Thursday, March 06, 2014

Why I Run: On the Road to Boston-Some Fast Winter Racing, adios Boost and Beet Juice Concentrate

With Boston on the schedule and in the middle of a harsh New England winter what better way to tune things up than some of the many classic longer winter races. So far I have run 3: Stew Chase 15K, Half at the Hamptons, and Black Cat 20 Miler. All went off without a hitch between storms but of course in cold conditions.

How have they gone? Great! Surprisingly so for this old runner.

For the first time since 2011 on  a legit course (i.e. not a downhill point to point) I ran under 1:40 for the half clocking a 1:37.46 at the Hampton Half followed a week later by 7:51 pace without much difficulty at the Black Cat 20 Miler on a very cold day.

So what is going on?
  • Training: My training has been consistent,  hovering around 40 miles per week since December up from lower 30's last year. No injuries thankfully.
  • adidas adios Boost:  I truly believe the adidas adios boost shoes  (review here) have played a major role in my performance this winter.   Decision made. I will run them at Boston, that is unless I can get my hands on the upcoming Boston Boost.  First time in many years I will run a marathon in something other than a trainer. Great road feel in these shoes. I am able to maintain a snappy consistent stride (for me) and pace without feeling road harshness. Last year I ran my marathons in the Energy Boost (review here) and while easy on the legs found them a bit stiff, directed and constricting. The adios has just the right cushion and rebound and is far less sensitive to stiffening in the cold, important as all 3 races were in below freezing temperatures.  And I have recovered incredibly quick, within a couple of days from each race, including the 20 miler and with no leg soreness.
    adidas adios boost
  • Beet Juice Concentrate: Before each race,2-3 hours before, and before my St George Boston qualifier  I have taken a shot of beet-it beet juice concentrate.  I heard about beet concentrate via a Runner's World article by Amby Burfoot:  "Nitric oxide (produced by saliva interacting with nitrate in the beet juice) can substantially lower blood pressure, and somehow extend endurance." Amby also cites Alex Hutchinson's Sweat Science article which discusses credible research on the effect of beet juice on endurance: "The amount of oxygen required to maintain a given level of moderate exercise decreased after taking beet juice; in other words, it took less energy to cycle at the same pace." The research cited actually used the beet-it product. I am convinced beet juice concentrate works. I could feel my blood pressure, and nerves, drop and was as calm as a baby before all the cases, no jitters. I had far more consistent splits than usual after a more moderate first few miles than usual. Stuff works for me, convinced of it.
With a few more weeks of good training I expect I will be ready for Boston, and for once calm at the starting line, I hope...