The Major Do’s and Don’ts of Running a Marathon

It’s nearly here – you’re just weeks away from your marathon day, and it’s time to put the finishing touches to your training.

But there are still a few essential things you need to do if you’re going to ensure you’re in the best possible form.

Follow these tips from our friends at Running With Us to make sure you get the most from your marathon performance.

 

 

 

The Do’s:

 

Motivation and positivity: It can be common to find yourself getting bored on the longer runs in the final few weeks, especially with temperatures dipping. Do stay positive – it happens! Surround yourself with people in training that will help you along the way. Plan to meet up with other runners to help motivate you to get out the door, and get the miles in. If that’s not possible, log your miles on Strava and encourage friends to share comments and kudos when you complete your next milestone. Use your running to explore new routes and places every now and then to keep things varied.

 

Nutrition is key: Make sure to fuel yourself cleverly. You will be burning more than you realise. Getting your nutrition right during training will help set you up for the perfect race day and give you the best possible chance of achieving a PB. Nutritional products can contain varying quantities of carbohydrate, protein and caffeine, so it’s very important to trial your nutrition during your longer runs and find what works for you. Don’t leave it until race day to try a new gel or bar. A HIGH5 trial pack offers a wide selection of options for both training and recovery. This simple nutrition guide will help you to fuel yourself properly so that you get the best from your marathon experience and enjoy it more.

 

Taper: Allow yourself to rest in the final couple of weeks. You need to go into the race feeling fresh rather than over-trained and tired. It’s good to keep muscles active and moving, but don’t be tempted to try and log the last-minute miles.

 

Pacing: Make sure to stick to your pace. Come the big day, try to avoid getting caught up on those running around you at the start. Remember all the hard work you have put into it and run the race just like you have in training. Stay focused and keep to your plan. If you’re attempting to run to a pace maker but find the pace too high, be honest about how you’re feeling, and whether you can maintain it. If you need to tag back to maintain better form mid-race, you might help yourself in the later miles.

 

 

The Don’ts:

 

Gear:  Don’t wear anything on the day you haven’t done in training. This can cause chafing and might even give you a reason to stop. Try out potential race day kit ideas in training on your easy runs to see how you feel in them… never on the day.

 

Sleep: Don’t be tempted to stay up too late and stand on your feet for long periods in the week leading up to your event: recovery is vital.  Make sure in the final weeks leading up to the race you are getting early nights and allowing maximum recovery. You need to listen to your body and sleep when you feel tired. The day before the race you need to be lying down as much as you can. Let family and friends around you know that you need to do this. This is a key period in your preparation – you have one chance.

 

Hydration: Try to avoid drinking too much, or in excess, during the final few days. It is possible to over-hydrate yourself which can risk leaving you feeling more tired as your body attempts to manage the extra fluid. Little and often throughout the day, (around 3-4 litres daily) is plenty when training for a marathon, however make sure you’re spreading it out. If you need to become better at hydrating yourself, start practising good habits early in your training. Electrolyte drinks are the best way to hydrate without having to take on huge amounts of water. They are filled with key nutrients. Check out this advice on hydration for what to drink and why.

 

 

For advice on what to eat and drink for your marathon, click here to see the HIGH5 Marathon Nutrition Guide and How To Carbo Load.

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What it takes to fuel a continental pro cycling team

When it comes to fuelling world class cyclists, we know how to produce great-tasting performance nutrition, but how do the riders and teams actually make the most of it when it reaches the pro peloton?

We recently went behind the scenes at the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, The Tour of Britain, to catch up with Xenia, soigneur for An Post-Chain Reaction, the UCI Continental pro-cycling team founded by Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly, to ask what it takes to feed a team across eight days of competition.

Photos: courtesy of SweetSpot

 

 

Being a soigneur, or ‘swanny’ as they are colloquially known, isn’t for the faint-hearted.  Part housekeeper, part masseur, as well as driver, confidant and responsible for fuelling a team of six to perform at their very best against 114 other competitors, there’s a lot at stake.

Often on-call first thing in the morning to last thing at night, no set working hours and huge distances behind the wheel (sometimes up to 1,500k just to get to a race), it’s easy to question what could motivate someone to take on what is arguably one of the toughest jobs in sport.

For Xenia, there’s no doubt. “That’s simple. You have to be passionate about cycling,” she says.

“Right now, the thing I love the most are the races in the mountains, even if I have to be in a car day in day out. The views you have – and that combination with cycling.  You don’t become a “swanny” if you want to be in touch with “famous” riders. You do it because you love the sport. If you do it with passion, it’s the most beautiful job in the world.”

 

 

Xenia started out going along to races to support friends and became a swanny with the Lotto Ladies’ Team. It was a trip to Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April this year, the infamous one-day classic in Belgium, where she met team managers of An Post CRC and moved into the men’s peloton.

