Periodizing Nutrition: Part 2 - Peak Base

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In the first post of this series I spoke about how I structure my nutrition during rest, low intensity, and relatively low volume. I broke down how my nutrition goals during those targets are structured.

This post is aimed at highlighting my approach to nutrition when moving into the peak phase of base training. In this phase I target hitting peak mileage, but retain a lower intensity. At times I hit training volume of upwards to 20 hours per week which includes running, strength work, and mobility work.

As I mentioned in the first post, my training targets change throughout the year based on the race(s) I am targeting. Hence, my nutrition isn't consistently the same throughout the year. Much like my energy demands and workout types.

Keep in mind that these numbers, training intensities, and volume are all specific to me. Lots of it has taken years of consistent training and experimentation with fueling.

Periodizing Nutrition: Part 1 - Rest and Low Intensity

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A question a frequently get when discussing nutrition is, "how many carbs do you eat", or "what are your macronutrient ratios?" Much like training volume and intensity it depends. It depends greatly on my current training target. The way I like to preface an answer to this question is by explaining that it reflects my lifestyle at the moment. If I did the exact same workout everyday then the answer would be much more cut and dry, but when peaking for an A race this simply isn't the case for me. Some days I am training very hard and metabolizing 2-3 times my resting metabolic rate, while other days I am in complete recovery and doing very little physical activity. This amount of fluctuation in energy demand requires a variance in nutrition.

This series of posts on periodization of nutrition is my attempt to break down my training/lifestyle into various targets and explain how I address each of these targets nutritionally.

The first targets I am going to break down include; recovery or rest, and low to moderate volume base building.

Keep in mind that these numbers, training intensities, and volume are all specific to me. Lots of it has taken years of consistent training and experimentation with fueling.

Behind the Curtain: Daniel's First Month

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When routinely asked by inquiring minds what part of the training program is the most important, the great Arthur Lydiard would simply reply with one word; "Everything." The strengths of a great coach like Arthur Lydiard is in his ability to step way back and take a look at the whole picture. He didn't get blinded by tunnel vision.

Arthur Lydiard also paid attention to timing. Although he thought everything in a perfect race build up was equally valuable, he very much understood the time spent in each phase of training was important. He often spoke of aerobic work as step one and took no short cuts in developing it. The result was athletes so robust that when they did interject higher intensity speed work they were seemingly bulletproof, and could handle the higher stress state of training without getting injured or burnt out.

March 2017

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Focus Points for March:

  • Complete max aerobic threshold build with a few progression runs
  • Increase weekly verticle gain to approximately 10,000 ft.

Rational for Approach:

Before I begin the real Western States verticle focused build I want to have a strong aerobic base in place. The first two weeks I focused a few runs on cutting down to mid five minute per mile pace. The second half of the month I wanted to put a bit more structured climbing runs in place. My reasoning for targeting approximately 10,000 feet verticle was because historically I have averaged quite low verticle in my running at around 5,000 feet. The increase to 10,000 feet will narrow the gap for next month where I will be targetting 15,000-20,000 verticle feet.

Behind the Curtain: Meet Daniel Weston

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Daniel is a great candidate for a behind the curtain look at individualized coaching, because he has variables in his daily life that many people juggle. Daniel is a husband, father of two boys, and works Monday through Friday at NFU Mutual in Warwickshire, England.

Daniel and I took some time to talk about his lifestyle, goals, training background, and routine. Like all clients I start with we begin with a questionnaire (see below), so I can get a base level knowledge of what type of program I would like to put in place. This gives me the intel to be prepared for our introduction phone conference.

Next, Daniel and I got on the phone and chatted about some of the specifics to his training.

My initial takeaways about Daniel:

  • He has a substantial history in the sport of running. He has a decade of 4,000 mile years. This places Daniel in a unique postition that will help determine how we apporach his training.
  • He has a well developed aerobic system and the leg strength to support it at the aerobic level. This is clear with his Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) that comes in at approximately 6:05 per mile at a heart rate in the low 140s.
  • His race experience indicates that he is very familiar with speed work, which he has routinely checked through weekend races from 10 km up to 100 km.
  • His commute routine provides the framework for consistancy in his training.

Behind the Curtain: Introduction

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When I decided to start coaching individuals back in 2013 I had no idea whether anyone would trust me with their training and racing. I was excited when I got my first client and was able to dive into the inner workings of someone elses lifestyle, training history, and goals. As more and more people began to reach out to me it became a process of organization; staying on top of everyone's schedule and finding the right platform to collaborate with them.

February 2017

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Focus Points for February:

  • Race and recover Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile (ended up rolling ankle and having to drop out after 37 miles
  • Continue aerboic build for Western States 100
  • Begin some progression efforts at months end.

Rational for Approach:

I ended up getting a bit more structured training in this month, since my ankle roll DNF at Rocky Raccoon healed pretty quick once the swelling went down. Without a full 100 miles in my legs the recovery process from a muscular and mental standpoint was quick. With Western States 100 still months out, I did a lot of heart rate based runs. I aimed to get a good portion of my runs at around 140-155 beats per minute and see my pace within that window drop. As the month unfolded I noticeably felt the efforts become smoother, so on a couple instances when I felt really good I pushed a bit into a progression effort. This training should provide the needed base to interject a few more progression efforts as well as some tempo efforts in March.

January 2017

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Focus Points for January:

  • Continuation of late December base building to prepare for race specific workouts
  • Implement progression and tempo efforts
  • Rest for Rocky Raccoon 100 (early Feburary)

Rational for Approach:

In 2017, my goal races are all 100 miles or further; Rocky Raccoon 100, Western States 100, Javelina 100, and Desert Solstice 100 Mile and 24 Hour Track Invitational. I believe with all endurance events a very robust aerobic base is key. The stronger the aerobic base that is in place the better the response my body has to any course/distance specific workouts I may add in closer to race day.