Packing list for your running competition

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The training preparation is over, “only” the actual run is still to come. Definitely something to look forward to. If only the annoying packing on the evening before wouldn’t be left. Our list should help you to make the packing process as easy as possible and to make the evening before a bit less stressful.

Clothing

  • Underwear
  • Ev. sports bra
  • Running socks
  • Sports top
  • Running shorts
  • Jacket / Training jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Running shoes (no experiments: only worn ones)
  • Dry running clothes for warming up and after the race
  • Headgear
  • Longsleeve
  • Start number band / safety pins
  • Drinking Belt
  • Insoles

Hygienic articles

  • Towel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush / Comb
  • Scrunchies
  • Sun lotion

Food

  • Energy Bar / Gel
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Ev meal while on the go / snacks for the trip
  • Salt tablets
  • Proteinshake / -bar for after the run

Documents and things relevant for the competition

  • Timing Chip (ev)
  • Bib number
  • Running clock (loaded) and chest belt

Others

  • Money / Wallet
  • Entertainment for travel and distraction (book/music)
  • Mobile
  • Headphones

The packing list for different events can of course appear differently and should be adapted accordingly.

The training weeks right after the marathon / main race

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The last weeks and months have been intense. The preparation for the competition took a lot of energy and time. Now the strains of the preparation are over as well as the sweat of your main competition has dried up. Your focus for the next days and weeks should now be on recovery which is just as important as the training itself. This blog post will guide you through an optimal recovery process and give you tips on how to motivate yourself anew.

Running competitions are a heavy burden on the body. Especially when it comes to longer distances such as an ultra-run, a marathon or a half marathon. During the competition you take up a debt on your own body, which you should pay back in the following days and weeks through various recovery measures. Otherwise, you run the risk of making a good return to training impossible.

What to do now?

Immediate actions on competition day:

recovery after marathon

  • Put on dry clothes as soon as possible to prevent your body from cooling down too quickly.
  • Try to restore your body’s fluid and energy balance as quickly as possible. Avoid alcohol, however, at least for the first few hours.
  • Don’t expose yourself to the sun unnecessarily.
  • Cooldown: Ideally, you should do a short cooldown to “cool down” your body slowly: a loose jogging or an alternative form of training such as cycling. Especially after a long competition, this might not always be your favourite activity. Still, concentrate at least on the points above.
  • An alternating hot/cold shower can also boost your blood circulation and promote recovery.
  • At many competitions, there is the possibility for a massage in the finish area. A feel-good massage, possibly with lymph drainage, stimulates recovery as well.
  • Later in the day, a little stretching can be beneficial.
  • Avoid intensive wellness and sauna directly after the competition.

Medium-term actions – the days after the competition:

after marathon recovery

  • Do not do any training in the first day after your main competition.
    Instead, work with regenerative measures.
  • A longer massage with a masseur or physiotherapist can be a good way to boost your recovery and relaxation.
  • Further, water in all its forms is a blessing and especially promotes recovery:
    • Sauna visits are beneficial indeed. They stimulate blood circulation
      and generally help to promote recovery.
    • A spa visit with a bubble bath pool or salt water is always fun.
    • Swimming or bathing in a lake (or even better in the sea) is a great away to boost relaxation.
  • Often, the most painful time is on the second day after the competition due to sore muscles. Rest assured, this is quite normal.
  • In addition to the points mentioned above, mental recovery is also important. Just do what you feel like doing without having to think about your next workout too much: How about dinner with friends soon?

Long-term actions:

  • Even now, a few days into the recovery process, it’s good to keep your blood circulation going (of course at a moderate level). If you feel fit again after a few days of recovery, you can initiate more active regeneration measures. This includes extensive movement in the water, loose spinning, walks, hikes (mainly uphill), etc.
  • However, see that you do not plan these trainings in advance. Instead, decide spontaneously whether you feel like it and have the energy to do it. It is extremely important to listen to your body during this phase. Note that planned trainings are more difficult to adjust than spontaneous decisions made on your desire and energy to move in a particular moment.
  • How about trying out something new? Yoga – for example – promotes flexibility and helps to eliminate imbalances, thus preventing injuries.
  • During the recovery phases, running.COACH will not plan any trainings for you for a certain period of time, exactly for the reason mentioned above. In principle, it is not forbidden to move. However, you should definitely listen to your body and take a break in case of tiredness or slight pain rather than taking any unnecessary risks.