“The way I see it, I take care of the whole team – riders and staff – as if they are my kids,” she says.

“I feed them, take care of them, listen, be good to them but I’m firm when I need to be. I’m the “mummy” of the team.” We’re already sensing her warm and caring approach.

But what might at first sound a glamorous position of responsibility, beneath are endless lists of jobs to be done from driving, washing kit and cars, shopping, preparing bottles, massaging tired muscles, and repairing kit – basically, everything and anything the riders and staff ask for. Incredible amounts of passion and boundless energy are required to ensure her team has everything they need, on demand.

“It can be exhausting, but it never kills you and I just love it. We’re never alone, and most importantly, we’re like a family in this team.”

 

 

Despite a network of riders, mechanics and race staff to continually rely on for mutual support, it’s apparent that to be a good soigneur, you’ve got to be the family member with the sixth sense – the ability to anticipate five steps ahead of the game, even when you’ve no idea what the next day is going to throw your way.

What might first seem a simple task, can require meticulous attention to detail. Depending on the kind of race, be it a one-day classic or a multi-day stage race, Xenia’s main task is to prepare the race bottles for the riders.

Over the course of a stage race like the Tour of Britain, she can prepare a staggering 400 bottles or more, sometimes taking up to an hour to prepare the relentless number of bidons needed each day.

“You can never have enough of them,” she explains.

“Before the start, we give every rider two bottles with HIGH5 Energy Source or isotonic. These make sure the riders don’t get dehydrated and keeps their energy levels up. We also prepare the bottles to go in the team car; roughly four spare bottles for each rider. Then we prepare bottles to hand out in the feeding zone, and sometimes add HIGH5 Energy Gel to them.”

That’s on top of making sure there is additional water, HIGH5 Energy Source, and a raft of empty bottles in the team car, just in case.

With up to six riders on the team each day, a complete eight-stage Tour of Britain can require 84 bottles for race start, some 168 in the team car, and a whopping 210 for feeding.

“The main thing is, we need lots of HIGH5 to get the guys energised, hydrated and focused,” Xenia explains.

 

Even this in itself can be tricky when pro riders have a reputation for being rather demanding on times, albeit understandably when it’s your professional career at stake. What might seem absurd or peculiar to the everyday cycling enthusiast, a good swanny will always generally try to oblige, since it comes with the territory.

“We always try to keep that in mind,” Xenia tells us. “During the race it can be harder, but still, I try to manage!

“Some of them like their energy source to be sweeter and sugary; others just want water with the exact amount of energy that is necessary. I start to know their habits little by little.”

Demanding it may seem, when you’re pushing your body to its limits in racing, it’s important to have nutrition that you can work with.

“The important thing is to make sure it’s good and healthy, so they race well and don’t get sick. That’s why the team loves HIGH5. We always prepare start-bags for the riders, with two HIGH5 bars, two HIGH5 gels and a biscuit that they take with them to start the race.”

We were keen to learn what kind of selection makes it into the mystery musette – the infamous bag of energy-boosting goodies that teams are given permission to hand-up to riders in a dedicated ‘feed zone’ around mid-race.

“We always put in a HIGH5 Energy Bar, a Sports Bar, two gels, two bidons and a Coke. Sometimes extra, when they deserve it,” we’re told.

 

 

The feed zone is a precarious place for both riders and the swanny feeding them, usually due to the risk of riders crashing. Indeed, there are cases of relationships having been negatively affected by the failure of the swanny to connect with a rider on the feed in that defining ‘moment’ when the rider reaches for his musette hoping for a reliable exchange.

What’s the secret to getting it right, we ask?

“Is there a secret? I always blame the riders!” Xenia laughs.

It’s easy to tell how her easy sense of humour makes her the perfect fit for the job. Despite the pressure, the ability to laugh and have fun during the process is often essential.

She continues: “Jokes aside, it’s intense, but when they try to grab it too late or another rider is in the way, it’s hard.

“The only trick I think is not being afraid to put yourself out there, but at the same time, not being a dare-all and bringing the guys into danger. If they don’t grab it, try to get to another spot as fast as you can. And always try to say to them before the race where you’ll be standing, and make sure they see you. They will come to you when they need you.”

Despite the risk, she is still busy putting her riders first.

“As long as we can enjoy making riders happy and see them race and shine on the stages, that’s the best thing,” she adds.

What’s clear is that with Xenia’s incredible support onside  – and possibly a never-ending supply of bidons  – there’s little doubting that we’ll be seeing more of the HIGH5-fuelled An Post CRC team putting in some shining performances in future.

