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Wolf Blog

Triathlete, Joel Enoch, and Wolf Run Health and Fitness expert, Mark Hoban answer your Wolf Run questions

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Back in August, in association with CLIF Bar, we held a live Facebook Q&A with Joel Enoch (World Championship Triathlete, Sports Scientist and Coach) and our very own Health and Fitness Expert, Mark Hoban. They answered a host of nutrition, training and fitness questions sent in by you, our Wolf Runners.

Take a look below and get some vital insight into top tips for getting yourself, or keeping yourself, in the best condition possible for a Wolf Run.

Are there any foods that can help keep me motivated during the winter months? My training always drops off the radar a little then!

Humm, this is a good question but tough to answer here as it’s very personal. We all have treat foods that aren’t the best for us, but that we like anyway – and in my opinion that’s just fine. During the winter months when training in tough you could use these to help you stay motivated; ‘if I hit all the training sessions I’m supposed to do this week then the Pizza is mine’. Another answer is to make sure you stay well fuelled during training. In the cold, our need for carbs goes up and so making sure you eat enough to give you the energy you need is important (consider taking on some extra energy during sessions longer than 90mins). Lastly, don’t feel that you have to be at race weight all year, even the best athletes add a little poundage through the winter and not only is this fine, it might be healthier (lean athletes get ill more) and give you a small training effect as you lose those few kg/lbs for your race (note, drastic weight loss close to races is a bad idea!)

Why do I always get nauseous after using gels during a long run?

How to fuel during longer sessions is a very personal thing. There are lots of fuelling options out there with think, thin, big small gels, as well as things like Shot Bloks. Essentially anything that gives you quick release energy (simple sugars) will do the job and so things like dried fruit, sports drinks, rice cakes or your favourite sweets will all do. Remember you don’t need to fuel unless the exercise is pretty hard (too hard to hold an easy conversation) and lasts longer than 90mins. Finally, if you still can’t take on board energy, then you can still absorb energy by holding a sweet drink in your mouth and then spitting it out – bypassing the digestive system.

Too much salt is bad for you… too little hurts your running! Exactly how much salt does the average runner need?

Again, a good but complicated question and may opinions exist on this topic. Fundamentally, different people sweat different rates and also have an 8-fold difference in how much sodium (salts) they lose when they sweat. Therefore, you need to establish how much sodium you might lose before you can assess how much you should replace. Things like clothing, temperature and humidity all also affect how much we sweat so the equation changes from winter to summer etc. I would generally recommend a very low salt diet, however, if you sweat a lot and find that the sweat leaves a grainy residue on your skin then you might want to think about choosing drinks with salt/sodium in. a sports drink with over 240mg/500mls will do the job or simply add around 2-3 pinches of salt to a diluting juice for the same benefit.

I tend to eat healthy food, but my portion control is not great. How can I measure how much to eat?

We could get very complicated here, but basically, research shows that we tend to eat what’s on our plate. Therefore, if you suspect you’re eating too much, chose a smaller plate size and eat a little slower. It’s also important to note that just because you feel your portion control isn’t great doesn’t mean it is. If training is unaffected and weight/size doesn’t fluctuate, then you’re probably not too far off the mark.

I have zero appetite after a workout but know I need to fuel. What should I do?

Good question and you’re not alone. Blood shunts away from the digestive organs during exercise and it takes a while for the circulation to return to normal afterwards often meaning you don’t feel hungry. The simple answer is to find a drink that gives you some energy and protein. There are many on the market, but look for one giving the good quality proteins I mentioned in a previous post and carbs to help you refuel. Small snack are also fine – you only need to be getting about 30-50g of carbs and 10-20g of protein in to boost recovery. Something like a Clif Builders Bar works well, then look to eat a full meal 60-90mins after the session.

How can eating the right food impact on my training?

