Nipples & Nails & Marathon Tales - What to do in the last days/hours

So you've spent anywhere from 12-16 weeks getting in marathon shape (please tell us you have!) - you've followed a plan (I mean you actually printed one off and stuck it on the fridge a did 90% of the runs right?) you did a tonne of essential things like making sure you had run a stack of miles in your new trainers, you've worn all your kit a few times on long runs (to assess runners nipple and crotch-rub - men and ladies) and you really have "properly" tested your nutrition - haven't you?

Ah! Excellent- as coaches daznbone are proud of you for getting this far. Marathon training periods, like life, are wonderful journeys where you need to love the whole journey - don't obsess about the end game - the marathon itself is but just one piece of this awesome puzzle.

So you are in the last 48 hours before the race. What can you do.

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Firstly don't reinvent the wheel. Literally zillions of runners have successfully done marathons and most of them have printed a checklist from the internet. The legend James "Curly' Williams has - go grab his pre-race checklist- print it off and do it.

What daznbone want to share are the fringe things - the marginal gains stuff - the bits to put your Chimp back in it’s brain cage.

1. Love thyself - love thy nails and nipples- whatever happens Marathons are a healthy pursuit and therefore be proud that you are doing this. You can extend the love by getting out some nail clippers and nail files and trimming your toe-nails **BE CAREFUL - don’t overtrim - that can be a disaster - go slow and be gentle - climax with some sweet smelling oils. Love your feet and they will reward you. Same applies to crotch and nipples - don't slack on creams and jelly that will prevent rashes - nothing worse that dealing with blood, blisters or sore bits whilst in mid marathon flow

2. Be British - Obsess about the Weather. So much can dictate your marathon flow by the change in weather. Be prepared. You may end up hanging around for a while at the start - don't get cold - take something that can be thrown into one of the ReRun boxes by the side (ahem....an idea me thinks). Will your head and face and neck get exposed to the soaring sun - get some sun-cream on BUT please don’t put it near your eyes - don't get irritable sweaty/cream eyes - you will need your eyes so look after them. If it rains (or even if it’s scorching hot and the organisers have laid on water sprinklers) be careful of chaffing - Please check Point 1 again - do whatever you can to prevent getting rubbed nipples or wet-feet syndrome. Some runners swear by “vaselining” their feet - some put blister powder on them - they all make sure that their socks are fairly new - please don’t wear your lucky old socks - those blisters won’t be lucky old blisters!

3. Be Kind - Be Community focused - every book and guru would always advise you to think of others before yourself and this is sensational advice for marathon runners. Take away some of your chimp brains processing power and immerse yourself in the welfare of others. Do it during your entire journey too and from the event as well as crucially during it. Take an extra stick of Tailwind and #sharethatlove

4.this superbly leads us onto your Tailwind Strategy - most importantly (way more important than you, your health, the wider kindness and spirit of humanity) is your Tailwind strategy. You are duty bound as a citizen of this earth to get it right. We cant have marathon runners getting powder up their noses - seeing your self-flagellate at the side of the road trying to open up stick packs. Be mentally ready to show some style and decorum with your Tailwind. Get ready to inject some pace into your stride and soon as you have effortlessly induced your favourite Berry Burst or Lemon. Make other runners aware of the simple change they need to make to get the same glorious gains we take for granted by being Tailwind complete

Get number 4 right and the rest will follow with ease. Any concerns just call the daznbone Tailwind support hotline. Together we can spread the right type of love.

Night Running - Training YOUR Chimp

Last night Bryn and #daznbone took the train from London Marylebone and headed out to Aylesbury to embark on a planned 90km “night run”.

What followed was a tough battle that ended in a #dnf of sorts and whole set of introspection of our “inner chimp”

Our feeds have seen lots of questions on the subject of ultra-distance night runs from a logistical to a why? level.

