Poljanšek. Even though I increased my bike training at that period, my total bike training time fell by 8% in comparison to 2012. Swimming was more consistent this year, only 2% reduction in training time. I also did less strength work, -12% with regards to 2012. All in all, that corresponded to approx. 106 hours less training in 2013.

As far as the quality of training goes, I would rate it the same as in 2012, at best. My training performance was quite lower this year due to “Train low Race high” carbohydrate approach, as I’ve written previously. Not that I care, as the race results this year were markedly better, with AG win at Ironman Lanzarote (9th overall) and 2nd place AG (29th overall) in Ironman World Championship Hawaii. Even though the slower training times are a bit hard to swallow, the race times are what really count for me. This year in Hawaii I managed half hour faster bike split and went 5 minutes faster on the run for a sub 3h marathon!

Comparison of 2012 and 2013 Ironman Hawaii race performances (2013 was Train low Race high Carb approach)

Comparison of 2012 and 2013 Ironman Hawaii race performances (2013 was Train low Race high Carb approach)

Injury wise, 2013 was much kinder to me. Beside above mentioned Achilles injury, I only experienced 3 episodes of diarrheas and one instance of eye inflammation. When looking through the 2012 list, which consists of broken ribs, arm lacerations, sciatica pain, shin splints on both legs, multiple occasions of ear infections, couple of diarrheas, lower leg muscle strains…, I would say that 2013 was relatively injury free 🙂

So what so conclude of 2013? It was my best triathlon season so far, as everything from training, nutrition and race performance fell almost perfectly together. My new Low Carb nutrition approach was the major breakthrough for me in 2013, as I managed to implement it successfully in training and recovery. Consequently, my general well-being was better than in previous years, which resulted in optimal foundations for great race performance. The 2nd place in AG at Hawaiian Ironman was therefore confirmation of the correct approach and hard work.

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