Simply put we are largely made up of what we eat. Your body needs fats for energy day-to-day, to store and transport vitamins round the body and for cell structure. It needs carbohydrate for energy during higher intensity exercise and to help burn fat and it needs protein to help you recover from sessions and to build strength and fitness. A diet high in plant based natural foods will also give a multitude of health boosting nutrients what will help you recover from training and even fight the signs of ageing. In short, a wholesome diet underscores health, and health underscores fitness – so eat well!

I love to exercise but have a physically demanding job (work with dogs) and find myself mentally exhausted and a lack of motivation when I get home to do more exercise. Is there any dietary tips that can help provide enough fuel for my job and my training?

Stay motivated and make it manageable – Plan your training schedule a week in advance, taking into consideration any other commitments you have in that week. If your lifestyle is hectic or your job Physical then it can be counter-productive to have a strict rigid routine because if something upsets that routine then you are out of sorts and the habit collapses. The only solid routine you should have is the fact you are going to train and what you need to do for that training session with no excuses!

Don’t go home first – Take your gym stuff to work and call into the gym on the way to work or on the way home. This saves time in the day and also reduces the temptation of extending your TV schedule. Increase gym visits and decrease session time – It’s far more beneficial to go to the gym 5 – 6 days a week for 40 – 50 minutes a session, then to spend 90mins in the gym 2- 3 times a week. This releases more time in each day to do other things and makes the most of your energy levels. Be honest with yourself too, when you are in the gym for over an hour and a half how much of that time is spent productively?

Eat when you can - If like me you haven’t got time to spend hours on food prep, some effort to eat well still has to be made. Make sure you eat at least 3 good balanced meals in the day and supplement between meals a protein bar and/or Protein shakes (it works for me) on tired days have a protein shake an hour before your session. If you do have time to prepare small meals the night before make small meals consisting of portioned rice/pasta/potato and green leaf veg with a source of protein from chicken, turkey or fish placing them into airtight food boxes and consume every 3 hours, this should help sustain energy levels.

Your meals should be balanced with enough carbohydrates to see you through the day but consume carbs, which are low in sugars.

Mentally and physically go the extra mile – It’s important that you’re dedicated, motivated and that you persevere. If I can’t get to the gym, then I take the opportunity to run or cycle to work and back. I know what is good to eat and what is bad to eat so I make the right choices in moderation.

What sort of training do you need to do for the Wolf Run?

The Wolf Run works the whole body in a variety of ways, so you need to match this in your training. Make sure you include strength work to get you over obstacles, flexibility work to get you under them and endurance work to get you round the course. How much you train is very personal, but the key things are to be consistent (stick to the pattern of training each week) and also progressive, gradually make the sessions more challenging by adding weight, reps, sets or distance. Lastly, because of the way the body uses protein (see previous post), it’s not great to always to aerobic endurance training in the same session as weight/strength work, so try to focus on different aspects of fitness win each session.

Will protein drinks help my running?

Protein is much misunderstood and contrary to what most of the marketing says, it won’t give you muscles if you don’t do that kind of exercise. Broadly speaking your body uses protein to adapt to the exercise you do; do weights, get bigger/stronger, do endurance stuff and recovery faster and get adapt better. I’d opt for supplements, drinks of powers that are made from Soy or Whey Protein isolate. You get lots of other sorts of protein listed on the back of a pack (e.g. whey protein matrix/concentrate), but largely these are poorer quality and might impact recovery rate. Soy and Whey isolate both boost protein synthesis (recovery), well. Absolutely! Protein is much misunderstood and contrary to what most of the marketing says, it won’t give you muscles if you don’t do that kind of exercise. Broadly speaking your body uses protein to adapt to the exercise you do; do weights, get bigger/stronger, do endurance stuff and recovery faster and get adapt better. I’d opt for supplements, drinks of powers that are made from Soy or Whey Protein isolate. You get lots of other sorts of protein listed on the back of a pack (e.g. whey protein matrix/concentrate), but largely these are poorer quality and might impact recovery rate. Soy and Whey isolate both boost protein synthesis (recovery), well.

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