Week one of the my first block of base training is in the books! This past week was around 11.5 hours of training broken out as follows:
4 swims; main set/focus for each workout respectively: race pace 5x200 yard intervals, 3x400 at medium effort, pulling the last 400, 400-300-200-100 finishing last half of each at race pace, 1,000 straight at medium to low intensity for endurance. 8,200 yards total
3 bikes; main set/focus for each workout respectively: tempo effort for 35 mins followed by endurance effort for 10 mins, 2x10 mins at threshold effort, 2 hour endurance ride with varying intensity. 4.5 hours and about 80 miles - all on the trainer = boring.
3 Runs; mid distance, threshold run and long run. 17.5 miles total.
3 strength training sessions.
All in all it was a good first week. I'm looking forward to an easier day tomorrow with a short recovery ride and recovery run followed by lots of stretching and some foam roll work, then I get back at it on Tuesday. Including Monday's recovery workouts, next week will increase to 13 hours. I will try to increase my time at intensities close to threshold as well. It looks like this coming week has much better weather than last week, so hopefully I can get some of the runs and bikes outside. Jaime also watched some of my swim practice on Saturday and found some key things to fix, which will take some time, but I think will really help improve my swim times, so I'm really excited about that.
As excited as I am about training, I'm even more excited about a big nutritional change I've made. I have been hearing more and more about the Paleo diet from a wide variety of places, so I decided to look into it. I bought the book "The Paleo Diet for Athletes". One of the authors is Joe Friel, whom I've mentioned in this blog a few times. Basically, the diet is to eat only the foods that our stone age ancestors ate. The really means lots of lean animal and fish protein, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Without plagiarising the book here, I will quickly try to sum up the benefits of the diet. First and foremost it is much higher in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein than the typical endurance athlete's diet. It also leads to a much healthier pH balance in your blood. If diet leads to an acidic environment in your boduy, as most non-paleo diets do, then your body has to attack muscle and bone to get the nutrients it needs to balance the pH. The net effect is that you have less energy, recovery is impaired, etc. The diet also has a much lower overall glycemic index due to the absence of all grains.
So, what can and can't you eat? Well, just ask yourself the question, could a caveman eat it, or make it with minimal processing? So, general rules of thumb are that you can't eat any dairy or any grains, no legumes (this includes peanuts - more on that later), nothing processed, minimal sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc, as those would only be available in small quantities at specific times during the year.
I will be honest, it isn't the easiest thing to follow, but you certainly can make excellent meals given the restrictions. It will force you to branch out and add flavor to foods using natural ingredients, and that honestly produces much better flavoring anyways. Peanut butter is the toughest for me to give up, but Almond butter is right there to help out thankfully.
So, have I noticed any difference? Well, it has been about 8 or 9 days, but I do seem to not get ravenously hungry like I did before. I also have recovered better in my first week of hard training than I recall recovering last year. I also have better energy levels, especially after work, which is when I usually would skip a workout due to feeling tired. Most importantly, it helped my shed a pound of fat in the first week. It is still early, but I think I'm a believer and will follow it as closely as possible going forward. As with anything, there will be times when you have to make an exception, such as a dinner out, or a special event, etc. I would encourage anyone to try it if you get upset stomachs often, seem to always be tired, or aren't seeing the results you want from your training.
Hopefully everyone has had a good start to the season, or is getting ready and excited to start their season soon. If you need a little motivation to hop on the bike, check out the videos here. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=670022