Archive for vibrams

General nutrition

Posted in running info with tags , , on May 17, 2010 by naight

I thought I’d throw out some general nutrition tips and thoughts and experiences I’ve had, in a more general form than “lol this is wut i eat”.

First, on veganism. In the rare situation that people actually ask about what it’s like to eat vegan, it almost always follows a pretty standard form. It is an incredibly common question, “How on earth do you get enough protein as a vegan?!” (if the much less sophisticated question isn’t asked: “LOL what DO you eat?!?“).

The response to this is: believe me, I get so much protein. Sometimes too much. It’s ridiculously easy to get enough, whatever your lifestyle.

First of all, if you’re not doing some sort of musculo-skeletal (ie resistance) training or workout, your protein requirements aren’t even remotely as high as we’re often told needed. That is to say, if you’re a sedentary adult, your protein requirement will be about .4 grams per lb of body weight (source). You can find this information anywhere (even webmd talks about how this is a little bit HIGH).

You can ALSO easily find all the discussion on how eating too much excess protein leads invariably to obesity. Your body, the resourceful little bugger it is, knows (evolutionarily speaking) that protein is awesome. So it tries to save it. Except you don’t store it as protein, you store it as fat. Mmm.

Whereas if you’re an active adult, burning through the fuel and needing muscles to be rebuilt (some types of running, definitely weightlifting, intense yoga, climbing, hard biking, etc), this need DOUBLES. For active adult males, it goes up to ~.7 or .8 per lb of body weight.

MORAL OF THE STORY. Even as an incredibly active adult, (I, for example, weigh 180, and supposedly need 126 grams of protein a day), I get as much protein as I need with only a slight supplementation of my regular diet.

As my metabolism soars (as it has been the past couple weeks, as my week mileage has been steadily pushing over 30, and 2 days a week of strength-building activities), I’m just eating all the time. And everything I eat has at least some protein in it (with Top Ramen being the exception, ahem).

I don’t even think about “oh man I need more protein,” because I just listen to my body. After a hard yoga class, or working out in the gym, I crave protein, hard. The evening after a really long run? I crave a rich, heavy food.

Think about it this way: our bodies are these amazing, near-perfectly evolved mechanisms. Nature knows her shit, for sure. When my body needs a surplus of calories (like after yesterday, when I was running for two hours), or heavy, protein-rich food (like after any exercise where lots of muscle mass has been broken down and needs repair), my appetite follows suit.

This is the key to eating healthy. Just listen to your body! If your body is saying “dude we need more salad,” eat more salad. If it’s craving carbs, eat carbs. If it’s craving heavy, rich food, eat something higher in protein. The key difference here is knowing the difference between what your MOUTH craves, and what your BODY craves. Because they are oh my god so different.

So! Why do I drink Vega?

Well, I almost never eat breakfast. I’m just not hungry in the morning. Some people suggest that you should always eat breakfast (most important meal of….you get the point), while others suggest that you should just eat when you’re hungry. Your body knows best.

So I split the difference. And, as most of my stuff goes, I just experiment, and see how it works. Drinking a smoothie in the morning actually helps a lot. I feel better, stronger, for longer on my runs, it doesn’t drastically affect the rest of my appetite. And I can definitely use the extra protein, as every single run in minimalist shoes is, in essence, an hour+ calf workout.

This is getting too long.

TL;DR version: You don’t need a million grams of protein a day! Don’t over-eat protein, it becomes fat! Listen to your body’s food needs. If you listen carefully, you won’t be steered wrong. Find a BALANCE, and experiment with what works for you.

“Running is 90% mental and 10% mental.”

Posted in meals, running info with tags , , , on May 6, 2010 by naight

So, this past Sunday was the Avenue of the Giants half marathon.

I honestly had no idea what was going to happen, going into this. I had never run a solo-half before (though certainly many runs over 13 miles training for the first marathon, 6 months ago).

To complicate things, I was pretty exhausted. I hadn’t had a day of rest since Wednesday, and the 6 mile run I did on Saturday really tired me out, and had caused the deep bruise in my left foot to flare up (AGAIN). Gotta stop doing runs in regular shoes! Always makes it worse!

To FURTHER complicate things, I didn’t really have much rest the night before. I just didn’t sleep well in the hotel up in “Garberville” or wherever we were. Maybe 5-6 hours of sleep, total.

I thought, alright, let’s see if we can somehow pull of an 8min mile pace. I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain it, but wanted to try really hard to have even splits for the first and last 6.5 miles.

So, for the actual run, imagine my surprise when I looked down at my watch at mile 2, right as it ticked 15 minutes even. “Shit,” I thought. “I’m gonna have to tell everyone that my time is so shitty because I started out so fast.”

