Endurance Athletes & Sleep

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Endurance Athletes & Sleep

For most athletes, our healthy daily lifestyles play just as big a role as our fitness training in determining our performance on race day. One of the lifestyle choices that dedicated athletes embrace is adopting good sleep habits.

Sleep is such an important factor in how we run. Studies have shown that for the endurance athlete, even minimal sleep deprivation can cause negatively impact our performance on race day. Even though sleep deprivation has little effect on physical strength, it is linked to grogginess, difficulty thinking, and agitation, which can crank up the difficulty on race day. How can you optimize your sleep hygiene to increase performance during your run, bike, or swim? Here are some tips that will help you fall into a sleepy groove.

1.     Repeat after me: Regularity

A regular sleep schedule is perhaps the most important component of good sleep hygiene that will promote a good race. This means, more specifically, waking up and going to bed at the same time each morning and night. Some marathoners travel long distances, or across time zones, to their race locations. To prepare for this, allow yourself a few days to gradually adjust your sleep schedule so you get the same amount of sleep each night and don’t suffer from jetlag on race day.

2.     Know Your Number: The Amount Counts!

The difference between 6 hours of sleep and 8 hours of sleep can be the difference between going home with the gold or with the bronze. The most widely accepted figure is 8 hours of sleep each night, but everybody has a different ideal. One way to know how much sleep you need is to catch up on your sleep over a few days: go to bed, and don’t set your alarm clock. Keep track of what time you go to sleep and what time you wake up. Generally, by the third or fourth day of this practice, you’ll have pushed the reset button on your sleep cycle, and you’ll know how much sleep you need.

3.     Cool down: Best Practices Before Bed

Your pre-bedtime ritual is vital to enhancing the quality of your sleep. Make sure to refrain from using your bed for work or browsing the web – being too productive under the covers can cause mixed signals in your brain when it’s time to close your eyes. Turning off electronics and relaxing in bed with a quiet activity like reading can help your brain prepare for sleep. Additionally, evidence suggests that exercise right before bed raises your body temperature and pumps up your adrenaline; both of these can contribute to sleeplessness or poor quality of sleep.

4. Light, Heat, & Sound: The Environment Factor

The environment around you while you sleep contributes to the quality of your sleep in many ways. Darkness – as much as you can stand – will help you produce melatonin, which is known to regulate your biological clock. Light interferes with the production of melatonin, and disrupts peaceful sleep. A cooler environment will also help you sleep well – lowering the body’s temperature signals to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep, and you will fall asleep faster and get more rest in a cooler room. Lastly, sounds like car horns or barking dogs that interrupt sleep can really lead to a decrease in how rested you are. A white noise machine, or ambient soundtrack playing, can help mask these sounds.

Following these directions and finding your body’s own groove will help you stay alert and clear on race day. Sweet dreams!

 

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Energy Gels: A Great Tasting Way to Sustain Energy

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Energy Gels: A Great Tasting Way to Sustain Energy

Energy Gel Introduction

Many endurance athletes are discovering that energy gels are a better way to receive the carbohydrates needed to sustain their energy levels during endurance activities. Energy gels are easy to use, quick to digest and with great tasting flavors like CarbBoom!'s Vanilla Orange, Apple Cinnamon and Grape Pomegranate, there is no need to compromise on taste.

Energy Gels Overview

What are energy gels?

Energy gels are best described as a hybrid of sports drinks and energy bars. Combining aspects of both, gels are power packed with a super concentrated dose of carbohydrates contained in a palatable and viscous consistency. Because of their quick absorption into the bloodstream, gels are preferred by many athletes since they are quick acting and are not “heavy on the stomach.” Energy gels are less likely to cause gastrointestinal distress which can sometimes be associated with drinks or bars.

The majority of energy gels are sold in 1.1 to 1.9 oz. flexible packets (CarbBoom! Energy Gels® are slightly larger at 1.4oz.). Depending on the brand, gels provide 90 to 110 calories per serving and between 20 to 28 grams of carbohydrates. Each serving of gel provides enough ‘fuel’ to supply about 30-45 minutes of energy during physical activity.

Energy Gel Comparison

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Fats and carbohydrates are the two best sources of energy found in the human body. Fat is the largest source, while carbohydrate stores lag behind significantly. Carbohydrates, however, provide the best and most readily available source of energy for the body during exercise.

A 150 lb. person with 15 percent body fat has a large amount of energy stored as fat. If a person of this size did not ingest any food during exercise and if fat were the only fuel used during exercise, stored fat could support physical activity for almost seven days! If however, we take the same 150 lb. person and if carbohydrates were the only fuel used during moderate exercise, carbohydrate stores would only support physical activity for about two hours.  Unfortunately, fat is not able to support exercise above a very moderate level (>60% VO2max) due to the slowness of fat mobilization and other limiting factors. Since most athletes train at intensities higher than this, a supply of fuel other than fat must be available to the body. This preferred energy source is carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate is found in the body in two main forms, glycogen and glucose. Glycogen is a highly branched molecule made up of multiple glucose units and is stored in muscle and liver cells. Glucose, the body’s preferred energy source, is found in blood. Because we have limited stores of carbohydrates and because carbohydrates are the best energy source during moderate to heavy exercise, it is imperative that carbohydrates be ingested during exercise in order to perform at the highest levels possible.

So how does carbohydrate ingestion improve endurance performance?

