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Discussion: Why torture yourself? Some...

in: Rosstopher; Rosstopher > 2009-10-19

Oct 21, 2009 5:30 PM # 
Why torture yourself? Some of us are just not into the morning thing. Research has shown that your best workouts are not done in the morning...don't remember where I read that but that was all I needed to hear.
Oct 21, 2009 5:35 PM # 
On the flip side, we're always being told to 'train like we race'. If we race a lot in the mornings...
Oct 21, 2009 9:37 PM # 
We do not race a lot at 6am.
Oct 21, 2009 9:46 PM # 
Hey, speak for yourself! We've got plenty of 7am or earlier (non-orienteering) races over here. And if I fly to the East coast and have a 9am start, that's like a 6am start!

Not that I often train in the morning, either, even as a morning person.
Oct 21, 2009 11:05 PM # 
Tero mentioned that he now does more early morning jogging before breakfast to get that feeling of late in a race when low on energy and fuel.
Oct 22, 2009 2:44 AM # 
hey hammer, i recall you urging against that approach :) I quite commonly spend half or more of my day before I get to breakfast....

The reason I want to do workouts in the morning is to preserve some semblance of a normal social life in the evenings. That will be the hardest sacrifice for me to make. I'm an evening person for sure, but I'm more ardently a people person, so I'm hoping to convince myself that getting up is better than never going out.

If I don't succeed in my morning endeavors, then I'm committed to being less social. That's the deal with Boris, and I think it's a necessary step on the road of seriousness.

:) one of my best races was the dawn leg of Jukola.. that was pretty amazing ( go CSU)!
Oct 22, 2009 11:28 AM # 
No my point was that you need to 'train the gut'. You can't race without eating and to learn to eat properly you have to eat well every day. Going for a pre-meal training in the AM is what you do every day since you a cup of tea doesn't cut if for a day with a U.S. sprint champs and a middle distance. So wake up a lot earlier. Do a training and then have a kick ass breakfast to start off the day. I just got back from my first early AM training in a few weeks (started at 5:45). The training is now done and I can spend the entire evening with my family and now I make the pancakes with some great maple syrup and a cold glass of OJ.
Oct 22, 2009 4:28 PM # 
mmmm pancakes :) I understand your point, I was just meaning to give you a hard time. I agree with your statement that athletes should be properly fueled before races.

I do wonder what kinds of research have been done to see how much difference timing has on ideal racing. Is ideal to eat 3 hours before a run? If I eat a large meal 12 hours before will I have the same caloric/energy benefits as the 3 hour before crowd without the need to be digesting while running?

I bet it comes down to finding a habit that works well for you, because nutrition is so often an individual preference kind of science.
Oct 22, 2009 4:35 PM # 
Ross, I also think pre-race nutrition is an individual thing. One of the things I want to discuss with you in details is pre-race routines and race preparation - trying to capture what it is that works for you and learning how to reproduce it at will. Feeding habits are an important part of this.
Oct 22, 2009 5:24 PM # 
If you want to be serious... nutrition is hugely important, and not just on race day. Hammer is right, you need to eat well every day. How/when/what you eat can really affect how your body absorbs whatever training you just did or are about to do.
Oct 22, 2009 7:15 PM # 
Ross --> less social? Unpossible! Me can, I am being honest, and I think its is pretty obvious sometimes :(, you can't :). I remember back in a day when Boris and I used to train late at night in Prospect Park, like from 9pm to 10pm, sometimes even later me think. It worked ok for me, I would get a pretty sound sleep after such late cessions :), not sure how it worked out for Boris though. btw. I hate just getting up in the morning not to mention any kind of training, rather train like at 11pm, but that's me.
Oct 23, 2009 2:37 AM # 
I eat pretty well. We cook a lot of our own food, which means we have pretty good control of what goes into our bodies. We eat a lot of vegetables, we choose new recipes frequently so we get a really varied diet, and we eat a lot of calories. I consume a lot of boxed cereal and milk so I get a lot of fortification from those sources, and I'm not vegetarian so I'm less worried about things like anemia.

just not sure that I've seen anything convincing about faster or better recovery in athletes that eat X number of calories directly after waking up in the morning. I've not gone looking for this data either, I just chafe under the idea that--- because it is intuitive to a vast number of people who feel uncomfortable when they don't eat a morning meal --- breakfast must be the most important meal of the day.

It's a mantra. It works for many people. But I want a mechanism of action or at least a well controlled study before I change something that works for me. Eating in the morning is a chore (bacon is a noteworthy exception to this rule).

There is a lot about nutrition that I don't know, and for instance, since I like the idea of eating directly after running, I don't need to be convinced of the pearl of wisdom that states "you need to eat protein as soon after a workout as possible, definitely within 30 minutes". I don't know if I believe it, but I'm happy to do it anyway :)

I'd be curious to hear what your nutrition habits are though, Alex... it sounds like you have strong opinions but having shared enough meals with you I also think your general philosophy on food is similar to mine ( i.e. eating should make you happy).
Oct 23, 2009 3:47 AM # 
My training partner (and best man at my wedding) Mark Tarnopolsky is a huge source of info on this. Get this article... I took a bit out from the text to prove the breakfast fuel needs...

