"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week 5 in Review, Muscle Glycogen and Other Fruity Things

Good week this week. The sunshine finally broke through and, coupled with the unseasonably warm temperatures (apologies to the rest of the country), has made for some good solid runs. My training program suggested I run 3, 4, 3 and 5 miles this week but that just didn't seem like enough.

I'm aware of the problems with adding miles too quickly--this was the reason I rested most of December to let my knees heal--so I didn't intend to run more miles than I originally planned. But I let my body do the talking this week and after runs of 4, 4, 4 and 8 I'm feeling really good. I don't expect to tack on an additional 33% to every week's mileage totals but for this week it was the right thing to do.

My long run today was especially satisfying. I love being the only runner out on the road when it's early, cold and just starting to be light. I ran the same route as last Saturday, with an extra half-mile tacked on to the end (1 mile round trip) and continue to like it. It mimics quite well the Newport course with its small rolling hills, an initial and closing climb and nothing but highway shoulder mile after mile.

For hydration this morning I switched from water to orange juice. 1 orange into the blender and then diluted just a bit with some water. I've been reading a new book lately called Nutrition and Athletic Performance by Dr. Graham (author of The 80/10/10 Diet). In one of the very first chapters he's talking about the importance of simple sugars in the repletion of muscle glycogen.

From Chapter Three: Sugars

Reestablishing blood sugars to normal levels and replenishing muscle glycogen are absolute requirements for efficient and effective recovery...Blood sugar levels respond to the consumption of fruit by rising at a moderate rate. Muscle glycogen supplies are somewhat slower in replenishing themselves, as muscles must rely upon the conversion of blood sugar to muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen replenishment is accelerated during exercise and at an ever-reducing rate back to normal levels for about 2 hours after exercise is terminated, because the blood is flooded with an enzyme know as, "glycogenase." We produce this enzyme in quantities that double the body's ability to convert blood sugar into muscle glycogen. Thus, if sufficient blood sugar is available, it is possible to replenish muscle glycogen at double the normal rate immediately following exercise...

Still with me? Just a little bit more here:

"If physical exertion is long enough or intense enough to seriously deplete the supply of muscle glycogen, it can take 24 hours or more to bring glycogen levels back to normal. If the window of opportunity to replenish blood sugar and muscle glycogen stores directly following exercise is missed...it can take more than twice as long to recover. Because of this, it is extremely important to supply sufficient fruit sugar before, during and immediately after exercise..."

My thought was, "why wait until I'm out of muscle glycogen to start replenishing it? Why not have a constant drip of blood sugar material so it can be converting and replenishing while I go?" So I went with orange juice this morning and had no problems. I felt really good for the duration of the run actually. And then I came home and had a smoothie made of 5 oranges, 3 frozen bananas, 4 regular bananas and an apple. So good. Rest day tomorrow and then back at it again on Monday. Thinking about entering a 15k in two weeks just to see where I'm at. One more good week of training and I'll be in for sure.

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