My competition didn’t go the way I imagined it would. What can I change in the future?

  • We recommend bringing variation into your training routine by altering the number of workouts. This can be permanent or by consciously planning one week with one unit more and another week with one unit less. Example: 5 instead of 4 and then 3 instead of 4 units. You can drag and drop the units to other weeks in the calendar view, for example, or add units manually.
  • Make sure you can meet the guidelines of running.COACH. It is particularly important that you are able to perform the long jogs and the intensive runs (intervals, threshold runs) as often as possible every week. In case of a diary clash, it makes sense to postpone these key sessions to another day and to skip an endurance run or regeneration run instead.
  • Make sure to get enough rest during the training phase as well.
  • Consciously incorporate regenerative activities.
  • Set yourself new goals – These would ideally include goals you can tackle together with your friends!

Compression socks – colourful, magic socks?

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Green, yellow, pink or blue: today, compression socks or stockings are available in almost every colour. However, their positive effect on performance is disputed. How much is real and how much is placebo?

Good for recovery

Although results in scientific studies are varied, one relatively clear common conclusion can be drawn from them: compression socks enhance recovery. Through the positive effect on blood-transporting vessels, they improve blood circulation, increase oxygen supply of the musculature and they improve venous backflow. This effect can be felt as long as you are moving, standing or sitting. As soon as you lie down, the principle doesn’t work anymore. Thus, compression socks can as well be taken off for sleeping. Furthermore, whole socks are more efficient than cuffs. However, probably, none of them makes you faster. Nevertheless, they have other positive effects, making you a popular sparring partner.

Higher running comfort

Compression socks can support tendons and ligaments similarly to the way bandages or tapes do. Also, they help preventing muscle vibrations, which can be obstructive for performance under certain circumstances. Light legs over inumerous kilometers may be the result.

Everbody can wear compression socks, as long as they feel comfortable. The only exception are people with progressed peripheral vascular disease or decompensated cardiac insufficiency.

This is a contribution by Dr. Rer. Nat Michael Schwarz. He works as a sports scientist and performance diagnostician at the Medbase sports medical centre in Zürich. This specialised centre for sports medicine coaches both team and individual athletes and offers a broad spectrum of performance tests, ranging from sports medical check-ups to sports specific physiotherapy and rehab.

 

Carbohydrate periodisation for improved performance

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Periodisation of carbohydrate intake in endurance sports – a possibility to efficiently enhance performance and to burn fat.

Several pieces of a puzzle contribute to your running performance as a whole. When you first start running, progress will come quickly. However, one day you will reach a point when it becomes difficult to set new and efficient stimuli. This does not only apply to competitive sports people. Everybody starts working on particular pieces of the puzzle in order to imporve general performance. Nutrition is one of them. In this contribution, sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. Nat. Joëlle Flück explains the influence of carbohydrate periodisation in endurance sports on performance and fat reduction.

Carbohydrates are necessary for maximum performance capacity

In endurance sports especially, competition weight is an evergreen. However, weight loss during competition season, in most cases, is not reasonable. The loss of performance due to lack in energy is too big. Another evergreen is the question of what the ideal nutrition looks like. The selection of different forms of nutrition such as, for example, the «ketogene», «low carb» or «paleo» diets is almost too exhaustive, which makes it difficult to keep the overview and to choose a suitable and sensible way for yourself. There is scientific evidence for the necessity of carbohydrates for maximal capacity under intense or maximal pressure or stress. Thus, a low carb diet during intense competition phases is probably not sensible.

Combining low carb and high carb diet

Sports scientists have engaged extensively with the topic of nutrition for optimal increase in performance. They have, amongst others, looked at the effects of a low-carb-high-fat diet on performance. A lot of studies have shown that, in the short term, this form of nutrition can increase fat burning. However, in the long run, it has shown to be rather unfavourable in terms of performing at the maximum of your capacity and to improve generally. Nevertheless, these exact short-term effects can be used in training in order to maximise endurance performance even more effectively. Scientists came up with the idea of combining the low carb and the high carb diet, using the advantages of both and to apply them the best possible way. This is how the concept of carbohydrate perodisation was introduced.

