Everything is Running
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Everything is Running

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With the Vuelta a España winding down and the Big Sur Trail Half Marathon only 2-weeks away, I'm pretty much running, eating, and thinking about running. This week my obsession focus was fed by a couple of great podcast episodes, a new book to read, and getting an insight into a condition called Low Energy Availability. Here’s what I’ve been listening to/reading this week:

Mastering the Art of Running: Tips from Jason Fitzgerald on the H.V.M.N. Podcast
I wasn't familiar with Jason (strengthrunning.com) before listening to this podcast episode, but found his approach to running — using strength training to help avoid injury and get faster — to line up really well with my own training. His site supports all aspects of running, with a comprehensive set of programs, like this post-run core workout he references in the interview as a short program to boost training.

Becoming a Sustainable Runner : Zoë Rom & Tina Muir on the Freetrail Podcast
This interview with Zoë and Tina was dive into their recently published book weaving together individual health, a healthy and vibrant community, and a healthy environment in the pursuit of being a more sustainable lifelong runner. In a previous career life I developed eco-friendly materials to replace PVC (one of the worst forever plastics) and the foams I worked on make up nearly every yoga mat on the market today, as well as many shoes and flip flops. Hearing the authors talk about integrating these three pillars together was inspiring as I have often struggled in finding ways to put my own experience and values into my work and writing.

More Fuel for the Fire on Freetrail.com
Coming off of having the flu last week, I was still feeling fatigued and abnormally sore after my workouts early in the week. I looked over my food log from the last couple of weeks and realized that my caloric intake had dropped considerably (not surprising with the flu) and hadn't rebounded relative to my activity level at this point in my training. I upped my calories (mostly from healthy fats and protein) by about 500 calories and found myself bouncing back and having better recovery overnight pretty much immediately.

It was serendipitous that I came across the article linked above breaking down the results of a survey sent out to the trail running community on Low Energy Availability (LEA), Disordered Eating (DE), and Exercise Dependency (EXD). The results are affirming that engaging in endurance (and particularly ultra endurance) sport comes with some pitfalls as it relates to food, fueling, and our health. You are not alone! They found that nearly half of women and a quarter of men have felt the effects of LEA and nearly 90% of both genders reported identifying with EXD.

I think I had been feeling some of the effects of LEA even before getting sick with the flu — having an ileostomy makes digestion cycles and nutrition tricky especially as my activity has gone up from 5 to 7 hours per week and I was relying too heavily on meal timing to make my lifestyle easier, not necessarily what my body was needing. Had I not had my training and food diary to go back to (and had I not listened to these two podcasts), I might have just chocked my feeling up to having the flu and my energy availability would have likely gotten worse.

We often use the mantra, "trust your training", but we also have to make sure we are listening to the wisdom of the body, being curious about how we might serve it better, and make some well-informed adjustments to ensure we get the outcomes we are training so hard for!

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