During activity lasting longer than 60 minutes, glycogen levels begin to diminish. There is a progressive shift from muscle glycogen over to blood glucose as the body’s primary fuel source. When muscle glycogen levels are low, the consumption of carbohydrate serves to maintain proper levels of blood glucose and delay the onset of fatigue. In addition to this mechanism, carbohydrate ingestion also exerts its benefits at higher intensities of exercise by delaying and/or preventing muscle glycogen depletion (otherwise known as glycogen sparing).

When should energy gels be used and how often should they be consumed?

Energy gels can benefit competitive athletes, recreational athletes, diabetics and anyone else looking for a quick source of energy. They are ideal for sports like triathlons, running, cycling, swimming, tennis, soccer, football….the list goes on and on. In order to gain the performance advantage of carbohydrates, it is recommended that ~30-60 grams be consumed per hour during physical activity. This translates into one to two servings of energy gels during each hour of exercise.

For first time gel users, determining the optimal timing and amount of energy gel to take can be confusing. As a general rule, it is recommended the following ‘dose schedule’ be used as a guide.

For activity lasting less than two hours:

Consume one energy gel 15-30 minutes prior to the start of the activity. Take a second energy gel 45-60 minutes into the activity (during half time of the soccer match, at the three to four mile mark of the half marathon, etc).

For activity lasting more than two hours:

Consume one energy gel 15-30 minutes prior to the start of the activity. Consume one energy gel one hour into the activity. Take subsequent gels every 30-45 minutes for the duration of exercise.

Tips and tricks to remember:

Find an energy gel and a flavor which tastes great to you since you'll be using them successively on sizzling hot, humid days, cold rainy mornings and every kind of weather in between. Look for gels which contain real fruit (like CarbBoom! Enery Gels) rather than just artificial flavorings because it makes sense to consume a gel your taste buds will enjoy as much as your working muscles.

Keep in mind that every athlete is different. You’ll need to experiment to find your body’s optimal regimen for gel intake. Pack energy gels with you on several training sessions and try taking them at different times and in different amounts to determine what system works best for you.

Water, water, water! With any type of exercise it’s very important to stay properly hydrated. Water helps replenish fluids lost from sweating and provides optimal absorption for the carbohydrates. Roughly 8 to 10 ounces of water should be consumed along with each serving of gel. Make sure to have a water bottle or time the consumption of a gel with a water source nearby.

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Half Distance Triathlon Nutrition Plan

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Half Distance Triathlon Nutrition Plan

Half Distance Triathlon Nutrition Guide

Have a big race coming up? 

Our good friends at CORE Nutrition Planning (www.fuelthecore.com) recently shared the following nutrition guidelines for athletes doing a half distance triathlon.  We thought it made so much sense that we wanted to pass along the wisdom.

You can also build your own FREE personalized nutrition plan at CORE: Sign Up

HALF DISTANCE NUTRITION GUIDE

For a half distance triathlon or other 4 to 7 hour event, nutrition can be an incredibly important factor. In shorter distance triathlons you can get away with making some nutrition mistakes, but during a half distance triathlon, it is more likely that you will be punished for nutrition errors. In fact, when you talk to athletes who did not have a good race, they will often mention nutrition as the main reason why things did not go as planned.

On this page the basics of nutrition are discussed: a few general rules of nutrition and some of the most common mistakes.

THREE MAIN NUTRITION ISSUE

The three most important nutritional issues during a half distance triathlon are:

1.    Meeting the man with the hammer: Running out of fuel, hitting the wall, bonking, or just not being able to keep up the intensity during the last part of the race.

2.    Dehydration: Becoming progressively dehydrated to an extent where this will limit performance.

3.    Stomach problems: Gastrointestinal problems such as stomach cramps, bloating, etc. that can have a negative impact on your performance. 

FUELING

The main fuel for an event like this is carbohydrate, especially if you are completing the race closer to the 4 hour mark than the 7 hour mark. Your body stores contain roughly 500 grams of carbohydrate (this is 2000 kcal), not enough to make it to the finish line. In theory it should be enough to get most athletes through the first 3 hours of a race but topping up from the start is essential. Because it takes time for carbohydrate to be absorbed, you need to start early with fueling to make sure you avoid carbohydrate depletion. Once you run out of carbohydrate stores it is difficult to recover.

As a general rule, aim for 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. This carbohydrate can be in the form of a bar, a gel, chews, or a drink. If you use solid foods, make sure fat, protein and fiber content are low (no more than a few grams). What you use is entirely up to you and your personal preferences. Faster athletes tend to use more liquids and less solids because it can be difficult to chew at high intensities. It has also been shown that factors like fiber intake, fat intake and the use of very concentrated carbohydrate drinks are causes of gastrointestinal discomfort. So combining these three main issues, you need to plan ahead and have a rough idea where you are going to get your carbohydrate from (drinks, gels, bars), how much fluid you need to take in and where you are going to get this from (carry, special needs for feed stations) and make sure you reach approximately 60 g/hr of carbohydrate intake and enough fluid to not lose a lot of weight. You can get a good idea by weighing yourself before and after training. Think about this in advance and write down your plan.

COMMON MISTAKES ON RACE DAY

The most common mistakes are:

1.    Sticking to a plan at all costs:  If for some unforeseen reason you cannot follow the plan (you lost a bottle, or you are developing gastrointestinal problems), do not continue with the plan at all costs. Be flexible and adapt. A slightly lower intake is not going to be a problem, forcing more nutrition in will.