Results of studies on carbohydrate periodisation

Marquet et al. (2016) conducted a study with two groups of triathletes. One group ate according to the common guidelines for sports nutrition : enough carbohydrates before intense sessions/competitions, in order to improve maximum performance, and enough carbohydrates after interval sessions to support recovery processes. The other group ate according to the principle of carbohydrate periodisation : normal supply of carbohydrates before interval training, followed by a low-carb phase before bed time. The morning after, the second group conducted a low intensity session on empty stomach, while the first group only trained after a breakfast rich in carbohydrates. After having repeated the different patterns over three weeks the group testing the carbohydrate periodisation showed greater improvement in both a cycling test (+12% longer) and a 10km run (3% faster). Furthermore, the fat mass of this group was reduced by 0.8kg. The other group, however, showed no significant increase in performance after three weeks and both body weight and body composition remained unchanged.

Conclusion

This study shows that it is possible to improve performance as well as body composition through optimal combination of alternating phases of low and high supply of carbohydrates. Accurate planning of training, nutrition and recovery, as well as time of implementation, are crucial. It is also recommended not to repeat such low-carb phases too many times a week, as they also drain on body resources. Further, susceptibility of infections or risks of overtraining and overloading increase. Therefore, it would be sensible to talk to a specialist and to professionally tailor individual nutrition to training and competition plans, in order to eventually achieve optimal increase in performance capacity and fat reduction.

 

Joëlle FlückThis is a contribution by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works in the sports medicine in Nottwil, where she coaches athletes of all levels, including high performance athletes. At the same time, she individually conducts studies in the area of sports nutrition and she is the vice president of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. Being a former middle distance runner, she has won inumerous medals at Swiss championships. Today, she runs longer distances.

10 tips for running training in high temperatures

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While some love the heat and handle it well even in terms of running training, others suffer from it. We are going provide ten tips for those amongst you who belong to the latter group, but also for everyone else, in order to keep going with your training even during summer.

Snacks for Runners

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In our series #RUNNINGFOOD we give you practicle tips in terms of suitable snacks for you as a runner. It keeps turning up once in a while, this slight feeling of hunger. But, what to do? If you feel like you need little snacks in everyday life, you should prepare some to bring with you. Nothing is more «dangerous» than sitting at the work desk, getting hungry, and then walking to the company’s chocolate machine to go and get yourself a Snickers. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Sometimes this slight sensation of hunger comes out of nowhere, even if you have eaten a good lunch. So, bring something with you instead, or keep a pack of nuts or trail mix in the drawer of your desk. A little snack in between does not do any harm at all. On the contrary: those who train regulary burn more energy and they often feel delayed hunger (espacially after a long or intense session).

However, if you eat a lot of «fast carbohydrates», such as, for example, toast with honey for breakfast, pasta and pesto for lunch and something sweet in between, you should change something about your basic nutrition. This hunger in between stems from a strongly fluctuating blood sugar level.

Here are some healthy snacks for you, adjusted to the time of training.

Snack about 2-3 hours before training

Before a training, it is important that you choose foods you can stomach well. Here, you need to test and try out. Generally, these snacks should be rather rich in carbohydrates and poor in fats and proteins. The more intense the session, the more important it is to make the right choice.

How about this?

  • a ripe banana
  • a lye pretzel
  • a sports bar
  • a portion of porridge (cooked in water)

 

Porridge

Ingredients (for 1 person):

100ml water

100ml milk (or just water)

about 30-40g oats

1 tea spoon of cinnamon

some honey

Preparation:

Heat up oats in the water (and milk, if you choose that version). Boil up quickly and let it swell. Season with cinnamon and honey. A ripe banana with it is delicious, too.

Snack a couple of hours after training

If you have eaten after training, but still get a slight feeling of hunger a couple of hours later, the ideal snack would contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

  • butter milk or Kefir, either natural or blended with banana/ berries/ cocoa
  • trail mix
  • salted nuts
  • yoghurt with fruit
  • a piece of fruit
  • vegetabe sticks with cottage cheese
  • protein drink
  • smoothie

Or one out of these recipes

 

Almond-coconut balls

Ingredients:

100g ground almonds

100g coconut flakes

50g almond butter

50g cocoa butter (or double the amount of almond butter)

50g agave syrup

some cocoa

Preparation:

Mix almonds with coconut flakes. Have the cocoa butter melt gently in a water bath, blend with almond butter and add to the almond-coconut-mixture. Add agave syrup, if you like. Knead by hand. Cool down and then form small balls. Roll in cocoa.

 

Self-made chocolate pudding

Ingredients (2-3 portions):

500ml milk

40g cornstarch

2 table spoons cocoa powder

50g agave syrup?

