Since joining the club a couple years ago (don’t worry, this won’t be another life story!) 😘 I have adopted the status of being a witch doctor/fool with my approach in supplements and nutrition in helping my running performances. The days of one bottle of lucazade sport and a banana are long gone and now if I don’t bathe in a bath of magnesium oil the day before a race, then I’m gonna have a terrible run. I do hope this will give some insight into why I take what I take and hopefully doesn’t get me banned from competing in any future events.
Where too start I ask my self, and as I have already mentioned magnesium oil, that seems like the perfect place to begin. That fad started a long time ago when I heard Matt Lewis mention to another runner about it being really good for cramp. But for me it came out when we was in Berlin for the marathon, and to my memory, Gavin and Andrew also were keen on giving their legs a spray and rub down on the morning of the race. After doing some extensive research I found that magnesium oil, when spray onto the skin, is really good to help with muscle fatigue and cramps. Perfect for a marathon if you ask me. Stupidly I hadn’t really used it much prior to the marathon and in fact I potentially od’ed on the stuff and suffered with cramp about 6/8 miles in. Gavin and Andrew however both ran fantastic marathon and neither suffered at all from fatigue or cramp. So my overall experience with magnesium oil is use sparingly and try it before you plan to race.
I don’t think there has been a race this year that I haven’t had a can of (rhymes with) ted pull or high caffeine energy drink in my hand 30/45 mins before a start to a race. This is purely and simply to get my heart rate up and almost acts as a helping hand to a warm up. The high caffeine content will make your reactions faster and wake you up also. It does also help with endurance races as it encourages muscles to burn fat as fuel instead of glycogen which will prolong “the wall”. Caffeine is also now being used in energy gels which should be used on the longer run to promote a higher heart rate later on in the race. I tend to take the caffeine gels at about 15 miles, and every 3 miles until the finish of a marathon. Once again in the reason being to not hit the wall, which is when you’re heart rate drops and your out of all your glycogen (energy). I highly recommend caffeine to any runner, just train on them before as they can mess around with you’re tummy. And potentially you’re pants! 💩
Now my favourite, coconut water! The stuff is like liquid gold. Great tasting, full of potassium and super hydrating. I couldn’t recommend the stuff enough. I tend to start the night before with a carton and then another carton in the morning. As we all know, potassium is great for not cramping, which is why we always have a banana before a race. Well coconut water has more potassium than bananas! The hydration side of running is simple! You need to be hydrated! The amount of sweating you do when running, you need to make sure you’re correctly hydrated, with out being over hydrated! With that I mean drinking 2ltrs of water on a start line and every bottle at a water station! All you’re doing is going to make yourself feel bloated and sick. So starting the night before will make sure by the time you get on the start line, you only need to swig at some water to replace what you have lost through sweating. Also I am certain that hydration will aid recover with lactic acids and eliminate cramp!
I have dabbled in beetroot juice, which for someone who doesn’t really like beetroot, its bloody difficult. I haven’t done a huge amount of research on it as I find the only benefits from it I have experienced is that a “number one” is like black current juice, and a “number 2” is like black current juice. I have heard its good for your blood and nitrogen but I’m not too convinced with it and I’ll only really have that in a small amount on the morning and night before a race, If at all!
I can’t do this blog without mention creatine! Creatine is a non flavoured white powder which got me an in depth strip search at the passport control in Berlin! Hanz and Stefan were really nice too! No I’m joking! But for me it was something I took when I used to be a little bit porkier and wanted to get “hench”. Simply it’s work for helping you train harder, a lot harder! It makes you push you’re self with out really hurting, which will make you stronger. It does this by depositing water in you’re muscles which obviously makes them bigger, in turn makes your stronger! One down side for me was the mood swings. Couple of times I was quizzed by the Sunday running crew on if I was taking something! So be careful with that one. I tend to use that for a short time as I can’t afford a divorce.
I also abuse multi vits, vit c, cod liver oil, glucosamine and barroca. I am sure I’m not the only person to take these and I’m sure you all know the benefits on them. I will add vit c is really need for longer races because you absolutely smash your immune system after a long race and are vulnerable to illness. Maybe frank needs these so he keeps the sniffles away 😷
Now that’s the pre race prep work done, I will now talk about post race! This is something that I have started in the last couple of months and find it really beneficial for muscle recover, which is good when training for a marathon as the last thing you want to do is miss a training session.
Protein, protein, protein! As a runner we have the luxury on living off carbs for energy and never much protein, but protein is a major part of running and shouldn’t be forgot about. I try to get a protein shake of some description down my neck within 1 hour of finishing a race. Having it this soon after a run, will speed up muscle recovery and will ease soreness. With protein, your body can’t digest more than 20g at one time so keep an eye out for that. The types of shakes I have had are whey protein shake that you could imagine, a shot of protein milk (which was good as it was a small amount and didn’t fill you up), or my favourite a friji or nesquick milkshake. Even a glass of 500ml milk will help with about 16g of protein!
The one that separates the men from the boys, ice baths! Dipping yourself in a bath full of cold water isn’t that appealing but after doing it, you do feel better for it! It speed up muscle recovery and for the men, gives you an inny! You only need to shallow fill the bath and make sure the water covers your legs as you sit down. No need to submerge yourself up to the shoulders! That’s crazy! Just using the cold tap will be enough, but if you are feeling freaky then drop a bag of ice in there too. No longer than 8 mins as you could get hypothermia. So be careful.
Compression clothing! Or as the neighbours think, the crazy spider man suit! Wrapping yourself in Lycra from head to toe helps with blood flow, which is what you need after a run. With the compression I use a foam roller and do some light stretching. All in aid of blood flow and reduce muscle soreness. But if anyone has used a foam roller, you feel like it’s only going to make you’re legs worse!
Hopefully some one finds this beneficial and will adopt some of the stuff I have said as some of it works, even its psychologically. Most of it could be a fad but as long as I feel it’s helping then I ain’t going to stop. I will try and do an updated blog once I have collected enough of my blood for transplants and my order of EPO arrives! You can buy anything from China!
Thanks for reading