You have until midnight on Sunday 17 September, 2017 to WIN a full set of An Post-Chain Reaction pro cycling team kit in our competition. Enter online here: www.highfive.co.uk/tob-2017

 

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Racing legend Sean Kelly talks cycling

Seven time Paris-Nice victor, nine time winner of the monument classics, and now one of Eurosport’s most well-respected commentators, Sean Kelly arguably headed up a golden era for Irish cycling that saw him emerge as one of the most successful professional road cyclists of the 80’s.

As his HIGH5-fuelled cycling development team, An Post-Chain Reaction, prepare their bikes and bidons for the start of the 8-day Tour of Britain from 3-8 September, it’s a stark reminder of just how far today’s advances in nutrition, technology and training have come since the days when Kelly scooped his Grand Tour win at the 1988 Vuelta a España.

In this interview, the Irish cycling legend tells us what he’s been getting up to and shares his views on cycling’s latest advances in the pro peloton.

 

 

Apart from helping riders to launch their World Tour careers with An Post-Chain Reaction, what else has been keeping you busy?

“I spent three weeks in Mallorca, where I’ve been involved in biking holiday tours. Of course, for the month of April, I was commentating on the classics during the weekends and I’ve been busy over summer at the big tours.”

Do you still find time to get on the bike?

“I try to get on the bike as much possible, so when I’m in Mallorca, I get on the bike most days. But when I’m away on commendatory duties with Eurosport, on big tours such as the Giro and Tour de France, you don’t really have time. The days are long, and if you take a bike with you, maybe you’ll get to ride two or three times during the three weeks. Instead, I have to do a bit of jogging to try and keep myself in some sort of shape.”

Which season do you regard as your most successful and why?

“I think ’84 was my best. I can’t remember it very clearly – it was a long time ago but I won over 30 races, as well as some of the classics. It’s really when you retire, and look back at your palmarès, you appreciate the great performances you had in your career.”

Is there a race that’s stayed clear in your memory more than any other?

“I enjoyed Paris-Nice because I had huge success, winning 7 times. It’s a race I had a lot of luck in. Some people say you make your luck as well in races, but I don’t believe that. There were years where there were lots of crashes and I just seemed to be on the lucky side of the crash, a number of times.”

 

 

Is there anything you regret, or wish you’d done differently in your career?

“Lots! I think hindsight is a great thing because you can look back and I certainly did too much racing in the early part of the season. I was riding for a Spanish team and they wanted to do a lot of the Spanish programme. At the beginning of the season – Andalusia, Tour de Catalunya, Tour de Valencia, Pays Basque – were all on the calendar, and of course the Vuelta was also at the beginning of the year in the ’80s. I think the one I have regrets about most, is the Tour de France. I should have done better, maybe have gotten on the podium, but there were just too many races in the early part of the season.”

What was a typical hard days training when you were in your prime?

“The hard days were when you were not going well in the big tours. When you are not in your best shape in the big tours, you have to suffer from fatigue, maybe half wheel through the race and look ahead. Maybe there’s a week or ten days to go and that’s when you’re really stat suffering, because you feel physically drained and that grinds on you mentally. So I think the most difficult ones are certainly the big three week tours when you are not in good shape. If you’re in good shape then you can get through it, you do suffer but it’s a different sort of suffering because you enjoy it more. When you’re at the rear of the pack it’s very difficult to keep motivated and to keep going.”

Who was your best friend when racing and are you still in touch?

“I think my best friends would be the ones I raced with in my team. Fellow Irish men, Martin Early and Acacio da Silva. Others, who maybe were on opposing teams as well, Adri Van der Poel and Stephen Roche, of course who I raced against a lot but we’re still very good friends. You meet so many people at races like the Tour de France. We don’t have contact, we don’t call each other every two or three months, but we meet regularly during the bike season.”

What was a typical hard day for you, when you were in your prime?

“The hard days were when you weren’t going well in the big tours. When you’re not in your best shape you suffer from fatigue, so you have to maybe half wheel through the race and look ahead. Maybe there’s a week or ten days to go and that’s when you really start suffering, because you feel physically drained and that grinds on you mentally. If you’re in good shape, you still suffer, but you enjoy it more. When you’re at the rear of the pack it’s very difficult to keep motivated and to keep going.”

Athletes can sometimes be superstitious. Did you have any superstitions that you believed in?

“I wasn’t a superstitious guy. I didn’t really believe in that, but sometimes before the big events you think ‘My God, hopefully I’ll be safe tomorrow’. To get through a race without any problems – that’s a big part. Mechanical problems, getting caught up in crashes. In the big races for example; Tour of Flanders; Paris Roubaix, they are races where there are a lot of crashes so, sometimes you say a little mantra.”

 

 

What would be your ultimate training tip for younger riders?

“First of all, follow what your coach tells you. Most youngsters who are serious about cycling have a coach nowadays, from at least junior level. At times, I see a lot of riders try and do more despite what their coach is telling them. When you’re feeling good, you think a bit extra will lead to you getting a bit better but that’s when you make mistakes and can potentially over train. It’s like a race, when you’re having a really good day, that’s the time you can make a lot of mistakes and it’s the same in training.”