So why do a 50 mile plus night run. Obviously “why not”. We have seen an explosion in the running scene and many weekend parks are flooded with excitable park-runners as well as a huge variety of 10 kms, city half and full marathons and even trail events and races. However the night scene is still sacred. When you catch a commuter train out at 6-9pm you will barely see anyone else in their running gear. To see Bryn get his legs out and fumigate the carriage with his Deep Heat, whilst we set about filling endless water vessels with TailWind and Bryn his Maurten - it was carnage. The first real “sighting of the chimp” came (on the train!) when the night time legs and body just had this feeling of seizure. It’s the body and mind trying to tell you to be in your comfort zone (bed + in front of the laptop) and not fiddling with your replacement battery packs and your Petzl night lights

Here is something that is going to surprise you - sometimes at night it gets very dark.

This can play havoc for your long run. Last night the ground on the canal was very boggy with constant huge puddles. It is only natural to spend the first few hours trying to go around these (before you give up trying - puddles ALWAYS win). So what do you do - well you take your life into your own hands and you skirt close to the canal edge (ask Debbie Consani what it’s like to fall into the canal - no fun) OR you run ragged next to the trees/undergrowth. Last night I slipped (because I couldn’t see that well and my Petzl Tikka headtorch isn’t great) and I fell into a branch and my watch strap broke. No major drama but it meant that I carried my watch in my hand for a couple of hours and I am sure that it played havoc with my Heart Rate readings (way higher that Bryn’s!!!

Bryn had the opposite issue - his Petzl NAO was awesome*** and it lit up the boggy canal path for us. However it has 4 million settings and we already drained the first set of its batteries after a couple of hours only to find that he had it on industrial aircraft hanger mode. As Bryn turned it around to take a look at it he screamed “I’ve burnt my retina” and he basically couldn’t see straight for the next 15 minutes

When you are on an English canal these things aren’t that serious when compared to a mountainside in the Alps or 300km into the Tor de Geants and I guess this is the perfect way to segue back to the Chimp. Why because you need tips and tricks to be prepared for the Chimp.

Lesson 8: Your Ultra Running Chimp will say “Why are you running at night on this boggy canal - it’s dark and dangerous and if you fall into this canal you will die of Hyperthermia - Go get an Uber home”. You need to say “Look chimp when I was doing the Lakeland 100miler that was a proper ultra - this is a mere shuffle along a canal path” Summary - Punch the Monkey and carry on.

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The Chimp (Paradox) idea was brought to life by the brilliant mind of Dr Steven Peters - the guy that helped kickstart the Team Sky cycling revolution. Put simply your chimp is a constant noise in your brain telling you to eat a second Krispy Kreme donut, to switch off your alarm that you set for a 5 am early run start and how you can (and should for your health and well-being!) do less. The Chimp is all-powerful and you MUST train your chimp.

If you are going to do more ultra runs you will have a series of highs and lows. It’s a fact. I have never met any ultra-runner who has not had nausea that could become the thing that brings you to a stop, small niggles that feel like they could sabotage your run and self-doubt on just about every decision you’ve made about your training, kit choice, your race goals - the list is endless.

Bryn and I bashed the heck out of this last night. Too cold and wet and boggy underfoot - lets stop. Niggles might become injuries - we’ve got to stop. We’ve chosen to bring the wrong footwear - surely we would be mad to carry-on. As the first few hours of strong running became classic mid-run sketchy running we needed to go-deep and PUNCH THE CHIMP - when the chimp said you can stop and eat at 54 KM - Bryn put his head down and took it to 59 km. It was immense - best period of the whole night-run. This needs to go into the “locker” so that when Bryn is in Basel for his 24 hour event he knows he can bring this experience out of the locker and go “I did that in the middle of the night on a waterlogged course - I can do more basking in the sunshine of a May Swiss day - isn’t that right Bryn?