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla

Preparation:

Boil up the milk in a pot. Mix cornstarch with cocoa and vanilla in a bowl. Blend with 3 table spoons of milk. Pour the mixture into the boiling milk with a whisk, sweeten with agave syrup.

 

Salty-sweet bars

Ingredients:

100g peanut butter crunchy salted

1,5 table spoons honey

50g agave syrup

60 g yoghurt butter

50g flaxseeds

50g pumpkin seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50 g sesame

80 g puffed amaranth

50 pretzel sticks, cracked

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 180°C . Blend peanut butter, butter, honey and agave syrup at a medium temperature in a pot. Mix the other ingredients and add to the blend. Blend carefully and add some more honey or peanut butter, depending on the texture. Put the mixture into a baking dish (put a baking paper under) and cut into pieces. The bars normally stay fresh and crispy for a long time if you keep them in a biscuit tin.

 

Goji power balls (vegan)

Ingredients:

50g Goji berries

150g dates stoned and dried

200 g almonds or hazelnuts finely ground

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla

3 table spoons coconut flakes

Preparation:

Mix Goji berries and dates together with some water in a food processor. Gradually add vanilla and almonds or hazlenuts. Once this has turned into a compact dough, knead once again with your hands before you form small balls with your hands. Roll in coconut flakes.

Snack on a rest day or at least 5-6 hours before training

If your training is not due until many hours later, so, for example, in the evening, but you get a little hungry in the morning, you can have one of the «after training» snacks. Those are well stomachable, so that they should not cause any troubles during training in the evening.

This blog entry was written by Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck, running.COACH Gold prescription coach, sports scientist and German champion (2010) in half marathon.

The last two weeks before a competition

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Are you waiting for an upcoming competition? Anticipation is growing, but also a slight nervousness? Now, it’s important to keep your inner calm – and to focus on a couple of points, in order to be able to perform at the very best of your abilities on day X and to show how well you have been preparing.

Your final preparations start at least two weeks before the competition. Not only your body, but also your mind should be prepared for the big day, so that nothing will be left to chance on the day of the competition.

The last two weeks before the competition

No «making up for missed training»

Generally, shortly before a race, you cannot make up for sessions you’ve missed anymore. So close to the competition, very long or very intense sessions are to be avoided. You have done your work, rely on that! However, you might want to do some ascending runs at the end of sessions, as they keep your muscles ready to compete. Just follow the training plan.

Tapering

An ideal tapering means reducing your training amount the weeks before a competition. However, that does not mean that you only relax (Taper Week vs. Recovery Week). You should still be training, but only short sessions.

Material check

Your material (running shoes, clothes, hydration pack, etc.) should be tested and, if required, whipped into shape now at the latest. You should be familiar and feel comfortable with the material you use at the competition on day X. Don’t pack your gear the morning of the competition, but do that the day before. You might even want to compile a little check list, to make sure not to forget anything: running shoes, spare pair of running shoes, socks, tights/shorts, shirt, watch, refreshments, hat etc.

Planning: Arrival and course

Plan your competition in advance: journey there, key points of the course, refreshment stations, placing friends and family as spectators/supporters along the course etc. Engage actively with the course and go through the competition in your mind beforehand – with a successful finish, of course. You can even listen to a motivating song, which you then listen to again at the day of competition, in order to get into the right mood.

Nutrition

Eat balanced and include enough carbohydrates (whole grain pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.) in your menu. The last three days before the competition are especially important. But be careful: there is a risk for «too much ». You can find some recipes here. And don’t forget to drink enough water.

It doesn’t always have to be pasta. An ideal alternative are, for example, sweet potatoes. Cut them in small cubes and mix them as a curry with a little bit of ginger, served on couscous, topped with sprouts.

Recovery

Aside from training, many people are very busy: work, family and friends, as well as a lot of leisure time activities. As a result, they often miss out on getting enough sleep and recovery, both of which are important pieces of the puzzle. Thus, it is to be recommended that you slow down a bit and go to sleep early two weeks before an important competition. You might even have time for a power nap at lunchtime. Or a massage, provided you don’t have it all too shortly before the competition.

Keep calm

No matter if you have a slight pain somewhere in your body, if you have had a bad night’s sleep, or if you have started doubting; don’t let yourself be thrown off the track. You only waste your energy. Focus on something positive, like a special training session, or try to focus on your excitement about the upcoming competition.

How do you get yourself into the right competition mood? Please leave a comment.