5 years ago

May/June 2012 - Level Renner

May/June 2012 - Level Renner

Lane 1: Performance

Lane 1: Performance Intervals but could start feeling the lactic acid building up. This rep was also 2:47. Rep 4: I kept the effort fairly even from beginning to end. This allowed my body to feel very good at the finish. It was still just a 2:47 but I knew I had a lot more left. I felt good that I was able to get this done with no straining. Being able to keep the form and stay relaxed is a huge thing. I keep telling myself that this is like running 4:20 miles during the 5k – you have to make it fast, but you have to stay relaxed enough to be able to push and kick. If you are straining midway through the 5k, you will not be able to push at the finish. Same thing with the hills, if you are straining at rep 3 or 4, you will not be able to finish the 5th one fast, instead you will just be holding on for the finish… Rep 5: I knew this was going to be a good one because I was well warmed up into the workout. From doing reps 1-4, you either get “warmed up” or you really start to notice the lactic acid build up in your legs. I did not feel much change in lactic acid from reps 2-4; therefore, I knew I could run this 5th one faster. I went out at a quicker pace through the half, and then relaxed a lot in the 2nd part, but kicked strong to the finish, maybe breaking my form a little but I wanted to get that same end of a 5k feeling. Result: a 2:45 final rep. Cool down: My legs felt ok, not trashed which is a good sign. I have been doing 120 miles a week for about 8 weeks now with consistent 20 mile long runs, and about three 12 milers during the week . Most of these runs have been at a 6:30 pace which now feels natural. I think this is the reason why my legs don’t feel trashed after finishing a workout as taxing as this one. After getting this done, I feel very confident about my fitness level. I have never come off of great hill workouts and not PR’ed. I think this spring could be a breakthrough for me and I am really excited. I still have not gotten on the track for a workout yet, but I believe the “dirty work” of tempos, hills, and fartleks have allowed me to recognize my threshold levels better, and I’ve learned to push the efforts when there is no clock or training partner next to me. Staying off the track has also kept me with a strong mental focus for racing. I have not really had a full track season since college and I’m excited to get it going. Ruben’s excited, I’m excited, but what does coach Gardner think? Keep in mind he did this workout leading up to his New Elevation profile of the Christian Street Hill. Bedford Half Marathon victory in 2011, only he did 8 reps of the hill that time. After seeing the results, Gary had this to say: This was his best session ever so that means we are in an excellent spot to run well over the next segment of training. Our plan over the past six years has been to always increase fitness. We know his 5km and 10km personal bests are weak in comparison to his fitness level over the last two years so we want to bring them down to where they equal his fitness level. Both Ruben and Gary think he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. It’s scary to think that someone as fast as Ruben has not had a breakthrough yet! Ruben averaged 2:46′s in this workout moving up that mountain. That’s fast enough to make a Sherpa jealous. In fact, it might have been fast enough to make him an honorary Sherpa (I’m still waiting to hear back from Tibet on that one). He’s clearly putting the work in and it’ll be very interesting to see his results in upcoming races. Level Renner will be on hand at the George Davis Invitational this coming Saturday up in Lowell for a clash of the titans on the track: Sanca vs. Jenkins, in a two mile showdown. Call it what you want (Athlete vs. Coach, Student vs. Teacher, or even Padawan vs. Jedi), but it doesn’t need any hype. (Update: Go to to see how the event played out. And yes, it was epic.) Watch out for Ruben this summer as he vies for a spot in the Olympics on the Cape Verdean national team. Also follow Ruben through his blog (noted above) and on twitter @sanca617. EJN is the web producer at Follow him on twitter @EJN_OnTheLevel. 8

