run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Book Review

Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to fuel your body for stronger workouts, faster recovery, and your best race times ever --Matt Fitzgerald.

This book wasn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be. It was super technical, but, I would have preferred it to be super specific. Basically, laying out meal plans, perfect recovery meals, pre-race meals, etc. Instead, it kind of led you there to make the decisions on your own. Blah. If I wanted to make decisions on my own regarding nutrition, I wouldn't buy a bloody book about it.

This Fitzgerald guy has done his research though. And I did learn a few things... or least I had a few things that I already knew pounded into my brain.

I. The word Bolus means stomach. And a full "bolus" empties faster and the faster your "bolus" empties, the faster it delivers fluid and energy to your blood and muscles while you run. So he recommends waiting until 10 minutes before a race and drinking several swigs then. Because that doesn't give the fluid a chance to get to your bladder and he says that this can prevent us porta-potty stops. Anything before that 10 minutes... and you'd better pack some toilet paper with your gu.

II. Caffeine delays fatigue during exercise by blocking some kind of receptors... so he recommends taking one or two caffeine pills between 60 and 30 minutes before a race.

III. The most effective carbo-loading regime seems to be this: during the pre-race week, eat normally while training lightly until the day before a longer race. On the morning of the day before the race, perform a very brief, very high intensity workout. Consume 10 grams of carbs per pound of total body weight over the next 24 hours. The high intensity workout makes your body think that your glycogen storage is depleted and makes it work harder to create and store more! And by not carbo loading during the week, you won't risk weight gain (that will slow you down on race day).

IV. Sports drinks are a good idea before, during, and after a run. As much as I hate to hear this, I think I'm going to start trying to incorporate them into my training. When running for more than an hour, drinking is a necessity he says. And according to his chart, the best drinks are Accelerade (which is 2 bucks a bottle at target!!!!!!) and something called E3. They have the essential types of carbs, electrolytes, amino acids, and vitamins. As far as gels go... clif shots contain electrolytes, Gu does not. So, he recommends that if you use Gu, you drink it down with pedialyte... because the double carbs of gel and sports drink is too great for optimal absorption.

V. Glutamine will keep us healthy. Endurance running breaks our immune system down which makes it easier for us to get bacterial and viral infections (i.e. likely the cause of my two bouts with tonsillitis) and glutamine limits that immunosuppression. Glutamine is found in sports drinks mostly... but I'm going to do some research and see if it's not available in pill form.

VI. The optimal diet for a runner contains: 40-70% of your total calories to be from carbs. 20-40% from fat and 15-25% from protein. (That surprised me, I figured you needed more calories from protein than fat!).

VII: Low energy in workouts, unexpected fitness plateau and frequent illness could all be from not enough carbs. A lack of stride power, lingering muscle soreness, and frequent injuries could be from not enough protein.

Everything else was basically common sense or super technical. We all know to eat less processed foods, as much organic and all natural foods as possible as well as eating as many fruits and vegetables that you can. I think that reading the book helped make me more aware of my diet being my fuel. And that the leaner and healthier I am, the quicker I'll get to Boston!

(One thing that was never answered in the book: Whether or not the dude on the front is actually Matt Fitzgerald.)


April said...

Hmmm...some of those tips sound good and make sense, I guess. But I'm just so skeptical about really specific instructions like that. I mean, everyone's body is different. What works for some may not work for others. I guess his research is looking at the majority, but I don't know...It'll be good to expirement with anyhow.

Maybe I just don't like people telling me what to do:)

Amy said...

Yeah, I agree... and honestly, he didn't really word it like that... he just went over and over the pros and the research etc that backed up his claims... I just gleamed what I thought was pertinent... I'll let you borrow the book if you are interested. Almost all of his research is for runs over an hour... so... in that sense, it makes a lot more sense to me that you really need to focus on nutrition wise before, during and after a race.

Craig said...

Good work on the book, but I have to bust your balls. Maybe he said it in the book or something, but the word bolus doesn't mean stomach. Bolus is a mass of semi-digested food. SOOOOO when you eat/drink a meal, the meal is then deemed a bolus once in the stomach. It ends being a bolus when...well, you know when it ends...

Yeah, I know, I'm a dork.

I don't know if you'll read this a year later, but just fyi.

Amy said...

Jeez, dude... breaking out the scientific mumbo jumbo on my ass, eh?

So, since I don't remember specifically... I'm guessing that he probably meant that a full stomach contains a "bolus" and I just misunderstood.

Touche or whatev. Thanks for the info, though!