So yes the niggles looked painful and to end the 90 km training night run after 70 km was a sensible idea. daznbone are certain that we got all the great things you can get out of this night run:

  • We tested our kit - some of it sucks and we need some different approaches for wet weather and boggy underfoot conditions. More trialing of Head-torches. Using mine at Arc of Attrition would probably lead to serious mountain path disaster

  • Nutrition plan from James @KOMFuel - was faultless - no bonks - no sickness - no need to eat too much outside of our planned drinks #don’tmentionthescotcheggs. We carried a lot of stuff (which was heavy) and we needed a 24hr petrol station for water

  • Logistics - Bryn did an awesome job researching the run. You always think that canal routes are straight-forward but there was at least one major diversion and you need to be ready for when canal routes fork off. The route was waterlogged - it could have been worse - but we needed to be prepared to come off the canal if it had been any worse

  • Expect the Unexpected - you are going to get spooked in night runs - you will see things that aren’t real and noises will assault you to the bone. Coming close to the night-time Wildlife is awesome but they will also attack you if you surprise them. The stormy weather meant that there were many uprooted trees blocking the path and many branches and debris perched ready to fall from heights

  • We undoubtedly were “challenged by our chimps” - Chimps are devious and playful and they will not stop ever. Be prepared to play games back and give your chimp no room for self-expression. You are here to get a night-run done and whatever you do out there will undoubtedly give you an awesome story next day at home/work/school

DaznBone are planning a night-time run down to Brighton in the next few months and we will be kicking off a series of these throughout the year. If you fancy joining us get in touch

*** daznbone can share a 10% discount on any item at the awesome UltraMarathon Store - just use the code daznbone

Is Porridge the Devil?

Simon (part of the dazNbone Spring 2019 Marathon team) asked me today:

“Porridge for breakfast? Whole oats, skimmed milk and a few raisins microwaved.  Allowed or food of the devil?”

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Simon we believe that porridge is a great choice for breakfast but ultimately dazNbone would recommend that you try and avoid having it every day.

Porridge is a great choice for marathon race-day food and therefore we would definitely recommend that you eat as part of a balanced weekly breakfast. The secret to a great porridge is that you can choose what type of milk to use (dazNbone loves Rude Health Almond Milk) and you can choose all kinds of toppings to inject some super-food power. Try adding some omega3 triggering nuts (walnuts and hazlenuts or some sunflower seeds) . Another gem is Chia Seeds - a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. For the sweet tooth monsters you can go for some sugar alternatives like honey or agave syrup. Don’t forget the Scottish trick to add a little salt.

So if the plan isn’t to eat Porridge every day here are some Breakfast Options:

Eggs:

The best habit you could form is to eat more eggs. Athletes can get a huge amount of value out of eggs - Eggs are rich in amino acids, choline and vitamin D, all of which are essential to healthy muscle growth. Researchers say that eating eggs in the morning can reduce your daily cravings for fatty foods by up to 400 calories, making eggs useful for fat loss efforts too!

Ideally have an omelette once or twice a week because that often encourages a zero bread choice and you can add loads of other good stuff in - cheese - peppers - onions and chilli flakes - always get the morning juices flowing with some spice action. Amazingly there are thousands of different ways to make a killer omelette - love this link to discover who makes the best

dazNbone '#toptip - If you are super crazy then always make more salad in the evenings and put salad with your omelette.

Sourdough Bread Plus:

It's total hipster but Avocado on good toast is a great protein source. Once again look to spice up with pepper and harissa and chilli flakes.

On a marathon race day dazNbone love Banana and peanut butter - Again brilliant protein source. We often read that other runners love to get a sweet&savoury mash-up and many love peanut butter and jam combo. You will often find this supplied at “aid stations” on longer runs. You can find some great sourdough toast recipes in one of our go-to books by the brilliant Anita Bean.

Bircher https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/oct/23/how-to-make-perfect-bircher-muesli-recipe

Not sure if you have every tried it but you can get a kilner jar and fill it with some porridge oats and some milk - you add some fruit/nuts and maybe chia seeds and leave in the fridge over night and you have a delicious breakfast ready in the morning. One of the new kids on the run-food block is 33 Shakes - check out their Chia Seed Gel which is getting rave reviews from runners looking for alternatives to gels.

So there you have it Simon - Mix up your breakfasts with these options and you will get leaner and importantly race day ready.

Skipping Breakfast: Fasting is becoming a more popular approach in the sporting world. A new blog post will follow on this but just to say that a great pearl of wisdom is to “eat when you are hungry”. dazNbone have tried this ourselves - wake up in the morning - have some water but only eat if you genuinely feel hunger pains. In a 10 day experiment we didnt feel any hunger pains at all and left out breakfast for all 10 days. More to follow on whether we believe this is a good idea for you marathon runners or not.