Lane 2: Nutrition A fter last issue’s article featuring a healthy twist on lasagna, we asked you what other meals you thought could use a makeover. Well, one wise guy wrote in and asked about a healthier version of burgers and beer. The request reminded me of Labor Day a few years ago when my now fiancé and I were newly dating. We’d spent the day on our bikes leisurely pedaling over 40 miles through quiet Massachusetts back roads. A little before we hit the Minuteman Bike Path for the last 12 miles, he asked me what I wanted for dinner. I thought for a minute and replied with, “Honestly, I could go for a really good burger.” I envisioned heading to a local pub, ordering a juicy burger with fries, and rinsing it down with a cold beer. I may be a dietitian, but I like burgers—they’re delicious. I don’t eat them every day. I’ve had months pass between having them, but when I do, I savor every last bite without an ounce of guilt. (Okay, maybe a little guilt—but not much…) So, I was a little bummed when Mickey replied, “Hey, it’s farmers’ market day; let’s go buy some locally raised free-range beef, and cook some up at home.” While this gave him yet another check in the I’m-pretty-sure-this -guy-is-the-one-for-me column and the level-headed RD that I am quickly agreed to it, my taste buds were screaming “No!” We grilled up the burgers (which hardly shrunk at all because they were so lean) and topped them with freshly sliced heirloom tomatoes. We even stopped at Trader Joe’s on our bike ride home to get some whole wheat buns to put them on and we steamed some broccoli to have on the side. The meal was great and far healthier than the pub burger alternative. So, if you want a healthier burger—there you go. Buy some freerange beef (it has far less saturated fat and more nutrients than standard ground beef), top with veggies, serve on a whole wheat bun with a side of some more veggies and enjoy. The end. However, my story doesn’t end there. Two days later I ordered a burger and fries at a local pub with my team after a softball game. Craving satisfied but at the expense of eating red meat twice in 3 days. There are some foods that just aren’t meant to be healthy. I call these “sometimes foods,” foods that are okay to eat sometimes, but should not be a part of your regular diet. My favorite thing about sometimes foods is that you eat them just how they are, just not very often. For me, burgers are a sometimes food and because I eat them less than monthly, I’m able to have a healthy relationship with them. This is something I often guide my clients to do too. To quote the newest USDA Dietary Guidelines: “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” Burgers and Beer By Kathy Gorman, MS, RD, LDN I’m under the impression that the gentleman inquiring about healthier burgers eats them a bit more frequently than I would recommend. So, for him, and anyone else eating burgers on a weekly basis or more frequently, here are a few healthier alternatives: � If your wallet can’t handle the free-range ground beef mentioned above, try buying at least 90% lean ground beef or turkey to make your burgers. � Try mixing some beans, whole grains, or veggies in with your ground meat to add volume and fiber while reducing the overall fat and calories per burger. Doing this, 1 pound of meat should make 5 or 6 burgers instead of 4. Consider adding the following to 16 oz of lean ground meat: There are some foods that just aren’t meant to be healthy. I call these “sometimes foods,” foods that are okay to eat sometimes, but should not be a part of your regular diet. � ½ cup plumped bulgur or cooked quinoa � ¼ cup of shredded zucchini and ¼ shredded carrots—throw in some green onion too, if that’s something you like � 2 cans of white beans and ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs— if that seems overzealous on the beans, try just 1 can. � Add 1-2 tablespoons of any of the following to make any of the above suggestions a little moister: tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, A1 sauce, apple sauce (goes nicely if using turkey meat), or anything else you may enjoy. 1 egg beaten works well too. A s for beer: see my note about “sometimes foods” above. For runners, moderate amounts of beer can be just fine, but try to keep these guidelines in mind: The healthiest beer is that with the least chemical additives in it, so organic beers are the way to go. While, this isn’t what generally flows from the taps after a fun run, look for beers from smaller microbrews as they most often contain the fewest additives. Alcohol is a diuretic, so limit yourself to just one the night before a run to calm your pre-race jitters. There is a study out there that shows drinking beer after exercise can help in recovery. The combination of sugars, salt, and carbonation helps to rehydrate you a little faster than plain old water. However, post-run beer should still be coupled with lots of water and some protein and carbohydrate containing snacks. So, renners, you can have your burgers and beer and eat it too— just watch how often you indulge! If you’re indulging often, improve your choices with the ideas suggested here. Kathy Gorman is a registered dietician and can be reached through her website, 9

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