And would you have any advice for someone new to cycling?

“I suppose you need patience. If you’ve come from other sports then you have a basic fitness and that does help a lot, but if you’re somebody who hasn’t done a lot of sport, you have to give it time. Biking is something that you have to build up slowly. If you really charge into it, you can get fit very quickly, but you don’t hold that. Fatigue and all those things can be a problem so you have to build up over a number of years to get to a high level. It also depends on what you want to do, what sort of level of racing you’re at; if you’re racing as a fourth category or third category you don’t need to be doing a huge amount of training. So there are a lot of things you have to consider before you can give advice to a person beginning his or her cycling career.”

What’s your opinion on the technological advancements now in cycling compared to when you were racing?

“Well, there are huge advantages. First of all, the bike is the biggest one, they have improved so much over the years. Carbon fibre, the wheels, everything is rigid and also aerodynamic. I think the performances are much better because of that but the way the athletes prepare has also improved. I think they are much better looked after. As I said, everybody seems to have a coach and that is something which is important because they can follow a programme and they can build up over a number of years. At the beginning of the season, you can begin to build up your fitness level. All of this has improved the performances of riders, so I think those things have been big improvements in cycling but not only in cycling but in other sports as well. You look at rugby and other similar games, now you can monitor performance a lot better, such as how far the players have ran during a match. It’s all development and it’s improved the performances of the athletes enormously.”

Disc brakes? Yes or no?

“Well I think disc brakes are the thing for the future. We’ve been hearing a lot about the dangers when the riders crash and if you fall down on the disc you can get badly burned. Also, the disc is very open if you crash into it. There are still a lot of improvements to be made there but I think the most important thing is that everybody involved in racing should use disc brakes, rather than normal caliper brakes, due to the huge difference in braking performance between disc brakes and normal calipers.”

 

 

What are your thoughts on the nutrition athletes adopt in today’s peloton? 

“Back in my day, we didn’t have the nutrition which cyclists have now and it is one of the biggest improvements. The energy bars, the gels and all the recovery shakes have improved the performance of the riders. The recovery in cycling, as we know, is of huge importance because cycling is such an endurance sport and when you’re in a big tour with four or five on the bike hours every day in very warm conditions, having the right nutrition is a huge benefit to bike riders.”

What’s next for Sean Kelly?

“My commentary job with EuroSport. I’m enjoying it and it keeps me involved in cycling – that’s a great thing. To stay involved in the sport is good for mind and for body and I hope to continue.”

Are there any plans you can tell us for the team’s future?

“We have had a lot of plans for the team and going back on the past number of years; we have always been trying to move up to Continental Pro after many years at the Continental level. However, there’s no point in being at the bottom of the rankings because then you are only following the races and you’re not getting success. I would prefer to stay at a good continental level than to be at the bottom end of the continental pro ranks.”

 

 

 

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The untrodden path to the pinnacle of boxing

Anyone who’s pulled on a pair of boxing gloves to do a class or workout or just hit a punch bag, can attest to the difficulty, stamina and power it takes to box. It’s not just the physical exhaustion, but the mental stamina required in the ring.

Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane has sparred with the world’s greatest boxing champions, from some of the toughest gyms from London to Brooklyn, fought in world famous venues from MGM Grand to Wembley, in front of crowds in their thousands.

The long-term HIGH5 fuelled athlete has carved himself an enviable reputation in one of the world’s toughest sports.

With preparations for his next fight against Ishe ‘Sugar Shay’ Smith, in Las Vegas next week, going well, we asked the former British light welterweight champion, to share his thoughts on training and preparation.

How’s your training been going in preparation and without giving us all of your trade secrets, can you suggest how it’s been structured?

“Training is going well. When preparing for a fight I leave no stone unturned, and this means I normally train two or three times a day incorporating a mixture of long runs for endurance, short sprints for explosiveness, swimming, strength training, boxing, yoga and pilates. In total I train between 20 to 30 hours a week.”

You’re currently fighting in Light-Welterweight, where typical fight-weight ranges from 61.2 – 63.5 kg. What weight do you typically sit at?

“When I start training camp, I typically weigh around 75-78kg and then over the three months of training camp, I’ll bring it down to the weight limit of the fight.”

How do you approach the weight-cutting process? 

“As you can imagine, Las Vegas is hot. Training between 20 to 30 hours a week in this climate combined with eating healthy, the weight falls off. I eat between 2500 – 3000 calories when cutting weight so, I’m never starving. I typically start my day with porridge but my diet consists of plenty of fruit and veg, and protein after my training sessions to aid recovery.  The weight-cutting progress is more mentally hard than physical, but consistently being on a healthy eating regime allows me to reach my goal weight.”