2.    Trying something new on race day:  Sometimes you’ll see athletes walk around expos, buying new products for the race the next day. Only use products that you have tried and tested, products you know you tolerate well.

3.    Thinking that more is better:  Drinking more and eating more is not always better. Sure, you have to take in enough energy and enough fluids, but once you achieve the basic needs, more is not necessarily better and in some cases detrimental.

A COUPLE OF EXTRA POINTS:

1.    Sodium losses in a race like this are unlikely to affect performance in the vast majority of athletes, so sodium supplementation should not be a priority. Too much might cause gastrointestinal problems.

2.    Caffeine (low dose: 3mg/kg one hour before: equivalent of a big cup of coffee or 2 espressos before the start) may help some athletes. Some athletes like it, some don’t. Experiment in training and find out what works for you.

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About Core Nutrition Planning: Founded by Sports Nutrition Scientist and Ironman athlete Asker Jeukendrup and Cyclist and Triathlete Bill Braun, CORE uses evidence-based guidelines from the latest sports nutrition research along with input from the athlete, with input about them, their event, and their preferred fuels to build personalized nutrition plans that help the athlete maximize performance.  Learn more at www.fuelthecore.com.

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Desta Beriso Morkama interview

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Desta Beriso Morkama interview

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Meet our good friend and Boom! Nutrition Marathoner, Desta Morkama.  We did a nice video interview at the Philadelphia Marathon but were overwhelmed by the background noise in the hall and Desta's language skills so the transcript is below.  Desta is from Ethiopia and is currently living in the Northern Virginia area.  Desta recently placed 2nd OA at the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon (2:24:28) and came in 13th at the Philadelphia Marathon on a very cold and wind day (2:27:03).  Buna Booma!

Desta enroute to a 2:27:03 finish (13th OA) at 2016 Philadelphia Marathon.  Boom!

Desta enroute to a 2:27:03 finish (13th OA) at 2016 Philadelphia Marathon.  Boom!

Desta on the way to 2nd OA finish at 2016 Marine Corps Marathon

Desta on the way to 2nd OA finish at 2016 Marine Corps Marathon

Boom!: How old are you?

Desta: I am 31

Boom!: Where in Ethiopia are you from?

Desta: I am from Arsi which is a province of Ethiopia with its capital at Asella.  The province was reduced to a zone of the Oromia region with the adoption of the new constitution in 1995.  My family are farmers.  We raise maize (similiar to corn but different).

Boom!: Do you have any siblings? 

Desta: I had 12 brothers and sisters.  One has died.

Boom!: When/Why did you come to the US and how did you get to Northern Virginia?

Desta: I am in search of a better life.  I hoped to win money at marathons, but the challenges are very difficult. 

Boom! When did you start running and when did you discover you were going to be good?

Desta: I was a runner all my life.  I began winning races when I was 13.  When I learned to run fast enough, I traveled to Europe and ran marathons in France, Latvia, and Poland.

Boom! What is your favorite training routine?  How many miles do you run in a typical week?

Desta: Near where I am staying is my favorite hill, 20th Street in Arlington VA between Glebe Road and Fillmore Street.  The hill rises 25 meters in the distance of just 300 meters.  I run it 20 times every morning at 7 AM.  Then I eat breakfast, often with a packet of CarbBoom! Then I rest.  In the afternoon, I run 5 to 10 miles at an easy pace.  Then lunch and rest, or I work to help my friend Jay.  Then we have a training program every evening -- speed work on a track on Mondays and Wednesdays, distance with the Pacers Running Store group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I run a race almost every weekend.  I cover about 105 miles per week.

Boom!: What are your goals for running?

Desta: I want to win major marathons.  I finished 2nd overall at 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. I had a CarbBoom! gel before the race, then at 10 miles and 20 miles. 

Boom! What are your plans for being in the US?

Desta: My visa is for six months, September 12 through March 11.  Soon, I hope to seek asylum here in the USA.  In Ethiopia, my Oromo people are greatly oppressed. My friend and training partner in Ethiopia was Feyisa Lilesa. the 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist.  When he finished, he gave the sign of the Oromo people, crossing his arms at the wrists.  He has applied for asylum i n the US. (for more information, See Oromo_People)

Boom! How do you think about nutrition during long races (marathons)

Desta: I need energy.  I am always hungry.  

Boom!: What do you like about CarbBoom! Energy Gels and what is your favorite flavor?

Desta: CarbBoom! tastes good and help me run longer and faster. My favorite is Orange Vanilla -- the caffeine gives me a boost.  Coffee is "buna" in Amharic, so I call it Buna Booma!

Boom!: Anything else he wants to share?

Desta: When I finished 2nd at Marine Corps Marathon, the Washington Post ran this story: Marine Corps Marathon

Boom!:  Thanks for the time Desta and best of luck in the future!

 

Desta and fellow Ethiopian Dadi Beyene sharing a laugh on the start line at 2016 Philadelphia Marathon

Desta and fellow Ethiopian Dadi Beyene sharing a laugh on the start line at 2016 Philadelphia Marathon

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Prettiest - biased - 5K route in the country

Welcome to my route.  I am not a big runner, but I do run a fair amount.  When I am not training for something specific, I run exactly 5K about 4 days a week.  Always in the AM.  Swimming and biking on the other days.  Some days include two of the three.  I enjoy running - somewhat - but I also travel a lot and have come to realize I really don't like to run when I am out of town. More of a chore or a task than an enjoyable exercise. Although I have been running my route for many years it finally came to me in one of those "blinding glimpses of the obvious" that I get from time to time.   My daily route is really the prettiest and nicest 5K anywhere. A real joy that I am thankful to have.  Anywhere else I run is not nearly as nice and comes up short!  So I thought I would attempt to share it with you. (I of course " boom! branded" my route!)