But, as the miles 3 and 4 creeped by, and I was able to hold the same pace, I fell into stride with a wonderful older lady (I found out later her name was Ann, she was 52, and such a sweetheart), and decided that I could just go for it.

The pace felt good enough that I was able to keep up conversation with her from time to time (50% of our talking was about my shoes, frankly), and I was even able to take 30 second walk breaks at each aid station and then catch back up.

Interesting note: at the second aid station, at mile 4 or so, I fell behind her about 75yards maybe, and spent the better part of half a mile trying to catch up. After “trying” for maybe 3 or 4 minutes, I wasn’t any closer than 50 yards, still, and had a very definitive moment. “Shit,” I thought. “If I don’t catch her, this is going to be exactly like the marathon–lose the pace group, lose motivation, finish way slower than I’d like.”

“So, NO,” I thought, “don’t let her get away!” So I picked up the pace, and slowly caught back up. Which was awesome, because once I caught her, I was able to just go back into ‘coast’ mode. So, when we crossed the “turn-around” point at mile 6.5, at pretty much the exact same time, we were 49 minutes in, on the dot. I realized I was JUST behind the 7:30 pace (I had lost 30 seconds over the course of 6.5 miles), but I felt great.

So did Ann, apparently, because I slowly started pushing a bit harder, and she most definitely kept up. And on the return trip, same thing: walked every aid station (30 seconds), and slowly caught up to her again.

At mile 12, I still felt good. My calves and feet were really tired (the longest I had run in those shoes so far was just 7 miles), but no real complaints. I had just about caught back up to the 7:30 pace (those 30 seconds had almost been whittled back off the time–we crossed the 12 mile mark at ~1:30:05–just 5 seconds over now!).

So, I decided to just GO for it. I started to really pick up the pace for the last mile. Funnily enough, this lasted about half the mile, because the whole last mile was a very slow uphill, and I got pretty tired pretty quick, and decided to just do a comfortable push, not really “let’s go be awesome” push.

Finish line time: 1:37:43. Overall, a 7:27 pace–which was a faster second half!

A few notes on a few things.

I ran these in my Vibram KSOs. As mentioned, this was my first race in them, indeed my first run over 7 miles. I was about 4 weeks into the training.

I felt great at the time, but in these few days after, my legs/feet have been paying the price a little bit. I’m sore in a bad way in my left foot (still), but it’s just a slight over-use strain, I think. I’ve been keeping my foot taped up (to hold it together, as when I put down pressure on it, and the tarsals spread, this is what leads to the pain), and it’s been helping.

Also feeling some slight irritation in my achilles tendon in both ankles, but this is more of a “I’m just sore, this’ll pass quickly” kinda thing.

The shoes are wonderful, though. I had like 9 million people ask me questions about them as I was running/before running/after running, and I even saw 4 other people during that day who were wearing them. It was pretty great.

As for aid station stops, the notion here is to take a slight break every 2 miles or so (whenever the aid stations are). These breaks serve two purposes. One, you can drink water more easily, not spill it everywhere, not get wet, etc.

Two, and more importantly, it allows you a slight breather. Allowing yourself, say, 13-18 walk breaks over the course of a marathon (of 30 seconds, at approx. half your running speed), is, on average, 15×15 seconds of time, total, lost. So, about 3-4 minutes longer for your overall run, but imagine the benefit: instead of running 26 miles in one go, you’re just doing 13-15 ~2 mile runs, with a slight breather between. The difference may sound marginal, or even counter-intuitive, but it’s a widely-used strategy. Obviously the elite of the elite don’t, but people have run sub 2:20 races walking through every aid station. I can’t recommend the walking strategy highly enough.

The beginning!

Posted in intro with tags , on April 30, 2010 by naight

Hi.  My name is Nate, and I am a vegan marathoner (in training). My upcoming race (2nd marathon) is on July 25th, the SF marathon.

A good friend asked me to start something like this, because, hey, people who are vegan like to do athletic things too, and maybe they don’t know how to do it right. So maybe you’re looking for a helpful guide for how to eat perfectly!  Well, tough titties, because I don’t do it perfectly. But it seems to be working out alright for me so far.

So!  The purpose of this blag will to document my training, my diet, and, generally speaking, how my day to day life is affected by, and affects, my performance as a runner and my general well-being.

A few things about me and my running history, I guess. This will be my second marathon, I’m aiming for a sub-3:30 time (my first was 3:56:45).

I’m also looking to complete the race in minimalist shoes (as seen here), and have been training in these ‘shoes’ for about 2 weeks now. This is actually a really large switch, and instead of aiming for a Boston Qualifying time (sub 3:16), I’m taking the training a little bit slower, letting my feet get used to these new shoes.