Halfway through 2017 and looking ahead to 2018 I am exploring the continuing goal of becoming “unbreakable”. I have learned over the ;last 7+ years that this might well entail exploring training plans that challenge conventional wisdom.
What??? John wants to challenge Conventional Wisdom??? How unlike him!!!
Challenging CW, the tried and true methods clung to by most athletes and then TALKING ABOUT IT on social media can lead to a lot of heated discussions. Challenging someone’s perspectives or beliefs, like “you do not require sugar to complete a marathon”, is taken as a personal attack.
I believe that all runners and triathletes secretly own stock in either GU, Hammer Gel, or both.
Bottom line is that it IS possible to remove sugar from your diet and training and perform perfectly fine.
Does sugar help? Yep, it does. Is it required? Nope, it’s not.
Throwing sugar into your system is like stoking a fire using pine needles. It will burn, and it will burn hot, but it will also burn quickly, requiring more pine needles, almost a constant supply, to keep it lit.
Personally, I do not like how sugar makes me feel, even in small quantities, but especially in large amounts over 5 to 7 hours. I have known other athletes who also have GI issues taking in sugar then complain about their GI issues, but for some reason, they continue to do it. I just don’t understand that. I would rather learn how to go long distances without requiring enough sugar intake to become the lead character in Alice Cooper’s “Unfinished Sweet”.
Google it … you know you want to …
And … let’s be honest here for a moment. Most people are not doing sugar because they NEED sugar. They are doing it because they want the sugar. There are plenty of studies showing fat adaption works and you can reduce if not eliminate your sugar intake, yet people still stuff ten GU packs into their bike jerseys before 30-mile rides. Why? Because they like sugar, and by damn they are NOT giving it up. So many methods have been shown to not work, and in some cases actually, hinder training and races. Carb loading doesn’t work but races still offer pasta dinners the night before. Ice Baths has been shown to hinder muscle growth and adaption but people are still sitting in 40-degree water. I really don’t care either way, but let’s stop bullshitting each other about the real reason you do these things.
My focus in 2018 will be to “be different”. And different for the better. It will also mean a return to triathlons by the summer.
I stated on the podcast that I want to enter this year’s races a different runner. I have three races left this year; a 5K in Clermont in 18 days, a 10K at Runner’s World in 60 days, and a half marathon in the Everglades in 102 days. I want to set personal bests in each of these. That would mean under 34:42 (set on 04/12/2012), a 10K under 1:32:15 (set on 11/15/2014), and a half-marathon under 3:00:34 (set on 02/12/2012). All very doable I think (maybe not the 5K due to the time frame).
But … CAN I do it?
As with most things in my training, it will depend greatly on my body and how it handles the stress of training. I have no idea what havoc lays ahead, but I know the foot issue that has been plaguing me all year has subsided (still have pain afterward but during hasn’t been a problem recently, and the pain is gone by the next day).
This is yet another reinvention. John 2.0 circa 2018.
Swim Calm, Bike Strong, Run Steady