I live in historic Gates Mills, Ohio - part of Western Reserve (Connecticut) first settled in 1796.  Nestled in the Chagrin Valley, my route runs along the Chagrin River and includes notable local landmarks such as the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, Old Livery Tavern and St. Christopher By-the-River Church and includes the old mill race, horses, polo fields, split rail fences, stone walls and white picket fences protecting beautiful white Western Reserve houses.  "Downtown" Gates Mills, with the town hall, the post office, library and Sara's Place restaurant is just a treat.

A little challenging, the first 1.5 miles is mostly slightly uphill with the biggest problem keeping an eye out for the occasional horse manure on the road.  Very few cars, an occasional cyclist.  The last 300 meters or so is straight uphill to my finish line.  It is an out and back 5K, but there are a number of other places to go to easily turn this into a 8-10 mile scenic run. 

Thanks for watching (I'll do better on the quality next time) and feel free to show me your route!  Boom!

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CarbBoom! Energy Gels Fall 2016 events

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CarbBoom! Energy Gels Fall 2016 events

The early fall 2016 schedule is in and the Boom Nutrition team is hitting the road for some great fall events.  Meet the Boom! team and sample great tasting CarbBoom! Energy Gels at the following great events.  CarbBoom will be the on-course gels at all of these! (plus a few others)

 

Baja Bike Race:  The route takes you from the city of Tecate to the city of Ensenada in Baja California Mexico totaling 73 miles through baja wine country.  During the ride,  you will climb almost 4000' with 4 major hills.  To create additional competition amongst riders, we created a race within the race to the top to one of the hills.  Competitors with the fastest time will earn themselves King and Queen of the hill!

Quad Cities Marathon:  The Quad Cities Marathon, a USATF certified course is held annually on the fourth Sunday in September. The 26.2 mile run starts and ends at 1201 River Drive in downtown Moline, IL. The event benefits two worthy causes: prostate cancer research & screening and the Erika Kate Foundation, helping families of children with life threatening heart conditions. The flat and fast course features one of the finest, most scenic river views in the country. It covers 5 races, 4 cities, 3 bridges, 2 states, and 1 island, all along the mighty Mississippi River!

TowPath Marathon:  Canalway Partners hosts the Towpath Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K every fall in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Described as “one of the most beautiful race courses in America” by Runner’s World magazine, the Towpath Marathon showcases breathtaking segments of the historic Towpath Trail located between Akron and Cleveland. The Towpath Marathon is one of few marathons that take place in a national park, and many consider it a unique specialty race due to the setting and time of year in which it is run.

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Indianapolis Monumental and Indianapolis Half Marathon:  Now one of the 20 largest marathons in the US, the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon is the ideal fall marathon for everyone from the first time marathon runner to elite athletes. Starting and finishing at the Indiana State Capitol, the course highlights landmarks and historical neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis. Nationally recognized as flat and fast, this event has hosted Olympians, PR seekers, and thousands of Boston Marathon qualifiers.  The Indy Half marathon takes place in historic Fort Harrison State Park, your hometown half is a gorgeous fall tour through the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

Philadelphia Marathon:  In Philadelphia, we redefine the experience of what a marathon should be. A beautiful course, an engaging atmosphere—it’s no wonder we're consistently listed among the top ten courses in the country, recognized for our flat terrain, mellow weather and spirited fans. Expect beautiful views through Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River and neighborhood crowds gathering on sidewalks in University City and Manayunk. Weave through the well-traveled streets of our historic district, passing sights familiar to Franklin, Washington and the rest of the gang, and end your race speeding towards the steps of the majestic Art Museum. Oh, that’s another thing: the fans. You'd better get ready for the crowds, because each year, thousands of spectators line the course eager to cheer on runners. There's nothing we love more in this town than a champion...all 30,000 of them.

Ft Lauderdale 13.1: From Riverfront to Beachfront.  A beach party experience that unfolds throughout the beautiful streets of Fort Lauderdale. This race offers hidden gems of this historic city along scenic routes through downtown Riverfront, breathtaking coastal neighborhoods, the famous Las Olas Boulevard and along A1A and Fort Lauderdale Beach. The finish includes a beach party with live music, activities for the family, a beer garden and more!

 

USA Triathlon 2016 Art and Science of Triathlon Coaching Symposium.  Atlanta Ga.  Not a race but as the official Energy Gel of USA Triathlon, we are really excited to be learning and rubbing elbows with the best and brightest triathlon coaches around!

Want to race with us?

Like or share this post by Sept 18 and be entered to win a race entry in the race of your choosing.  Good luck and see you on the course!

(two winners will be awarded)

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Rio Update

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Rio Update

Boom Nutrition is really excited to support the Olympic dreams of Venezuelan Marathoner Luis Orta. We asked Luis to give us an update as to how it is going and what he has been up to over the past few months leading up to Rio.

