Training for the Speed Project - week four

This post is in collaboration with RealBuzz

Training for the Speed Project - week four - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Two months today the Artemis Arrows will be somewhere on the outskirts of LA running towards the desert to take on The Speed Project. 60 days to go and we’re on the upward climb towards race day(s). Training is ramping up with more double days, more hill sessions (killer hill sessions), more mind over matter, more of everything. It’s intense, but it’s also wonderful. It constantly amazes me how much progress I’m making. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve tracked any stats and it’s nice to see my pace quicken, even if traffic lights keep getting in my way (must plan routes with fewer roads!). My body feels strong and I’m really excited to see how much more progress I make before we arrive in LA at the end of March.


Monday - a 90 minute Classic class at Fierce Grace. I always forget how many standing poses there are in this sequence and after Sunday’s long run this class was tough, but so good!

Tuesday - first double day - a 30 minute run plus 10 x 10s hill sprints in the morning followed by a 30 minute easy run in the evening. I wasn’t particularly feeling my straight runs, not sure why but I think I found them a bit dull, but the hill sprints were everything. Plus it was pretty nice that my legs felt fresh in the evening!

Wednesday - an hour of yin in a warm room to ease out my muscles

Thursday - the heaviest day of the week. I set out to do three sessions, I ended up doing two and some stretches - a boxing session at 12x3 and time on a Watt Bike at The Altitude Centre. It was intense, it felt good, but I probably should’ve done the two interval sessions I had on my training plan.

Friday - REST DAY

Saturday - killer 60s hill repeats that nearly killed me. Felt ace afterwards though, totally invincible, which was just as well because we went to Ikea.

Sunday - 12 miles that never seemed to end through the pouring rain and brutal winds. Nasty. Necessary. Rewarded with Yoga Nidra at Fierce Grace.

Training for the Speed Project - week four - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

I’ve mentioned before that nutrition is something that’s been playing on my mind. I know nothing about nutrition, and in the context of such an intense training load that really scares me. I need to have the energy to train hard, avoid injury and do all the other things that life demands from me. Although my diet day to day is ok (thanks to Mike who masterminds what we eat) I really lack confidence when it comes to knowing that I’m making the right choices when it comes to my nutrition. It’s not really a surprise given the amount of conflicting information out there, and honestly if I wasn’t training for such a big challenge I don’t know if I’d even bother trying to get my head around it. But I am training for a big challenge, and understanding how to use food to keep myself going is going to be vital. Thankfully the experts at RealBuzz (as always) have my back, and over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing all the simple tips they’ve given me about how to fuel my running adventures. First up snacks, because there’s nothing I like more than a snack! Here are some ideas for easy, accessible and tasty snacks that’ll give you the get up and go. Or just to power you to mess around as much as Corey and I do.

5 Pre Training Snacks

Ideally you should eat a meal around 2 or 3 hours before training and then refuel with a smaller meal or snack in the hour preceding a workout, to ensure substantial nutrients available. However busy schedules do not always allow for such plans, and so it is important to ensure the food eaten before a workout, whether first thing in the morning or later in the evening, are a rich source of energy and nutrition, ideally around 30 minutes before a workout.

Fruit (in every form)

Whether by itself, dried in a smoothie, with spreads and yogurts or even in a bar (I’m currently loving banana choc chip Larabars), I used one to fuel my run last night and I swear it made all the difference!), fruit is a useful pre-workout snack, easily available on the go or as a more substantial snack, holding abundant energy and nutrient value. Bananas particularly are considered nature’s energy bar, filled with complex carbohydrates, ideal for energy whilst working out, and packed with potassium which aids muscle and nervous system function. This potassium can prevent any potential damages to the muscle and prevents cramps during exercise.

If you are struggling for time before a workout, you should replace any protein with carbs, as proteins take a longer time to digest and could lead to indigestion or cramps. Fruits are simple carbs, digested in the small intestine rather than the stomach, they offer an immediate source of glucose, delivering an instant but sustained energy boost. The brighter the berry the better, providing more sugar for energy and more nitric oxide to expand the blood vessels, providing a better workout.

Oats

I often start my day with oats, especially when I’m working an early shift and I always find they give me the energy I need to get through the day. Oats (particularly if they are steel-cut) have a low glycemic index, releasing energy at a slower rate, enabling you to exercise for longer time. They also contain a high amount of vitamin B which assists the conversion of carbs into energy, proving useful for the access of energy.

Oats also contain high amounts of fibre, and while high fibre foods can make you sluggish and bloated, the fibre oats provide can further assist the release of carbohydrates.

Wholegrain Bread

Packed with carbs, bread is an important food when lacking in energy and in need of something quick and easy to eat and prepare - I should know, left to my own devices I’d eat pretty much only toast!

Sticking to sourdough, whole wheat and grain breads will ensure a steady production of energy, keeping energy levels high for a more sustainable length of time. Sticking to sourdough, whole wheat and grain breads will ensure a steady production of energy, keeping energy levels high for a more sustainable length of time.

Eggs

I eat eggs nearly every day and genuinely believe they’re one of the best fast foods out there. Eggs and egg whites are ideal for those trying to build muscle particularly, but the benefits of eggs before workout can be felt by anyone. Eggs have the highest bioavailable proteins and so used more quickly by the body than any other protein products. Egg whites from a single egg can provide around 4g of protein and no fat, when trying to lean up or lose weight, eggs are helpful in utilising the benefits of exercise, particularly weight training.  Ideal as a morning or afternoon snack, by itself. 

Yogurt And Spreads

Greek yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, honeys and jams all provide a rich source of natural sugars and proteins, key for any workout and recovery. Greek yogurt contains double the protein but half the sugar as regular yogurt, providing the needed source of nutrients for energy and muscle repair used through the course of exercise. Spreads like almond and peanut butter not only provide the ‘good’ fats commonly associated with them, but also serve as a rich source of protein. Spreads like almond and peanut butter not only provide the ‘good’ fats but also serve as a rich source of protein. Perfect combined with oats, fruit, bread…the world is your oyster!

What to avoid?

It’s probably no surprise, but high fat foods such as fast foods, will also impact your workout, taking up to four hours to digest, high fat foods will sit like a stubborn block in your stomach. The blood rushes to your stomach to encourage digestion, decreasing the flow to muscles, affecting your movement and efficiency during your workout.

Working out on an empty stomach can also affect your exercise capability as glycogen stores are exhausted making exercise harder and slower, it is important to always grab a small bite before working out, even if only some fruit or yogurt, it’s better than nothing.


Are you curious about how I’m training for the Speed Project? Is there anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do! In the meantime, you can read all my posts about this adventure here.


* This post is in collaboration with RealBuzz who I have an ongoing relationship with and I receive benefits in kind from them from time to time.

**I am a friend of Fierce Grace Brixton and they give me free access to their classes.

***images: Anna Rachel Photography