Last night Julie and I went to the Team in Training nutrition clinic at Playmakers. It was amazingly helpful. We learned a lot about the importance of eating the proper foods before runs, staying hydrated during runs, and eating immediately after runs. The two most helpful things I learned were:
- On short runs, the body uses glycogen as fuel (carbohydrates stored in the muscles). Athletes build up their glycogen by carb loading. After this energy wears out, usually after about 90 minutes of running, you feel as though you've hit a wall and can't continue. At this point, the body starts depleting blood sugar. To avoid "hitting the wall," the nutritionist recommended that on runs longer than 90 minutes, we should keep a sports drink, some candies, or sports jelly beans handy.
- The enzyme, glycogen synthase, that turns carbohydrates from food into glycogen for storage in muscles is most active immediately after exercise. If you ingest carbohydrates soon after exercise, your muscles store two to three times as much glycogen than normal. In addition, ingesting protein along with the carbohydrates increases the body's insulin response, and as a result, your body can store even more glycogen. Researchers suggest that you ingest one gram of protein for every 4 grams of carbohydrates.
This morning I took the dog for a 2 mile run at the trails. I usually spend my short runs working on speed, which didn't happen. My legs were tired, and I'm just happy I finished.
Fundraising is also going well! Thanks to my supporters, I have raised over $450, and I am one-quarter of the way to my $1,750 minimum fundraising requirement and one-tenth of the way to my personal goal of raising $5,000.