Training update from Luis. He leaves for Rio on Thursday. After qualifying for Rio at the Rotterdam Marathon, Luis traveled to Rio to review the course and competed in a 5000m race at the Olympic stadium. Spent a month in the Colorado mountains (9,000 ft) getting in some high altitude, high mileage training and then home to Boulder where he says " I am breaking all my records in practice and my confidence is through the roof. I am ready for an awesome race and experience in Rio!" Luis said "Because Rio is expected to be hot and humid I have been constantly working on my hydration and nutrition. I use a CarbBoom! Energy Gel every 30 minutes during my runs. I'm in love with the Banana Peach flavor. It's easy to take, the flavor is great and it definitely gives you that extra push necessary in long distance events. Most importantly it never hurts your stomach because it has only natural ingredients. During my race in Rio I plan to take one at 10k-20k-30k-35k I will even carry an extra one in my pocket just in case." The Olympic marathon is August 21st. 

Best off luck Luis as you pursue your Olympic dreams!

August 22 Update:

Luis finished the 2016 Olympic Marathon in 106th place with a time of 2:27:05.  Congrats Luis on a fantastic effort and we were really excited to be on your team.  Boom!

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Luis Orta enjoying his Banana Peach CarbBoom! Energy Gels

Luis Orta enjoying his Banana Peach CarbBoom! Energy Gels

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Boom! Is going to the Olympics!

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Boom! Is going to the Olympics!

Boom Nutrition is proud to support the Olympic dream of Venezuelan marathoner Luis Orta.  From Caracas Venezuela, Luis is a former Kentucky Wildcat and currently lives and trains in Boulder CO.  At Kentucky, Luis was a 4 time All SEC athlete, 2012 SEC Indoor Runner of the Year and UK 3000m Steeplechase recordholder.   After qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon, Luis said “I wouldn't have been able to achieve my lifetime goal of becoming an Olympian without CarbBoom! Energy Gels.  I had tried different kinds before but the strong taste or the amount of sugar and caffeine gave me even more trouble than 26.2 miles already should give you”.  Luis is a fan of Banana Peach and is excited to be carrying the Boom! banner in Rio this summer. 

 

 

Good luck to Luis and look for Luis sporting the Boom! tattoos while training and competing this summer. 

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Gastrointestinal problems in athletes

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Gastrointestinal problems in athletes

Number one question we are asked is how to avoid stomach issues.  Great article by Asker Jeukendrup at www.mysportscience.com.

Summary Conclusions:

In order to prevent gastrointestinal distress, a few guidelines can be provided. However, it must be noted that these are based on limited research. Nevertheless, anecdotally, these guidelines seem to be effective:

  • Avoid high-fiber foods in the day or even days before competition. For the athlete in training, a diet with adequate fiber will help keep the bowel regular.  Avoid dairy, high fat and high protein foods the day before.

  • Avoid aspirin and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Both aspirin and NSAIDs have commonly been shown to increase intestinal permeability and may increase the incidence of gastrointestinal complaints. The use of NSAIDs in the pre-race period should be discouraged, mainly for athletes with a history of gastrointestinal problems.

  • Make training with carbohydrates part of your weekly routine and train your race nutrition.

  • Avoid high-fructose foods (in particular drinks that are exclusively fructose). However, interestingly, a fructose and glucose combination may not cause problems and may be better tolerated.

  • Avoid dehydration. As dehydration can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms, it is important to prevent dehydration. Start the race (or training) well hydrated.

  • Ingest carbohydrates with sufficient water or choose drinks with lower carbohydrate concentrations to prevent very high concentrations and osmolalities in the stomach.

 

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Endurance Athlete Injuries and Prevention

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Endurance Athlete Injuries and Prevention

Injuries are scary to think about, so many of just don't think about them. But it's important to take the necessary preventative measures to make sure we're able to run, bike, and swim as long as our hearts desire. Here are the most common injuries endurance athletes experience and steps we can take to prevent them from happening. 

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Kinesiology Tape

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Kinesiology Tape

Have you been hearing about the tape fad? Kinesiology tape can be hugely beneficial for the endurance athlete, but it's definitely a science to be mastered. Here we explore the various benefits of adding this technique to your routine. 

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Transitioning to Triathlons

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Transitioning to Triathlons

Sick of just one sport? Ready to move on to the next level? Triathlons may be in your near future, but it's important to transition at your own pace. Read more to learn about transitioning to triathlons. 

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Deep-Tissue Release with Foam Rollers

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Deep-Tissue Release with Foam Rollers

Do you have sore muscles from your last training run or ride? It is taking longer than usual to recover from your last race? Proper muscle recovery takes effort as well, and foam rollers can have a huge benefit on your recovery time as well as aid in preventing future injury. Today, we're diving into the benefits of the foam roller, and how to use one too! 

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Jenn Garnand is Kona-Bound

Boom! Ambassador Jenn Garnand of New Orleans was one of six people who completed Ironman Lake Tahoe 2014, even though it was officially cancelled due to heavy smoke from nearby forest fires. She was the only known female finisher of the "Unofficial 6" who finished Ironman Lake Tahoe that day. And now, she's headed to Kona! Here's her remarkable story of strong will and determination.

Fake Tahoe: The Land of Fire and Ice and Bike-Swim-Bike-Run

Lake Tahoe is notorious for being one of the most challenging Ironman courses in North America and beyond… 1) for the fact that it’s extremely unpredictable as far as weather and conditions are concerned and 2) because it’s situated at 6-7,000 feet of elevation with over 6700 feet of elevation gain throughout the bike course. Needless to say, as a girl from New Orleans, I’ve been terrified for the greater part of the last year!