Have you had any bad experiences cutting weight or is there anything you need to be careful of? 

“Now I’m a qualified nutritionist and dietitian so, as a professional boxer I’ve always made weight well and in a non-extreme manner. However, as an amateur I was clueless so, I used to starve myself and have no energy for the fight. It’s a shame there’s no information in the amateur system about cutting weight which leaves the kids at danger of starvation and dehydration.”

Alongside your training, which HIGH5 products are you currently using and what are you favourite flavours?

“In preparation for the fight I tend to use a combination of IsoGel and EnergyGel when I’m running. I particularly enjoy the orange IsoGel, and apple and banana EnergyGel.  Additionally, I am using Isotonic to provide me with carbohydrates as well as ensure I’m hydrated in the Las Vegas heat.”

What’s it like sparring with some of the biggest names in boxing like Floyd Mayweather? How important would you say it’s been to your career?

“Sparring with more experienced fighters is how you improve and allows you to gauge where you are. Floyd Mayweather did the same thing as a kid. He’d spar all the big names. For me sparring these big names made me know I’m good enough for the top level.”

Having fought in the likes of MGM Grand, Aintree, and Wembley to name a few, what’s it like to fight on such a big stage? Have you any favourite venues to compete?

“It gets no bigger than a Floyd Mayweather fight at the MGM Grand; it’s really the pinnacle of top level boxing. However, I really enjoyed Wembley Arena as I won and defended my British title there.  Fighting in Saint Lucia was special for me as my father was born there and having 10,000 people in the crowd, cheering me on is one of the highlights of my career.”

If you could give your younger self or any young and potentially upcoming boxer’s a word of advice, what would it be?

“If I could give my younger self advice it would be, “everything works out for you.” To any younger boxers, it is surround yourself with a positive team that wants the best for you and work super hard. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

Where does your nickname ‘Treasure’ come from? 

“Treasure is my mother’s maiden name and my grandfather’s last name so; it’s a way of using both my mother and father’s names.”

UK fans have really embraced boxing in recent months due to fighters like yourself, Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua. What’s your opinion on the UK’s current boxing landscape?

“British boxing is on a high; it’s in a healthy space right now and can only get better. Female participation in the sport has increased which is nice to see.  My career shows British boxers that everyone’s path is different. I’ve had more success abroad than at home and serves as a great example that sometimes you have to walk the untrodden path.”

The Mayweather vs McGregor fight has recently been criticised by media suggesting that it’s all for the money and no longer about the sport or fans. What’s your view?

“It is for the money but what’s wrong with that? This is professional boxing, it’s about getting paid and there is no professional fighter in the world that wouldn’t fight a mma fighter for 300 million dollars. It is obviously for the fans, as they are the ones helping the fighters make so much money but all those criticising the fight will still watch it.”

Finally, we couldn’t finish without asking; what’s your favourite boxing movie and why?

“I have to say Rocky. It’s a classic and the soundtrack is so motivating.”

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Callum Hawkins

What is it like to prepare for a World Championship Marathon?

With the IAAF Athletics World Championship taking place in August, we asked Great Britain middle-distance runner, Olympian and HIGH5 athlete, Callum Hawkins  about his recent training in preparation for the World Championships Marathon on Sunday 6th August.

March saw me finish off my winter racing season with a hard fought 2nd place in the New York Half Marathon. I was slightly disappointed to be beaten by only 4 seconds and just being on the wrong side of the hour mark. However, I’ve got to be happy with running so close to my personal best on a tough course and pushing Olympic silver-medallist Feyisa Lilesa.  Racing through the streets of Manhattan was a great experience, it’s a fantastic race to be part of and the race organisers treat you like one of the family. It’s most definitely on my list of races to do again.

After New York, I took 10 days off as it had been a long winter season, after which I headed to Boulder, Colorado for a 5 week altitude training camp where I was staying with marathon legend and ex world record holder Steve Jones.

Training at altitude is harder, so recovery becomes hugely important especially as I was starting back from a rest period and ramping up the miles quite quickly. So packing lots of HIGH5 products was a necessity.

However, I quickly got into the swing of things and got some quality miles and sessions in with Steve’s group.  The weather in Boulder was great until my Dad (Coach) turned up and the weather went from slightly overcast to a few inches of snow.

Thankfully, my Dad and Steve did manage to keep the track clear for us during the session but they were definitely struggling for fitness at the end. Maybe I should have given them some Protein Recovery?

The training camp has set me up for my marathon specific training-block as I gear up for the world championships in London.  This is the hardest training block I do but it also has one of my favourite training sessions which is 11 x 1 km with 1 km float recovery or 1 km in and outs as we like to call them.  We reverse the session and start with a recovery pace effort first so, we finish on a fast one.  Paces for the fast kilometres are about 8 seconds faster than marathon race pace (3 minutes) and the recovery kilometres are around 3-8 seconds slower than race pace (3:10-3:15 minutes).

