While whole foods are a great source of nutrition, but they are not always easy to carry along for a long workout or race. I think a more convenient option is to have a combination of whole foods in an easier to carry package. A great example of this would be Amrita Bars.
Amrita Bars are made with non-GMO and mostly organic ingredients that are identifiable with your own eyes. There are no artificial ingredients and they are the perfect balance of nutrients you need to get your through your race.
One option would be to keep some of the whole foods options, like the ones recommended in this article, in your special needs bag as a little something different to fuel you through the second half of the bike or the run.
Anyway here are some ideas for other whole food alternatives…
Ahhh the old love-hate relationship with tapering continues. While greatly anticipated, this break in training and the general feeling of malaise that comes along with it I did not. I guess you can’t have everything.
The Ironman Lawn…
I was finally able to get my lawn looking somewhat manicured with some extra time on my hands now. I had been cutting the front mostly so that it at least looked well kept from the street. The back was another story. I had cut a few sections so the dog could go do his thing, but most of it had grown so high it was going to seed. When my dog ventured into that territory I would see him occasionally jump high into the air as of the long strands brush up against his belly. Kind of entertaining.
Training-wise things were actually going pretty well. The somewhat shortened workouts had high intensity and I felt good while I was doing them. I had one of my best tempo run workouts of the season on Wednesday with a solid 7:50 pace in Zone 3.
FTP Test Gone Bad…
I had a 3 hour bike planned for Saturday, but I decided to break it up into a 1 hour FTP test on the trainer followed by a two hour easy ride on the road. I wanted to get an accurate assessment of FTP before my race. I felt it was also a good time between resting a bit and race to do it. I was hoping for a little improvement over last year(253 watts), but what I got at the end was nothing like I could have expected.
Obviously a bug in the TrainerRoad iPad app. Despite this issue I was able to calculate my FTP to be around 248 watts based on this test. A little depressing that I lost 5 watts, but really 5 watts isn’t that big a deal really. Perhaps it will help me to chill a bit on the bike. The main reason I wanted to do the FTP test was so I could plug in accurate number on Best Bike Split and get an idea of my race plan for the bike leg. It looks like it will be just a smidge slower than my bike leg last year at Lake Placid. You can check it out here if you are interested…
Bon Voyagey Bike…
On Sunday I had to take my bike down to Keswick Cycle in Glenside to drop it off for the TriBike Transport pickup on Tuesday. I finished up some last minute maintenance, did a final cleaning and removed the pedals. I also ordered the additional gear bag option too, so I loaded a duffle bag with my wetsuit, aero helmet, spare tubs and some tools. The TBT website said only pack aero helmet if in a hard case, so I put it in a cardboard box with some extra packaging materials too. Hopefull that should be ok. I filled out a couple forms at the shop and handed my bike over to the guy at the shop. Bon Voyagey! See you in Coeur d’Alene!
I stopped at a nearby Chipotle for lunch before heading to Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting for our monthly stock-up on organic, frozen fruit. WF was rather crowded, so I was happy to get out of there.
I still needed to do a 1-2 hour run when I got home. It was brutally hot & humid and I was really not into it, so I decided to just run on the treadmill. I tried to load up this FitTrip app on my iPad which shows point-of-view(POV) trail running videos coordinated to your heart rate. Well it didn’t work so well. Downloading the videos took forever and then when they finished it would pop up a message saying it failed! WTF! I eventually got one to download successfully and then it would not connect to my HRM using the ANT+ dongle. Ugh!
I finally gave up and just watched some similar videos on YouTube which worked fine. I had unfortunately wasted a bunch of time trying to get that working. I ended with only about a 7 mile easy run, but I figured that was good enough.
Geekin’ Out on Training
Training volume this week was basically chopped in half. Still managed to miss one of my 3 strength training workouts though. No sense is cramming now right?!
A few red marks on the old HRV training guide this week. Body is recovering a bit so this is expected. Hopefully next week things will pick up a bit.
The PMC chart shows the plan for the taper. The pink line dropping is the fatigue withering away with the form(yellow) increasing. Fitness(CTL in blue) declines a little bit, but it will be worth it.
The HRV timeline took a bit of a nose dive during this first week of taper. It make sense since I felt a little crappy. Things ended on a high note on Monday AM so it looks like recovery/taper is working. Hope that continues until race day.
That’s all for this week. Next week things should get easier and hopefull start feeling great again.
I am going to double up here on the last two weeks of build before my 3 week taper into Ironman Coeur d’Alene. It has been a pretty brutal 2 weeks since I really never had a full recovery week since about 5 weeks ago. I did a couple little 3 day recovery before and after the Todd Wiley Lake Placid camp, but still managed a decent training load for the weekend in between. Despite all this I have been feeling pretty good. A few of my longer workouts were in some pretty hot and humid temperatures and were obviously affected. My performances during the workouts when the weather was cooler surely made up for it.
