Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:09

Glycogen Depletion Training

Glycogen depletion training is a phrase that I heard from the Great MissZ about a month or so ago.  At the time I thought to myself:  Why would you do this?  Why would you purposely not use carbs to help fuel your workouts and races.  It wasn't much prior to that message from MissZ that Jeff Irvin said he was going into carbohydrate control so that when he took in the carbs on race day his performance would peak because of the extra energy. Both of these sounded somewhat absurd to me.  I am of the belief that if we take in carbohydrates on a routine basis that our bodies will be fueled for our workouts.  And by routine I mean eating a diet that consists of 60%-65% carbohydrates and not going for that midnight Snickers bar.  Routine meaning that you are getting your carbs on a consistent basis throughout the day so that you are burning what you need when you need it. [caption id="attachment_6518" align="alignright" width="300"]glycogendepletion_triathlon_ironman_training Proper Recovery Will Allow Me To Continue Getting Out For My Workouts.
Source: EAS[/caption] After reading MissZ's report about glycogen depletion training I decided to give it a go.  Last week was my first full week of doing it and I have to say that there was not a loss of performance during the training and maybe even a slight pickup.  The rules I laid out for myself were to have nothing prior to working out and only consume water during the workout.  The key rule though was nothing longer than 2 hours.  If I was going to go longer than two hours than I was going to take in my Prolong/Prepare mix during the workout.  The other rule was on a day with 2 sessions (1 in the morning and 1 at lunch) that I was going to eat lunch 1 hour prior to the workout.  Also, recovery was going to be key to this test.  Without the proper recovery all of this would be for nothing. After the second day of being on this newly discovered training plan I had lost 4 pounds and could feel myself getting stronger.  Now the change is not the only difference in my training, we also have to take into account the fact that I am getting stronger and faster because of the volume of training I'm doing.  The weight loss coupled with my body learning to use fat as fuel was a spark for me.  It has led me to be able to focus on my efficiency and not worry about the timing of the clock for when to take in a sip. Here is where the rubber met the road for me.  I decided to take this weekend as a race weekend.  This means that on Thursday night I am doing my big carbohydrate meal followed by a huge breakfast on Friday (1,000 calories of waffles, pancakes and toast) with tapered eating the rest of the day.  Saturday morning consisted of a typical race day breakfast (toast with homemade nut butter, sliced banana and honey along with granola and coconut milk) and then off to ride for 5.5 hours and run for 30 minutes. The results of the ride were great.  For 5.5 hours I felt terrific and never felt like I was struggling.  This was a training ride so we weren't going at race pace but I held an easy 18 mph ride in comparison to the week prior where I was around 17 mph.  In the end I rode 90 miles and in 15 minutes faster than the previous week (wind, terrain all play a factor of course) but I felt better.  The 30 minute run afterwards was 'easy' as I held 8:30/mi paces for the entire time whereas the week prior I came out at 8:30 but soon slowed down to close to 9:00/mile. On Sunday I had a 15 mile run with the first mile as a warm-up and the remaining 14 miles at tempo pace.  I ran the first mile in 9:30 and then held 8:15s until the last two miles which ended up closer to 8:30.  I ran the entire 2 hours and 5 minutes with nothing but water and two sticks of Hydrate, which is an electrolyte mix with only 4g of carbs.  I felt good the entire time and never had that feeling of this is just horrible I want it to be over. This type of glycogen depletion workout has worked for one week and I am doing it again this week to see how my body adapts to using fat as fuel and to make sure that I am recovering properly to enjoy my workouts.
Have You Ever Done This Type Of Training?  What Were Your Results?
 
Published in Train
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 13:11

Sleep - Is 8 Hours Really Necessary?

I was asked by Chloe of 321delish.com to write a guest post and I was honored that she would ask.  She and Steph have great information and as they say it is like getting two blogs for one.  I wanted to write about sleep because just a few days after I was asked to write the guest post the topic came up.  I am repurposing the post I wrote for them on my blog since it is a topic that should be discussed.  Here is my post: ==================== [caption id="attachment_3771" align="alignright" width="121" caption="Are these necessary?"]sleep_caps_endurance_athletes_glycogen_cortisol[/caption] Is 8 hours really necessary?  Maybe more or maybe less?  Why am I even approaching this topic you might be asking yourself, so let me give you a little bit of background about me. I take my training and racing seriously.  I am focused on becoming a better triathlete on a daily basis and it was through this that I started to wake up at 3am to eat breakfast and drink some coffee then fall back asleep for an hour prior to training around 5am. When I talk about the 3am wake up call I typically get a response of:  You are crazy! (You’re thinking the same thing right now aren’t you?)  Or the other response I get and typically through Twitter is:  Do you EVER sleep? (Yes, I do and I sleep as much as the next person I just have a different pattern.) My patter consists of resting (and I mean purely resting on the couch) starting around 8pm and not moving.  My body is in a state of relaxation and is recovering from the morning workout and day full of work activities.  I get in bed by 9pm and begin to fall asleep around 930p (If I haven’t fallen asleep on the couch already - told you I am in a state of complete relaxation.)  I then wake up at 3am and eat, drink and tweet and fall back asleep between 330a and 345a.  I then wake up at 445a and am out the door to start my training by 5a. So you can see from this scenario that I sleep anywhere from 7 hours to 8 hours, I just don’t get it the way most people do and I bet that I probably get more than most people. I have read articles from back in 2007 that there was no direct study linking sleep to athletic performance but just extrapolations.  Obviously this would do us no good because you cannot extrapolate the damage that an endurance athlete does to their body during their training cycle compared to the average person who is exercising for 5-6 hours and probably not at the intensity level of marathon or triathlon training. Since 2007 there have been other studies done and the most recent one I found included testing young males (18-27) based on three different sleep cycles.  They were asked to sleep for 8 hours in one week, then 4 hours in another and finally 12 hours in another.  The 4 hours was the sleep deprivation cycle and was used to compare against the other two cycles. The interesting part of this study, for me, is that the sleep deprivation was linked to metabolizing glucose less efficiently in addition to the fact that levels of cortisol were higher. The glucose levels for the group were no longer normal during the sleep deprivation week and resembled those found in the elderly.  Since we know that glucose and glycogen (stored glucose) are the energy sources behind the ability of an endurance athlete to perform one can conclude that getting enough sleep is very important. What the study doesn’t address is how much sleep is enough?  I don’t know that getting 8 hours is perfect but I do know that getting 4 hours is not enough and not just because of the glycogen stores, but because your mind is not in the game. You have a tendency to lose focus with sleep deprivation and this is caused by the increase in cortisol.  If your mind is not focused then the task at hand is going to be more and more difficult to perform.  Think about your best race and how well you slept the night before and think about your worst race and how you slept the night before. I am comfortable with the amount of sleep that I get because I very rarely feel tired during the day and so for me my schedule works.  You may need 8 or 10 or 12 hours of sleep to get your performance to be at its peak.  Just like eating and training there are going to be different responses for everybody but there are rules of thumb and I will go out on a limb and say you should sleep more than 4 hours per night.
How much sleep do you get?  Do you nap?  Do you feel more hungry on days when you do not sleep well?
Published in Train