As always please leave your helpful/healthy comments

24 Hour Ultra Energy

#bone is 24 hours away from running 2018 version of the Tooting Bec 24 hour event - a somewhat iconic affair to many in the UK ultra scene

This is the first time #bone has ever raced around a running track but is his 3rd 24hr event following on from a 113 mile finish (and win! with #daz) in the 2014 Kent Ultra and 131 miles in 2017 World Champs in Belfast.

24 Hour Fuel

Nutrition has been a key area (and love) for #bone as he looks to run the perfect tummy/gut race as well as a PB distance wise.

Luckily for #bone he had the chance to catch up with the brilliant James Ellis from Endure Nutrition - James was kind enough to spend quite a bit of time advising on the food plans for the 24 hours as well as the pre-race meals. (***Remember that this is James kindly giving advice the same week of the event and not as part of longer term designed plan - which I would strongly advise runners using him for).

Some important things to know about #bone and his eating habits:

This is what #bone was eating in the few months leading up to Belfast 24hr in 2017:

  • Lots of chicken (for protein)

  • No bread

  • Almost Zero Carbs

  • Milk in porridge (plenty of dairy in form of cheese/yoghurt)

  • No snacks

For the past few months leading up to Tooting:

  • No meat

  • Some fish (mostly Salmon or anything fresh and well-sourced)

  • No dairy

  • Daily home-baked Sourdough bread - with Avocado or with Banana/Peanut Butter

  • Some carbs + Dark Choc

So here is the plan tweaked with James (and “Did it work - will follow next week!!!):

Pre-race evening meal - Pasta with Salad with good beans + nuts (pumpkin/flax/walnuts)

Breakfast (designed with James to be taken later in morning) - Sourdough bread with Banana/PB - key here is “wholefoods” - Coffee/Almond Milk + 2 litres of water

30 minutes before race Banana

First 90 minutes of race = NOTHING James - “The first 90 minutes is because your glucose stores in muscle and liver will be high and these will start to deplete after 90 minutes, so you need to start trying to top them up. At our speeds you are probably burning 50:50 carbs:body fat on a race, so there’s plenty of energy there to use up.”

RACE FOR REAL:

1. You will burn between 6-800 kcals an hour depending on where you are in the race but… 

2. You can only really ingest about 300kcals an hour, say 200 in carbs the rest in fat/protein.

3. If you have more than this, you’re sending your blood flow to your guy (which is what causes the tummy troubles

4. 200cals in carbs is around 50g an hour. To give you an indication of what that might be:

i. Tailwind is 100kcals (25g carbs, almost all pure carbs) per 500ml

ii. One Peak Pinole Ultra Bite Ball is around total 80kcals (9g of carbs, plus fat and protein)

iii. A medium banana is around 110 kcals (25g, mostly carbs)

THEREFORE my race plan mostly consists of a hour by hour with these ratios of Tailwind/Peak Pinole and the occasional fruit

With some of race meals kindly provided by the Sri Chimoy team.

WILL IT WORK - LETS HAVE A CRACK AND SEE x

daznbone love super Berries

The secret is out of the bag.

daznbone are totally obsessed by berries.

Why the obsession? Well its 3 things that join in the middle.

1. Berries ARE a Superfood - blackberries are loaded with potent antioxidants including anthocyanins, flavonoids, poylphenols, and cancer-fighting ellagic acid. In fact, in terms of sheer concentration of antioxidants, blackberries rank higher than almost any other foods. A 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported that blackberries’ antioxidant content is far above that of other foods. 