During the session, I also practice my race hydration and use EnergySource every 5 km, simulating what will happen during a marathon. I also keep an EnergyGel on hand in case I need a bit more fuel.

With warm up and cool down the session is around 20 miles and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.  It’s one of the hardest sessions I do so, recovery and refuelling afterwards is vital.

My immediate refuelling after the session is Protein Recovery mixed with milk and a ProteinBar. Those particular products are really good after a hard session as sometimes I can find it hard to eat a big meal so soon after training. I follow that up later in the day with my favourite, Spaghetti Bolognese using my Grandpa Drew’s secret recipe. It has a great balance of protein and carbohydrates which are essential for refuelling after a big session, especially when it is over 20 miles.

There’s one week to go until the World Championships on 6th August in London and I can’t wait to go up against the world’s best marathons runners again at a home championships.

Follow Callum Hawkin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/callhawk

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Tips for multi day cycling events

The physical demands of any multi-day cycling event are extreme, let alone one that takes 9 days and 969 miles to complete. The Deloitte Ride Across Britain is an iconic must-do event for anyone serious about cycling. There’s just something spectacular about saying you made it to the other end of 9 gruelling days of back-to-back physical exertion across some of Britain’s toughest hilly terrain, breath-taking scenery and some of the best and most famous cycling routes in the country. But it won’t be easy.

Here are some tips for conquering the RAB:

1.) Do your prep work

Have you trained long and hard enough to handle the demands of the race? It may sound obvious, but making sure your fitness level is up to par is pretty important. If you feel utterly exhausted after 5 hours in the saddle and thousands of calories down, it is going to be a struggle to get up and going every morning. Make sure you know the demands of the event you’re getting into. The Journey doesn’t start at Lands’ end, but the moment you sign up.

 

2.) Commit to your nutrition plan and stick to it

Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t is extremely important. Different sports drinks contain varying amounts of carbs and electrolytes, and some can contain protein. If you haven’t trained with these products, it’s not wise to consume them during the event, as you risk causing stomach issues.

HIGH5 Nutrition is a great choice for those with a sensitive stomach, as it uses mostly natural flavours and colours, and has many products within the range that are gluten- and sugar-free as well. HIGH5 undergoes rigorous testing in both the lab and with athletes in the real world, which means it won’t let you down when it matters most. It’s also Vegetarian Society approved.

 

3.) Eat with the next day in mind

The most critical aspect of stage race nutrition is getting in enough nutrients to maximise your body’s ability to repair and recover from one stage to the next. The RAB is particularly tough since it involves extensive climbing, which requires considerable energy expenditure. Avoiding fatigue means proper pre, during and post-race nutrition.

 

If you’re used to training for single-day events, not getting in enough nutrition can be a common mistake. If you empty your carbohydrate reserves in one day’s riding, it’s almost impossible to fully re-fuel by the next day and you will start with a part-empty tank. You must make a major effort to focus on fuelling your carbohydrate reserves during and after each day’s riding. This is critical to consistent performance in multi-day events.

Check out HIGH5’s Advanced Nutrition Guide for Multi-Day Events

 

4.) Hydration is key

“The best advice to start with would be to ensure that you hydrate as often as possible. Often, you’ve already passed the point of no return in terms of being dehydrated if you wait to drink only when you are thirsty,”

Dehydration will severely affect energy levels. Your muscle cells are almost three-quarters water, so if you’re short on fluids, you’ll feel the strain. Drinking little and often will give you the best chance of hitting your targets.

But what should you be drinking and how much? During endurance exercise, you need to focus on both hydration and energy to keep you going for longer. Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water to optimise endurance performance. HIGH5 EnergySource is a scientifically formulated carbohydrate and electrolyte sports drink designed for use during exercise to both replace key electrolytes and supply energy to your muscles. HIGH5 Nutrition will be available throughout the course of RAB, so it may be worthwhile getting your body used to it now. They’re also the official on-course nutrition partner for a large number of the European IRONMAN events, should you be considering the next big challenge.

 

Even with a good hydration strategy, you often finish exercise mildly (or more severely in hot conditions) dehydrated, so it’s important to continue drinking after exercise. You should aim to replace 150% of your fluid lost through exercise within 3 hours of finishing. This means that if you finish exercising with a one litre fluid deficit, you should drink 1.5 litres. A drink that contains carbohydrates and protein, like HIGH5 Protein Recovery, can help to rapidly restore muscle carbohydrate stores and also help with the dreaded onset of soreness.

 

Thirst is the initial sign of dehydration. Symptoms of intermediate dehydration include: dry mouth and lips, reduced sweat output, muscle cramps and light-headedness.