Swims…I am still using the Finis Tempo Trainer and feeling pretty settled at around 68-70 spm. This is up from around 58-60 when I started using this tool early on in the season. My paces have picked up along with it and I am hoping this carries over to a few minutes gained in my 2.4 mile swim. I did both of my LSD swims at around 1:13 for just under 4000 yards. Given that this is without a wetsuit and no flip turns I think I could manage this time in Ironman which would be a 4 minute improvement over the last two years.
Biking…I have been averaging around 145 miles/9 hours a week on the bike for both weeks. My long rides on the weekends were just over 90 miles long running about 5:30-5:50 depending on the terrain. Most of my weeknight rides were steady state rides in zone 2-3, but I did manage to get one good hill repeat ride in on some of my favorites hills: Dogwood & Centennial!
My long ride on May 20th started out a little rough when a large flying insect fly directly into my mouth while cruising along at around 20mph. Ouch! It partially lodged itself into my mouth since it was partially open. I had to actually spit the thing out and it tasted like crap too! My lip
immediately swelled up to what felt like having a gumball in my lip. Judging for the picture I guess it didn’t look quite as bad as it felt though. I didn’t know what kind of bug it was and wasn’t sure if it stung me or that was just the impact of it on my lip that hurt. Eventually, the swelling subsided and my lip resumed to its normal size again. Why do I always get pelted with creatures when I am riding?
I followed the Dream Come True(DCT) route for the start of my long bike ride June 6. This is a nice somewhat challenging route with a little over 4000′ of climbing over 64 miles. This ride was also not without some wildlife incident as well. While cruising a downhill section of backroad that contained some overgrown shoulder a large doe popped out immediately in front of me broadside. I made some kind of grunt or yell as I came within about 10 feet of the animal and it quickly dashed out of my way. Another close call. Not too long after that I came across a lone fawn standing in the road. He scampered in down the road, heading in the same direction, for a bit before he darted up the steep bank. He was pretty young and no mother to be seen.
Runs…My Sunday long runs consisted of a 21 and 20 miler respectively. The 21 miler was a hot & humid one that I did 4 loops of the Ironton Rail Trail(IRT). The IRT is pretty shaded which helped defer some of the defer some of the sunlight but it was still a hot one. I ended up averaging around a 10:00/mi for the run. The next week I ran at the Lehigh Parkway and it was about 10 degrees(F) cooler and much less humidity. The Parkway is also pretty shaded but has about twice the elevation gain as the IRT. Due to the more temperate climate I was able to average a 9:30 pace over the 20 miles while maintaining a Zone 2 heart rate. More on track with what I would like to do at Ironman this year and a good note to finish on before my taper.
Heart Rate Variability(HRV)
My HRV has remained fairly steadily in the 70’s during this last two weeks. I have been flirting with the low recovery and low activation ranges most of the time, but still in the “ok to keep going area”. This is pretty much expected from where I am at this point. I should be overreaching a bit at this point, with a good 3 week taper coming up.
Compared to Last Year…
Comparing this years training on the Training Peaks Performance Management Chart to last year looks fairly similar. You can see that the last month or so of this year(top chart) I have incurred a bit more fatigue(pink link) with consecutive build weeks and no full recovery week in between. My Fitness(CTL in Blue) has steadily risen to a value of around 112 during my last build week, whereas last year I was up to 120 or so.
If you are a follower of this blog, you probably already know that Amrita Bars have been the foundation of my nutrition for the last couple years. I use them before, during and after races, as well as anytime I need some healthy, real food nutrition. They taste amazing and are extremely healthy. They are plant-based, nut-free, dairy-free, non-GMO and soy-free. They are also a great snack for kids, especially with nut or dairy allergies.
When I first started competing in longer course triathlons, I started getting a very nauseous feeling in my stomach at the end of races due to all the sugary, highly processed gels and gu’s that most people seem to eat. I knew their had to be a better way and started researching things a bit. I read Allen Lim’s book “Feed Zone Portables” and learned about how the cyclists on “The Tour” were having great success with “real” food nutrtion. But, the pro cycling teams had their own chef preparing these for them. With all my training and working would I have time to cook and prep all my training and race nutrition too?
Then one day in February of 2013, I was strolling through the Endurance Sport Expo near Valley Forge, PA and came upon a very sparsely decorated booth. In the booth stood a lone fellow with a brightly colored “Amrita” banner and a bunch of Ziploc bags full of some nutrition bars. His name was Arshad and he was the owner of the company. I tried a couple samples and was immediately impressed. Since going to a plant-based diet 9 months prior, I knew finding any healthy plant-based nutriton was not easy, so I was extremely stoked to find something like this that tasted so good. These bars were so real you could even identify the ingredients of these bars by sight which is not common these days.
Arshad graciously sold me a bag full of all his different flavored bars for only the $10 I had in my pocket(I think they were normally $12-15). I immediately knew this was the magic bullet to my nutrition problem. It was convenient, healthy, real food that I could easily take along in a race or training.