When I arrived in Tahoe, I vividly remember walking over to pick up my bike box at the airport and by the time I had pulled it to the front door, I was out of breath. Great! I figured I was in for a real treat once I had to do actual physical activity. I spent the first day acclimating to my new environment and doing absolutely nothing. It was concerning from day one, when I learned of 2 nearby forest fires, one only about 10 miles away, that were producing smoke that would fill Lake Tahoe and the entire surrounding valley for the coming week.  Each day, I tolerated the smoke as it came and was smart about when to call it quits. After all, I was saving myself for race day.

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The morning of the race, I woke up to smoke filling the inside of our hotel room and knew that things weren’t looking good. We proceeded to get everything together as normal and took the long shuttle bus ride to race start. When we got there, music was blaring, volunteers were everywhere and it looked like your typical Ironman event: ready to rock and roll! The air surrounding the lake was clear and the water was still, much different than any of the days I had practiced in this “lake” with its 5-foot waves and surfers riding them. Everything was looking great to start the race. We were lined up on King’s Beach, toes in the water, waiting to begin our individual journeys.

The race was literally cancelled about 5 minutes prior to the start, out of safety concerns for athletes, volunteers and the general public. I understand and respect Ironman’s decision to cancel that day, however devastating it may have been to the 1900+ athletes that had traveled from all over the world to be there and made unbelievable personal sacrifices in order to get to that starting line. I’ve never seen so many grown men crying in one place before. It was terrible! I too, sniffled for all of about 5 seconds. Just then, I got that feeling when you just “know” and told myself, “I’m doing it.” Now don’t go thinking I was trying to go against WTC rulings or trying to prove a point to anybody. I wasn’t. I had been dealing with this smoke for the past week and had been smart about not training in it when it got bad. I was saving myself for this one day and I hadn’t come all the way to Lake Tahoe to vacation. I wasn’t going home without a fight. In true ER nurse fashion, I strapped my N-95 mask on and began my journey.

Because of the layout of Lake Tahoe and the mountains, I had a few logistical issues with the flow of my race. I swam in the middle of my bike ride, which is a bit of a change from the usual race day flow. But all in all, the day was extremely pleasant. No pressure, just me and the road and this mission I had set out to accomplish. It’s funny, everyone is so shocked that someone would go out and do this with no crowds and no support. But guess what? That’s what we do every day in training! I don’t always need a man on a microphone (I love you, Mike Reilly!!!) to tell me I’m an Ironman (although I would later get that anyway). Training for these things is the real journey… the every day, silent, long hours that go into even getting to that starting line. So this part was no big deal. I was merely earning the medal that they had already handed out to me (yes, this was the only race I have ever done where I got the medal first and then finished!)

Despite wearing an N-95 mask under my helmet for over 6 hours, the bike ride was really nice. Elevation was not an issue for me, and the hills, well, I had prepared myself way better than I thought! I only stopped breathing (ok, I’m being dramatic) twice on 2 of the bigger climbs and the scenery is SO AMAZING that you almost forget you’re doing work. The smoke got progressively better throughout the course of the day and by the time I was on the run, I didn’t need the mask at all.

The marathon was a special experience. By this time, I was aware that there were a few others out on the course and we had already formed a special bond through waves and cheers. Their people became my people and I found myself with random strangers checking on me well into the night. One thing I learned about running a marathon on a mountain is that it is PITCH BLACK. Talk about not being able to see your hand in front of your face! I even had a light on my race belt, but it was still incredibly difficult to navigate the run path in this environment. Towards the second half of the run, I found myself doing loops around our hotel (yay) so that I could see where I was going. This is about the equivalent of running on a treadmill for me, so that part was not very exciting, but I had to get the miles in. About 5 miles from the finish, I decided to detour up the mountain a bit to where the finish line would have been. To my surprise, I was greeted by bright lights, music and about 20 screaming people. I jokingly said, “Wait, I’m not done!” Matt Miller, initially known to be “a guy named Matt, now recognized as President of Base Performance and one of the best Ironman cheerleaders I know), was there leading the group. He started running with me and asked how many miles I had left. I told him 5, and he said, “Great, we’ll be here waiting for you.” I told him they did NOT have to do that and asked about what family members or friends they had come here to support. He responded, “You. We’ve been watching you all day. We came back here for YOU!” WHAT?!?!?! I couldn’t believe these strangers were getting crazy at almost midnight on a dark abandoned mountain for ME…So I continued to run for almost the next hour with a renewed sense of excitement for my once “virtual”, now very much real Ironman Lake Tahoe finish line.

When I did come in for the finish, I had my very own announcer complete with microphone and loudspeaker, refreshments, an unofficial bedazzled heart necklace and a 1999 Ironman New Zealand bag that one of my new friends had scratched out and scribbled “Ironman Lake Tahoe 2014” in its place. These people were hugging and kissing me like I had known them my entire life. They took pictures and videos and did everything in their power to make the culmination of that initially very disappointing day an incredibly amazing finish! I formed a special bond with them in that moment that has now grown beyond Lake Tahoe. I went on to compete in Ironman Florida with one of my finish line friends, Ryan Moll (it was a special day and #5 for us both). He not only cheered me on in Tahoe, but completed his own distance of 76.3 miles that day (because 70.3 was just too normal). These are my kind of people; these are friendships that will forever remind me that our triathlon community is truly amazing.