 

5.) Don’t faff around

When the riding is done for the day, don’t just stand around in your sweaty kit. The sooner you can get cooled down, clean, fuelled, hydrated and off your feet, the better. Anything else is just delaying valuable recovery time.

A dirty, sweated-in chamois is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria – E. coli, salmonella and C. difficile, to name a few. The pros’ shortcut is to hop in the shower, kit and helmet on. The padding of your helmet accumulates bacteria and sweat just as quickly as your kit, so don’t leave it out. When you’re done, you can just remove your gear and hang it out to dry for the next day.

A post-ride rubdown can also work wonders. Nothing too vigorous or hard, just a light massage to help increase circulation and assist the muscles in clearing lactic acid. RAB will have massage facilities available for riders in need of that extra recovery boost.

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The secret ingredient for your marathon training

How important is it to rest during high mileage weeks leading up to a race such as the London Marathon? The answer is, yes you’ve guessed it, VERY important! In fact, it could be argued that it is just as important as making sure you are getting 7+ hours sleep everyday to be able to get up and work/train/perform the next day.

Recovery is the key to performing. It is sometimes abused and often not taken seriously enough. No matter what level and ability you are, recovering needs to be just as important as training. Us runners can be a stubborn bunch. For me personally my one day a week rest day couldn’t come soon enough, however once it’s here I’m itching to get out the door and run. I know though how important it is that I rest. I feel recharged, happier and stronger when running again.

Recovery isn’t just resting from running though, it’s giving your brain a break from training and giving your body a chance to refuel and absorb the vital nutrients your muscles need to recover and prepare for another hard week of training. Be smart and refuel cleverly.

Taking on vital the ingredients at times that matter will make a huge impact to your training. Protein as we all know has a huge benefit to recovering. Protein shakes, bars and meals will repair your muscles after training and help rebuild damaged muscle tissue. HIGH5 uses the very highest quality of whey protein isolate for optimal recovery. Post exercise nutrition can improve the quality and the rate of recovery after exercise. This is vital for reaching and maintaining a high level of fitness. Less muscle damage and better recovery can result in stronger more resilient muscle, lower risk of injury and more rapid fitness gains from your training. HIGH5 offer a range products that will compliment your recovery. You might also want to add a twist to you recovery drink – you can find some great ideas here.

Protein Recovery Smoothie

HIGH5 Running Nutrition Guides have been designed to help you run faster and to finish a challenge, like a marathon, feeling strong and with a smile on your face. High5 work exceptionally hard to ensure that you can perform at your best. HIGH5 nutrition undergoes rigorous testing in both the lab and with athletes in the real world. It won’t let you down when it matters most. Here you can find guides to support you on your running journey.

Enjoy your rest days, embrace them as they will make us runners faster and fitter. Without rest days we would run ourselves into the ground through over-training and increasing our risk of picking up an injury. Look after yourself, fuel yourself with the correct nutrition that will help you to replenish the vitamins and minerals that we lose through training… and lastly inspire others! There is always someone working harder than you out there but there is also always someone wishing they could be doing just as much as you!

Be clever – train smart! Your team from RunningWithUs

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Protein Recovery Smoothie

Five delicious Protein Recovery smoothies

Fast recovery is vital to reaching and maintaining a high level of fitness. The body recovers at the greatest rate during a two hour window immediately after exercise, but only if you provide it with the vital nutrients it needs.

HIGH5 Protein Recovery is the ultimate drink for after exercise. The ingredients used in the scientifically formulated blend of protein and carbs promote recovery of normal muscle function² after exercise and contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass¹.

Muscles become sore and stiff when they are stressed during exercise. The depletion of muscle glycogen (muscle carb stores) can impair muscle function resulting in fatigue and reduced exercise performance. The unique forms of protein and carbohydrate in Protein Recovery are chosen to ensure you recover after intense long lasting exercise² and turn up ready to perform at your next training session.

It comes in three delicious flavours:

  • Summer Fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Banana-Vanilla.

Tired of the same old combination for your post-workout shake? Try one of our Protein Recovery smoothie recipes for a delicious, healthy treat:

 

 

Consume as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. ¹Protein contributes to growth and maintenance of mass²Carbohydrates (CHOs) contribute to recovery of normal muscle function after intensive/long-lasting exercise leading to muscle fatigue & depletion of muscle glycogen. Consume 4g per kg/bwt of CHOs from all sources within 4-6 hrs post-exercise to achieve claimed effects.