From Tarnopolsky et al. 2005 European Journal of Sport Science, Nutritional needs of elite endurance athletes....

Analyses of current dietary practices during cycle
tours and stage races suggest that elite cyclists favor
pre-stage intake and post-stage recovery meals in
order to achieve nutritional goals (Burke, 2001;
Burke et al., 2001). For an elite cyclist who might
have a daily CHO requirement of more than 800 g,
this means that a substantial amount of CHO must
be consumed at breakfast. From a practical perspective,
ingestion of 200/300 g of CHO 3/4 h prior to
exercise is an effective strategy in order to meet daily
CHO demands and increase CHO availability during
the subsequent exercise period (Hargreaves,
2001). Ingesting this amount of CHO has been
shown to increase muscle glycogen levels (Coyle,
Coggan, Hemmer, Lowe, & Walters, 1985), and
given that liver glycogen can be substantially depleted
after an overnight fast, may also serve to
maintain blood glucose levels during exercise. There
is little evidence to support the practice of avoiding
CHO during the hour immediately prior to exercise,
however there is the possibility of adverse effects
such as gastro-intestinal upset (or rebound hypoglycemia)
in susceptible individuals (Hargreaves,
Oct 23, 2009 9:44 AM # 
Marc like doing pre- breakfast workouts because he feels it gets him into shape quickly, and trains his fat oxidation. In 2006 he was forced to train before and after school, which meant running to school in the morning before breakfast (at 6am) and running home after school at 9pm. He did a lot of his fast trainings in the morning, because after a long day of pulling teeth, he was too tired to work hard on the way home. He was in great shape in 2006 even though he had no time for himself, or for a proper recovery. He still believes that it was due to the pre-breakfast workouts and high running mileage.
Oct 23, 2009 11:41 AM # 
I'm pretty sure there haven't been any conclusive studies about benefits of training before eating in order to increase fat consumption. What Mike just quoted, about liver glycogen getting depleted overnight, is worth reading - your body prioritizes your liver (and brain, which uses a ton of glycogen) over your legs. I see no problem in doing easy training - where your are metabolizing mostly fat rather than glycogen - pre-eating. But if you're going to do intensity, you will have a higher quality workout if you have replenished your muscle glycogen first. Ever bonked? That's your body running out of muscle glycogen.

As for how I eat, you nailed it, I love to eat, and I love to eat good food. Regarding sports nutrition I focus primarily on the timing - making sure I always get CHO within 20min after training, preferably with some protein but I'd rather have pure sugar than nothing at all, and some CHO before any workout (not being a runner I don't believe that silly 3hr rule for small amounts of food). I try to plan my workouts so that they fall just before a major meal, so I can come home, have a snack immediately, and then make and eat dinner. I prefer my snacks and pre-workout meals to be something with a higher glycemic index so its easily digestible, but the rest of the day I go all hippy and eat a lot of whole grains - tons of fruits and veggies (they're generally cheap, esp. the veggies). I do take a multivitamin, just because I'm too poor to buy meat ever day, we probably eat meat 2-3 times a week, and I worry about iron being female and an athlete.

One of my favorite sayings was from a nutritionist at a ski camp last summer - "Eat to train, don't train to eat".
Oct 23, 2009 12:33 PM # 
>making sure I always get CHO within 20min after training,

especially important now that we have double races in one day (sprint and middle) or like you'll have at WOC next year Ross (double sprint).
Oct 23, 2009 4:09 PM # 
For some of us there are simpler reasons to eat breakfast. No breakfast ---> really hungry by lunch ---> overeating. Or snacking on junk. Without breakfast I'd be hauling around even more extra mass around the woods.
Oct 23, 2009 7:30 PM # 
I think ross is confusing just eating calories for breakfast (or any other meal) isn't sufficant enough... they have to be calories that actually help you not hinder. Potato chips don't count.... It is not a matter of how much but what you eat.
Oct 23, 2009 8:17 PM # 
Oct 25, 2009 11:06 PM # 
Oct 26, 2009 1:24 AM # 
Ross' pre-US champs breakfast was reportedly four pop-tarts. Flavor unknown.
Oct 26, 2009 2:56 AM # 
Oct 26, 2009 5:48 PM # 
4 generic brand pop-tarts ( strawberry) I was pretty sure they were 200 calories each, so that's 800 calories. Plus I had a mug of tea with about 50 calories of granulated sugar, and some chocolate soymilk so let's just round up to 900-1000 calories in the morning.

I felt great, was racing fast, and I'm pretty sure that physically I was just about ideally prepped for the race. My warm-up was good and my legs felt rested.

I like oatmeal, but I do tend to taste oatmeal at the back of my throat the entire race if I have it for breakfast. I understand what Hilly is saying that all foods are not created equally, and I know she personally doesn't believe in the "a calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie" view of nutrition.

Hammer, I haven't read the above article yet, but it does seem like it contains a lot of good data. Abstract makes it sound like it's more important for those people needing 800 grams of Carbs a day... my caloric needs aren't that high. That being said, I think it's wisest for me to stop being so recalcitrant on this issue, because it can be really frustrating to argue with someone who is just holding out because he (in this case me) is being stubborn.

the wikipedia page on glycemic index is a fun place to visit

This discussion thread is closed.