2. Berries are found on the side of great run-routes - as the cover photo taken by daznbone along Lea Valley near Hackney Marshes London shows - you don't have to travel too far along a trail in June-September to find a precious blackberry. If you need a little "pick me up" when out on a long run they give yourself a boost by picking a few. TOP TIP - animals pee and the rest on the lower ones - so go high and you have the best chance that they are good to eat

3. If you know 1 and you use 2 wisely then #sharethelove - take a back-pack and go pick a tonne of berries. Bring them home (WASH THEM!) and then bang them in a super smoothie. Pick loads and make a cake. This is the absolute bomb https://www.exceedinglyvegan.com/vegan-recipes/baking-desserts/blackberry-chocolate-almond-cake

Great Berry Facts:

The shiny black fruits are not actually berries, but technically “aggregate drupelets.” That is to say blackberries are composed of many little round fruit bodies containing seeds, all of them clustered together in the shape of a raspberry. Each fruit is more like a cluster of grapes than a single berry.

Brilliant Podcast Recommendation:

daznbone love Dr Chatterjee - get two copies of his 4 Pillar book for you and a best friend. Check out his podcast with Dr Lisa Mosconi - great listen when running and discover what foods you should be eating to fine tune your "foggy brain" HINT BERRIES..... https://drchatterjee.com/episode-18-best-foods-nourish-brain-neuroscientist-dr-lisa-mosconi/ 

 

Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Ultramarathons Part 2

This is Part 2 of our Nutrition (Top 10) Tips - Please do share your thoughts and advice below

6. Where's my Salt gone? You'll find an army of runners who will look into your sunken eyes and scream "Have you taken your S-Caps" - what the heck. Well these are basically salt tablets. Common wisdom will have you consume some regular intake of these to balance your electrolyte needs. The chaps at TrailandUltrarunning nail this perfectly in their 5 top mistakes blog post 

Badwater - Hottest Ultramarathon on "this planet  - http://fellrnr.com/wiki/2013_Pacing_Badwater_135

Badwater - Hottest Ultramarathon on "this planet - http://fellrnr.com/wiki/2013_Pacing_Badwater_135

7. Dealing (with) Hot Hot Hot - When it gets hot the brain (gut as well as the one up top) just doesn't say EAT. When you often try and override the brain and your force something down you end up by being sick or you want to be sick or you are just overcome by Nausea. It will happen (it's one of the most common things that you read about is post race blogs for sure). It's worth taking advice from the kings of heat at Badwater . In their University section they advise "Liquid meals are best in extreme conditions, because they are digested quickly and the blood used in the process is able to return to the extremities to help cool the body surface." If you have a great crew then you may want them to be constantly supplying "ice version". So frozen gels and frozen tailwind ice-pops!!!!

8. Remember what happens in the "Drop Bags vs Aid-Stations" Game - In many pro-race times of reflection I often think about all those 'unclaimed' items from the drop bags. Those items that you so lovingly sourced and paid for and that you never get to see or enjoy. Why? Well you typically put stuff in them that when you arrive at the check-point you find that a) you don't want them at that time b) you don't feel like carrying too much and so you just take essentials c) you still have stuff from the last drop bag and the aid-station table has more of those things anyway. I cannot pretend to have a solution here. But just to say maybe its worth putting a few curveballs in your drop bag. Something you just wont find on an aid-station and that only you love - a gherkin - a rice ball/sushi - kiwi fruit/dried mango

9. Don't Fear the Poo - the advice so far has been about food and nutrition and in some way "feel good". What to stick in your mouth that will hopefully keep you on the tracks, reboot you or just plonk some energy in that tank. At the other is your bum. Many runners have experienced the need to "drop" when the furthest from any official toilet. Consequently some runners may be put off from eating too much because they want to avoid this. DaznBone most definitely encourage you to EAT and drink and fuel and PRACTICE having a forest poo. The great piece of news is that doing a "freestyle" poo is actually how your body is designed to do it - using a toilet is another reason why we have gut/bowel issues. So eat - be energised and smile a 'healthy all knowing' smile when you are doing the ultra-poo

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10. Jamie Holmes effect - don't try this at "holmes" kids"!!! Jamie is one of our oldest and dearest friends. He is also a fantastic runner. One important thing to know is that you shouldn't take any run advice from him. Why? Well (leaving the pre-race beer drinking and map-reading failures aside) he loves to break the no.1 rule and our final Top Tip - which is to NEVER try something new in a race. If you are going to use some food/energy drink/gels etc then try and practice with them in similar conditions. When you see all this new food (especially the sugar laden junk) on the aid-stations remember that if you haven't trained with something similar then your are playing ultra-food roulette!