As if it couldn’t get any better, two months following the event, on November 14th, my wildest dream came true. Ironman announced a handful of members of the Ironman Lake Tahoe community who had shown up, checked in and signed up for another race in 2015, that would receive the “golden ticket” to race in the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii... and MY name was on that list! I knew that day in Lake Tahoe was special for many personal reasons, but as it turns out, the decision I made to follow my dreams resulted in the ultimate reward. This was Ironman #4 for me, but definitely the most important and special one of the 4. I did it for ME. I did it because it’s in my blood and it’s what I had come to do. I’m proud to be the only known female member of the “Unofficial 6” that finished Ironman Lake Tahoe that day. I learned that if you really want to achieve something, be smart, be safe and go out and get it! I’m glad I did.

Never give up,

Jenn Garnand

Boom! Nutrition Ambassador

www.conqueringkona.com

@conqueringkona on Instagram

@conqueringkona on Twitter

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Boom Nutrition - The Exclusive Energy Gel of USA Triathlon

The Boom Nutrition team is very excited about its new multi-year partnership with USA Triathlon. Carb Boom! Energy Gels® are the Exclusive Energy Gel of USA Triathlon through 2017! We will be the on-course Energy Gel at all of the USAT National Championships including the Age Group Nationals, the Duathlon Nationals, the Collegiate Nationals and the Youth and Junior Nationals.  In addition, we are on-course Energy Gel at the 2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago.  Starting in January, you will see us in USAT’s Multisport Zone ENewsletter and nutritional webinars throughout the year.  We love going to these events and can’t wait to see everyone on-course and at the expos!  BOOM! 

Read the official press release below:

 

BOOM NUTRITION NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCT. 27, 2014

Boom Nutrition to be Exclusive Energy GEL OF USA TRIATHLON

Cleveland, OH:  BOOM Nutrition along with USA Triathlon announced today that Carb Boom! Energy Gels® have signed on to be the Exclusive Energy Gel of USA Triathlon through 2017.  

Carb Boom! Energy Gels® are well known for their great taste and unbeatable endurance performance. They are made with real fruit concentrates and purees and are rich in complex carbohydrates that deliver a steady energy release without the risk of an upset stomach.  Triathletes, cyclists, runners and other endurance athletes love Carb Boom! Energy Gel’s six delicious flavors and appreciate the fact that they do not contain any added sugars or artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.  More information can be found at www.boomnutrition.com.

Boom!® will provide energy gels at on-course aid stations for USA Triathlon’s four owned National Championships: Age Group (Olympic-Distance & Sprint), Collegiate, Duathlon and Youth & Junior.  Additionally, all USA Triathlon annual members, including athletes, coaches and race directors, will receive a 20 percent discount on Carb Boom! Energy Gels®. Members can access their code by logging in to their personal account on usatriathlon.org.

"We are very excited to partner with USA Triathlon for the coming three years" said Boom!® CEO and longtime USA Triathlon member Tony Lammers. "USA Triathlon is the largest multisport organization in the world and triathletes have been passionate supporters of Carb Boom! Energy Gels® for years. The entire Boom!® team welcomes the opportunity to work closely with USA Triathlon as we enter this exciting new era for both of our organizations."

“Boom Nutrition has a proven history within the energy gel space, and we’re pleased to add their expertise to USA Triathlon’s family of partners,” said Chuck Menke, USA Triathlon Chief Marketing Officer. “More than any other endurance athletes, our members recognize the benefits of nutrition during training and competition, and we look forward to fueling race participants with Carb Boom! Energy Gels® at select USA Triathlon National Championships.”

Learn more about Boom Nutrition at boomnutrition.com.

About Boom Nutrition

Boom Nutrition Inc., is a Cleveland, Ohio-based sports nutrition company that develops and delivers nutrition products that improve the performance of endurance athletes everywhere. Known worldwide for its great taste and great performance, Carb Boom! Energy Gels® are the official on-course energy gels at endurance events nationwide. For more information about Carb Boom! Energy Gels®, go to boomnutrition.com.

About USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Contact:

Tony Lammers, Boom Nutrition

President/CEO

Phone 216-242-2679 ext. 100

Email: tony@boomnutrition.com

www.boomnutrition.com

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Iceman Cometh - Not for the faint-hearted

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Iceman Cometh - Not for the faint-hearted

BOOM! Nutrition met over 5,000 crazy mountain-bikers and their just-as-crazy supporters at The 25th Iceman Cometh in Traverse City, MI on Nov. 7-8.  The expo (packet pickup) vibrated with palpable pre-race jitters and excited trail cyclists preparing for a journey from Kalkaska to Traverse City on sand, mud and dirt trails. 

The weather in northern Michigan lived up to the Iceman's namesake with snow, wind, rain, sleet and ice. Fans and supporters stood outside, shivering shoulder to shoulder throughout Timber Ridge Recreation Resort for a glimpse of their favorite athletes whipping by, which were almost impossible to discern since they were coated with mud and dirt.

Check out this photo summary of The 25th Iceman Cometh race. 

 

 

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Retailer Profile: Bike Authority, Broadview Heights, Ohio

Bike Authority is recognized as a Top 100 Bike Store by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, who recently named Bike Authority as one of “America's Best Bike Shops for 2014”. They specialize in professional fitting and sales of Road, Triathlon, Mountain Bikes and accessories.  The also feature fully certified and warranted repair services, bike shipping, high performance bike rental, race support and internet equipment sales.

Bike Authority and its associates have several professional certifications that provide service to endurance athletes.  These certifications include:  the only USAT Certified Retailer in the state of Ohio, F.I.S.T Triathlon Bike Fitting, Dartfish Video fit analysis, Wobblenaught Dynamic Fit Analysis, Trek Fit Process, and Cyclops Certified Power Test Center.  They also employ USCF and USAT certified coaches and are a Shimano Shifting Systems Certified Store. They will fit your bike to your specific needs, whether you’re preparing for a race or you’re seeking additional comfort on your rides.

