After spending the past several weeks rehabbing a foot injury I'm feeling rested, recovered, and ready for a strong summer of trail racing. Lessons learned from past training sessions, a slew of positive lifestyle changes, and a broader base of knowledge concerning both exercise science and nutrition should create some exciting opportunities to put theory into practice over the course of the summer.
Some of the major tweaks to my training will include the absolute elimination of junk-fuel during long runs (Cliff-Bars, Gu's, anything containing refined sugars or questionable, unpronounceable ingredients). I'll be replacing these with home-made, nutrient dense bars/gels made from real food.
These Ginger Pear Energy Bars taken from the book Thrive by Brandon Brazier are an excellent example of what you can do with a little creativity, a basic understanding of the glycemic index and the nutritional needs of an endurance athlete, and a food processor.
1 small pear, cored
3/4 cup fresh or soaked dry dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup hemp protein
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Sea salt to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds
In a food processor, process all ingredients together except sesame seeds before shaping into bar. Coat with sesame seeds and freeze.
On that note, this will be my first racing season post veganism. Based on how I am feeling since eliminating whole grains, legumes, and most all processed foods from my diet and adopting a Paleo approach to eating I anticipate faster recovery times and better results in all aspects of my training.
To say that reintroducing local, grass-fed, meats into my diet, upping the content of high quality fats and lean proteins, and eliminating all processed carbohydrates has been a game changer for me would be an extreme understatement. These changes, along with a complete shift in my approach to strength training and metabolic conditioning, have been transformational in every sense of the word. I've never felt better and more prepared to test my limits than I do right now...
All thoughts welcome, more posts soon.