DaznBone Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Ultra Events Part 1

Before we get into our Top 10 tips - that has come from a) a lot of running + eating especially ultras and b) a deep love of asking questions and doing research on nutrition in training and races (plus we've run surveys, are ambassadors for @peakpinole who champion real change in endurance nutrition and coach of course!) - one key admission - Daz eats meat and Bone doesn't.

Why does this matter.

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Well daznbone strives to give you a balanced view. We don't like diets and we are not obsessed about things like weight and food fads/quick fixes because we want what we do and the advice that we share with you (and that you share with others) to be accessible to new runners as well as those who want to compete in long distance races. So you also have the fact that Bone is the science nutrition student - part way through his BANT course - whereas Daz has habitually put nutrition pretty low down his priority list. So no doubt you fit somewhere along this happy spectrum and we can make the advice work x

PIC: Bone getting excited about Melissa Hemsley personally serving up a dish x

Please do leave your thoughts in the comments below. Good healthy feedback on this subject and questions will allow us to add more and more good content to help you with your food and drink + running choices aligned with your goals/races = healthier you - which is what we want to see.

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1. Hydration - Above all else you need to drink water. The science is pretty hot here. On long runs (see point 7 for Heat Tip) you need to drink and we recommend that you have a water + drink fuel approach. Many friends use TailWind but try some others in training like my favourite Maurten - pick what works for you. TT - When it comes to water, remember that the body can only really absorb around 750ml of fluid an hour.

2. Food Zone Portablesfood that you make at home might not 'travel' well (in the SDW 100 this year we trialled some new energy balls - unfortunately the consistency of them meant that when we took them out of our race vest they looked like a turd - tasted ok though!) DaznBone are big fans of real food and so we love trying things we love eating at home and seeing if they work on the run. 

3. Highway to Gel - Gels you either love em or you hate them. What #daznbone will say is that they are a good fit for ease of use and getting the calories. Most races have gels on offer and if there is one thing other runners will have spare if you get desperate is a gel. So its definitely worth trying out all the different brands and varieties before you abandon them. Some have a high caffeine content and these definitely don't suit all. SIS gels are quite inoffensive in our opinon. Tailwind make some interesting flavours like Matcha. Also Maurten are gaining traction and Bone loves em. 

4. Savoury could be your Saviour - There appears to be quite a "low bar" with food choices in the running/ultra world and none more so than what is put out on the 'aid stations'. If you want biscuits and crisps and jelly babies and gels then you will be well served but what if you are (literally)  sick of sugary products. For many what's missing is some useful savoury options. Great choices would be slow-release carbs like salted potatoes, good anti-inflammatory picks like nuts and 

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5. Listen to Dr Bob Hearn - the world of ultra-running as we now know it is really only a few decades old and yet there are still some wise old owls that are worth listening to. One of these is Bob. Bob is a legend in the trade. He's run for Team USA and travelled around the world competing in road and trail ultras. Bob is also super-smart - a tech engineer of the much respect and a real student of running and the key indicators. Bob shares some wisdom: "For the past year, I've trained low-carb high-fat, essentially not eating carbs during training.

This sounds counterintuitive for running long – isn't it all about the carbs? But actually, it's an increasingly popular training regimen these days, followed by many of the top runners. The basic idea is that you train your body to burn fat more efficiently. You can only store about 2,000 calories worth of carbs in your muscles and liver, but you carry essentially unlimited fat reserves. Normally you can't burn this fat fast enough, so the typical ultrarunner will try to take in something like 300 calories per hour in a race. This can get challenging after 50 or so miles, especially if it's hot, and more blood is diverted to the skin for cooling. The stomach and gut can't keep up; nausea is common. But since becoming adapted to this training, having experimented in many races, I've discovered I can get by just fine on 75-100 calories per hour, which I can easily get from just drinking a bit of Coke now and then – a totally minimal load on my digestive system"

Read more from Bob