The real test was whether it would work in a race. I tested them in a couple local olympic and half-Ironmans and it worked perfectly. Going into my first Ironman in Lake Placid 2013 I had full confidence that they would work perfectly for me. And they did! I saw many other athletes suffering from GI issues during the later stages of that race from all the artificial and sugary race nutrition that seems to dominate races. I have still not had any issues after finishing two of Ironmans using this product.
So, when Arshad contacted me about joining his Amrita Ambassador team there wasn’t much hesitation in my response. I have always been outspoken about this product and I will continue to do so and spread the word. I am pretty honored too to be listed among some amazing athletes as well. I am defintely not the fastest or most-gifted athlete, but I work hard to try to perform as best as I can and continue to improve. Amrita Bars are key to my progress.
If you are interested in trying these bars or if you already have and want some more, use coupon code “britri15” to 15% off nutrition products over at Amrita Health Foods.
It is hard to believe that one year ago I was first posting my experiment with a whole foods, plant-based diet. Now here I sit one year later and I am still doing it with the same, if not more, fervor that I did back then. Many things have changed during that time which I can firmly credit to this change in lifestyle. I have no intentions of going back to my old ways of eating. Here are the reasons why…
Weight Management. I have been able to more easily maintain a healthy weight and body fat % throughout the entire year. I have been at same weight I was in high school for the last year. This is regardless of whether I am training a lot or taking it easy in the off-season and over the holidays when I typically gain back about 20 lbs.
No Calorie Counting. Maintaining a healthy weight has also been done without the need to log all my food eaten and counting of calories as I have done in the past to maintain weight. This had always been so time-consuming and as soon as I grew tired of doing it, the weight came back instantly. Now I just eat. As long as it is healthy and as close to possible to its original form and not processed I can eat and be happy.
Food is More Nourishing. Eating food closer to its original form provides you with the most essential nutrients you can get. Now eating until you are satisfied takes on a new meaning. Now it is not just that your stomach being packed to maximum density to indicate being satiated, it is more of your body feels properly nourished by all the essential nutrients to properly function. It is a different kind of “full” feeling. One you will never get eating over-processed foods devoid of the essential nutrients and abundant with chemicals.
Consistent Energy Levels. I used to have the usual afternoon crash around 2-3pm and the trip down to the company café for a afternoon caffeine jolt was becoming far too routine. This was mostly due to all the over-processed carbs and sugar which would spike insulin levels causing the lethargy of the afternoon. Now without these types of foods and more whole, vegetables and legumes for lunch I am able to keep an even keel through out the day.
High Volume Training Performance. Last summer I trained from 8 up to 17 hours a week of training until September when I completed my final race. This year I have been consistently training from 10 up to 16 hours(so far, more to come) since the end of January(~5 months). I have been able to do this training without any issues or major fatigue and still perform at my best. I have logged 3 personal best times at races at one Olympic and half-iron distances.
Post-Training Energy.This is somewhat related to the High Volume Training Performance above, but after training daily for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours I am still able to function normally with the day-to-day tasks.Previously going for a 4 hour bike ride or a 2.5 hour run on the weekend would put me down napping on the sofa napping for the rest of the afternoon. Now I come home and can be out cutting the grass or other household chores, then out for a some dinner with friends. I do have to admit though, when 10pm rolls around my head is bobbing.
Daily Workout Recovery. Despite long, intense workouts everyday, I am able to get up the next day refreshed and ready to take on that days workout. This is especially evident on the weekends when after doing a 4 hour or longer bike ride and brick run on a Saturday, then follow it up on Sunday with a half-marathon or longer distance run. Looking at my weekly average Heart Rate Variablility(HRV), which is a measure of autonomic nervous system, shows that I am actually increasing my HRV as my training volume increases getting closer to Ironman Lake Placid. HRV is a measure from 0 to 100 with higher score means you are adapting better to whatever stress you are placing on your body. For more on that, read this previous post on HRV.
Race Performance Improvements. In 2012, I improved my time in the Half Ironman distance by just over 5 minutes on a much more difficult course(Ironman 70.3 Muskoka) than the previous years race(IM Miami 70.3). This year, I was able to once again improve all other previous results in the Half-Ironman distance again on a even more difficult course at Rev3 Quassy by another 8 minutes. This adds up to over 13 minutes in improvement overall. Hopefully this also translates into my 1st full distance Ironman Lake Placid results in July.
Biometric Testing Improvements
LDL: 48 point drop(-30%)
Triglycerides: 37 point drop(-40%)
Total Chol: 59 point drop(-25%)
Systolic: –12 mmHg (136 –> 124)
Diastolic: –14 mmHg (94 –> 80)
Cooking More. Since I am eating less processed foods, I am now forced to do more cooking. It seems that in today’s too busy culture no one cooks anymore. This is pretty sad, since cooking is a therapeutic activity that increases your creativity and your knowledge.
I am sure there is more advantages to this lifestyle change that I have overlooked, but this are the biggest ones in my mind.