 

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Draft-Legal racing and how to train for it

Draft-legal racing in a triathlon is one of those subjects that when discussed always brings out opposing opinions in people. As one of the growing number of events to offer a closed road draft-legal bike leg, we recently caught up with Brighton and Hove Triathlon to get some background information and their opinion on draft-legal racing in a Triathlon

DSC_8019Although drafting has been legal in Olympic and ITU Elite races for some time, the format was only introduced into Age-Group racing last year. It is still a controversial topic since it has been argued that drafting is less physically difficult and has instead made way for tactical racing. When athletes draft during the cycle leg (and it is also possible during the swim), they can save a lot of energy. As a result, the winners are often decided purely on the run course since there is very little chance of them getting a head start on anyone off the bike. This can make it far more exciting for spectators and TV, but is arguably defeating the original point of triathlon, that it is an individual race won or lost based on individual speed over the three disciplines.

The 2016 Age-Group World Championships in Mexico had the sprint distance in the drafting format so regardless of opinion, drafting is becoming a very prominent aspect to Age-Group racing. A draft-legal race entails different knowledge and skills to a standard, non-drafting format. It also requires a change in training to be race ready. We spoke with Brighton and Hove Triathlon Race Director, and Olympic Competition Manager, John Lunt:

Q.: What are your thoughts on the new draft-legal format for age groupers?
Lunt: “Draft racing gives you the ability to cycle a very fast bike course in a group and whilst this can make the cycling section very exciting and a lot of fun, it does require a level of technical expertise and experience. Drafting adds variety and another type of competition.”

IMG_6283Q.: Why is it more technical to non-legal races?
Lunt: “Cyclists ride in a tight bunch or in a single file line which allows the non-leading riders to expend less energy as a result of the slipstream created by the front rider. However, drafting requires a different set of skills and an increased awareness within the race, with a need to communicate with others around you in order to draft safely and effectively. As a general rule, it should be performed by more experienced cyclists who can react quickly.”

Q.: How can athletes train for draft-legal races?
Lunt: “Training for a draft-legal race isn’t massively different to the standard Age-Group format. However it helps to train within a group in order to get used to cycling in close proximity within the group which you race in. It’s important to be confident in your abilities when riding with others around you.”

Q.: Brighton and Hove Triathlon is a draft legal race. What was the thought behind that?
Lunt: “The Brighton and Hove seafront is blessed with wide, closed-roads which increases the safety of our draft-legal sprint race, allowing less experienced drafters to feel comfortable competing. The flat course should see some very exciting racing indeed.”

For more information and guidance on draft-legal racing, check out this handy guide from British Triathlon.

For more information about the Brighton and Hove Triathlon or to sign up, visit www.brightonandhovetriathlon.com.

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The importance of the ‘long run’ & how to progress

The coaching team from RunningWithUs take a look at the long run and how you can use it to your best advantage for your marathon training.

NYC_LOTR-3118 2 (1)The ‘long run’ can be the most daunting part of your running training plan. The length of a long run is relative to the person running it and the distance that they are training for, but generally speaking a long run is between one and three hours, running at a low intensity. The long run takes an increasing role through February if you’re training for a spring race. A great goal is to get in a consistent weekly long run of 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours at a relaxed and conversational effort by the middle to end of February.

Increasing the miles
Patience is key, even for the more experienced runners. Adding 10-15 minutes each week onto your long run is a sensible progression. Don’t be surprised if niggles and fatigue set in as you start jumping up by 30-40 minutes at a time.

What pace should I run my long runs?
In early February, aim to keep your long runs at a fully conversational, relaxed pace that’s 45-60 seconds a mile slower than your planned marathon pace. This will build your body’s ability to burn stored fats and ensure you are fresh enough to hit your quality sessions mid-week.NYC_LOTR-0949

Pre-marathon race prep
Using a half marathon race as a marathon paced long run can be a great way of building confidence around
your goal marathon pace. As extra preparation, try adding 20-30 minutes easy before and after the half marathon.

How to fuel your long runs
When your long run starts to extend beyond the 1 hour 30 minute mark, we recommend your really start to practice with different options for pre-run breakfasts and also fuelling during the run itself. Your long run is the best opportunity to practise your race day nutrition strategy. Gels are the most efficient and effective way of getting carbohydrates quickly into the system whilst running. To start with, take small sips of gel and look to take one every 30-60 minutes or so during the course of your long run.

IMG_3102What gels should I choose?
There are lots of brands out there offering similar sports nutrition. HIGH5 have always been our ‘go to’ brand for fuelling and recovery. It’s clean energy with no added nasties, like artificial sweeteners.
Take one EnergyGel Plus or IsoGel Plus sachet every 20-30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. The most convenient way of carrying gels is to use a Gel Belt but make sure you test it out in training. There are always a few runners that lose their gels within the first miles of a race because the gels are the wrong size for their belt.

To ensure you are fuelling and refuelling yourself clever, check out HIGH5 Marathon Nutrition Guide.

Be safe, work hard and enjoy your run!

RunningWithUs

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