Bike Authority is a USAT certified Multisport retailer

Bike Authority is a USAT certified Multisport retailer

They are well versed in the needs of athletes on race day as well.  Every season, Bike Authority store associates are physically at over 20 racing events.  They’ll bring products and mechanics to assist in race day needs.  They have been long time race supporters of Cleveland Triathlon, Greater Cleveland Triathlon, Rev 3 Triathlon, NCN and Champ racing series.  They also assist with events conducted by charities such charities as; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Scleroses Society, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Are you flying in from out of town for a road race or triathlon? Bike Authority is the authorized bike transportation coordinator for Tri Bike Transport.  In addition, they are an authorized shipping representative for Fed Ex, UPS and the US Postal Service.  They’ll receive, assemble and get your bike race-ready. After your event is over, they’ll repack and return the bike to you insured via UPS or Fed Ex.  Read more about these services at: http://www.bikeauthority.com/product/bike-authority-national-sr.-games-shipping-1311.htm

If you are visiting the area or if your bike is in for extended service, Bike Authority provides high performance bike rentals.  It's a great option if your own bike isn’t available to ride.  Read more at:  http://www.bikeauthority.com/articles/bike-rental-pg117.htm

If you have any questions about your equipment or simply need some advice from one of their knowledgeable associates, don’t hesitate to give them a call at 440.546.9966. www.BikeAuthority.com

Contact:

Sherman McKee
Owner, Bike Authority
BikePro@BikeAuthority.com

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Jason McFaul Kona Training Camp

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It was time to run 13.4 miles, which included the Natural Energy Lab. The Natural Energy Lab is . . . HOT. 

One thing I learned from Keish is there's no dilly-dallying.  He parked his car on Palani, and before I'd activated my Garmin, he was already running up Palani toward the Queen K.  Perhaps it was the days of compounded training, or just the fairly oppressive heat, but I wasn't in the mood to run. 

Herein lies one of the benefits of a training partner. Keish was already halfway up the hill. I needed to catch him. 

The Queen K is essentially a highway bordered by black lava rocks. It is desolate. It is solitary. And if you dare look at the faces of the motorists driving past you, they have a look like "Why would anybody run right now?  It's hot. It's humid. It's windy". 

And therein lies the answer. August is the hottest, windiest month of the year. We are preparing for the Ironman World Championship. There is no better place, and no better time, than right here . . . and right now. 

It's about 5 miles from Palani -- along the Queen K -- to the Natural Energy Lab. These 5 miles are lonely, with long climbs and slow descents. It doesn't help to look forward, as progress doesn't reveal itself. And while there is a tailwind, the lava rocks refuse to lean forward like flowers and trees. So you feel something on your back -- it could be a push forward, or it could be a warning. 

I turn on my music. Try to find a rhythm. Work on the things I can control:  my breathing, my stride, foot strike, and cadence. 

I began with a full water bottle. I have half a bottle left with 3 miles to the Natural Energy Lab. 


I know there is a water fountain at the Visitors Center. I dig deep, but I also do so sparingly, as the Natural Energy Lab has a reputation for compelling people to dig deeper. 

My pace is reasonable. 7-7:30/mile as I make a left turn into the Natural Energy Lab. This place is legendary for zapping what strength remains from even the toughest competitors. A few years ago on the NBC Broadcast of the Hawaii Ironman, Andreas Raelert was featured in this section, described as "a hydration science project". Sweat didn't drop from his face. It flowed. Like a waterfall. 

I fill my bottle at the Visitors Center, knowing that I need to run approximately 1.5 miles (1 mile down to the ocean with a headwind, and then .5 mile along the beach until I reach the turnaround).  

 

I run on the edge of the asphalt, which is reputedly releasing heat in excess of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Cars drive toward me, moving to their left in order to afford me extra space. A few give me the Shaka (hang-loose sign). I interpret this to mean I've been accepted as a temporary resident on the Big Island. Or that my shoulders are tense and I need to loosen up a bit. 

I get to the turnaround and prepare to do some real work. I squeeze an Apple Cinnamon carb-BOOM! into my mouth, chase it with a hearty blast of lukewarm water, and run toward the hottest one mile of the course. There is a crosswind coming from the ocean, but once I make the left turn into the heart of the Natural Energy Lab, it's one hot uphill mile. 

I look to the solar panels atop the Visitors Center. They do not appear to get any closer. So I count steps, try to find a rhythm, and compel myself forward with the promise of water when I complete this climb. 

The water finally comes, and after I fill my bottle, I turn right onto the Queen K for 5 miles. There is a fierce headwind, but it feels so good. My shirt is soaked. My shorts are soaked. The hot wind cools my body. 

The closer I get to Palani, the more emotional I become. I see Mark Allen and Dave Scott gutting it out during the 1989 Iron War. I see Rick and Dick Hoyt. I see Paula, Chrissie, Rinny. I see suffering and triumph.  

I'm almost to Palani when Keish pulls his car onto the shoulder. I know this is the right way to end today's run. I haven't earned the right to make that turn into town, where dreams are finally realized along Ali'i Drive.  

I'm hoping, though, that on October 11, I will make that turn.  And experience what many consider the greatest quarter mile in triathlon. 

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