HOW TO BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE
by Stefano Baldini Olympic gold medal winner from the Athens 2004 Marathon - and the Enervit team, who provides advices for improving your preparation and nutrition.
The long days in lockdown inevitably put a strain on anyone's training plan. But for every cyclist, it's the fear of losing form that pushes them to keep up some semblance of fitness.
For those with the discipline to train at home, the turbo trainer is the ideal weapon of choice. But this old reliable companion only really shines when combined with a solid training plan.
And that's what we're here for! Indoor training isn't outdoor training, and a lot of people overlook certain aspects and go wrong behind closed doors. We've got some tips to help you review your indoor protocol to help ensure your form doesn't slowly slide away.
There was a time when the idea of pedalling on a "hamster wheel" was an uninviting prospect. Yet, with some simple and effective hacks, you can transform indoor training into a real performance session, and it may even become enjoyable too!
CHANGE IT UP
Why not try running shorter distances while increasing the pace just like top-level marathoners do in the summer months? Fewer kilometers often mean more "joy," and when we always cover the same distances, like 10, 21 or 42 km, we risk suppressing our ability to run fast. It's time to change it up and form a strategy that'll raise your game this fall, winter, and even next spring.
MINIMIZE INJURY RISK
Although it may be hard to convince the diehard runners, reducing the kilometer count reduces the probability of picking up an injury. Shorter outings, especially at the beginning of a new training block, are crucial to injury prevention. And while the strong and hyper-motivated may push themselves further, this only serves to heighten the risk of injury. Listen to your body; your body knows.
MEASURE YOUR FITNESS
Understanding your current physical condition is of paramount importance. It's essential that if you wish to undertake a training program tailored to your own personal goals that you know exactly where you're starting from and how you'll likey progress. Technology is your friend here, and measuring your running dynamics is very beneficial. The same goes for sports watches equipped with accelerometers and GPS. You may want to get out there and run and feel the breeze on your skin, but slow down. Instead, talk to your coach and, if you don't have one, go to a center where you can perform some fitness tests to get an idea of where you lie.
THINK ABOUT RECOVERY
It's just as important as training. Don't neglect it, and ensure you get enough sleep.
SIGN UP FOR A VIRTUAL RACE
Do you miss marathons? Are you craving the sensations that only running can give you? To satisfy the competitive urge, then why not sign up for one of the ever-increasing number of virtual races? If you choose
to do so, then don't forget that over the course of the next two months, you should opt for intermediate distances over long distances.
CONSULT WITH A NUTRITIONIST
Training alone is not enough. Refine your nutrition plan by talking to a good sports nutritionist to work out a nutrition plan. Good nutrition lies at the base of solid performance, and the same goes for hydration. Embrace a personalized plan specific to your own body and needs.
BUILD YOUR OWN PERSONALIZED ENERVIT NUTRITION SYSTEM®
Elena Casiraghi is a Ph.D. and a member of the Enervit Team. She says that personalization is "key to Enervit who have developed their own integration system, the Enervit Nutrition System®. It allows you to uncover how many carbohydrates you can consume during a run. It comes from advice that Enervit developed, tested, and validated with the support of its top athletes." Here are some further tips from Elena.
TRAIN YOUR GUT
Sports nutrition has revealed that the intestine, like the skeletal muscles, is a very adaptable organ. This means that you can train it. During training, you'll take the opportunity to fine-tune and test the nutrition system that you’ll use later in competition. While science sometimes restricts what's possible, it's actually personal experience in the field that shows what works. It turns out that very often, what's good for one runner may not work for another.
FINE-TUNE YOUR HYDRATION AND SUPPLEMENTATION PROTOCOL
In addition to training, science suggests that to increase performance and decrease fatigue, you have two allies: hydration and sports integration. It's essential to drink water and minerals regularly (by taking a sip at each refueling stage for long distances such as the marathon). The same is true for carbohydrates that serve to prolong glycogen reserves and lower the risk of bonking. One of the most common mistakes among runners is to rely on a sports gel, and consume it only when they feel they need it. This is often too late, and the damage is already done. We need to anticipate low energy levels ahead of time.
IMPROVE PERFORMANCE WITH YOUR ENERVIT NUTRITION SYSTEM®
To prevent bonking during the run, and to manage gastrointestinal issues and improve performance, it is essential to take on the right amount of sugars over a given period of time. This tends to range from a
minimum of 30 g to a maximum of 60 g per hour.
• 10 k. This is the shortest distance, but it shouldn't be underestimated. Begin well hydrated, and in the 2-3 hours preceding the start, drink some water and the Enervit Sport Isotonic Drink in small sips.
A few minutes before departure or in the middle of your run, take an Enervit Sport Gel. Provided you've tested it in training, you'll feel the benefits. At the end of the run, take one of The Protein Deal
bars from Enervit to resupply your body with the essential proteins for recovery.
• Half Marathon. Let's dispense with a false belief: the half marathon is not double the length of a 10 km run, nor is it half the distance of a marathon. The half marathon is a distance apart. This means that
it's not enough to double the quantity of nutrition from the 10km run, or indeed to halve it from the full 42km. Therefore, we need to develop a specific nutritional plan.
For every hour of running, consume an Enervit Sport Gel or an Enervit Sport Isotonic gel. At the end, or within 30 minutes of the end of the effort, ensure you replenish carbohydrates, amino acids, and antioxidants.
The Enervit Sport R2 Recovery Drink provides all this and will be the first step towards your next workout.
• Marathon. Long and slow marathon workouts are perfect for building your own customized nutrition plan. Any strategy should ensure you stay well hydrated. Plan for a small sip of water and Enervit Sport Isotonic Drink for every 5 km of running. To meet the high energy demands, consider taking a minimum of 30 g of carbohydrates up to a maximum of 60 g for every hour of running. An Enervit Sport Isotonic gel or an Enervit Sport Gel every 30-45 minutes will help keep you topped up. At the end of the marathon, or within 30 minutes of the end of the effort, ensure you replenish your body with carbohydrates, amino acids, and antioxidants. Again, the Enervit Sport R2 Recovery Drink is your best bet here.
REDUCE THE RISK OF GASTROINTESTINAL DISTRESS
Not all blends of sports drinks are created equal. In a quality blend, it is essential that the sugars are based on maltodextrin and fructose. Researchers state that these blends, when taken at the intervals mentioned above, can increase energy availability in the body, delay the onset of muscle fatigue and, reduce the risk of intestinal distress. The latter is extremely common in endurance disciplines, where one in ten athletes suffer from it during activity.
FOLLOW A BALANCED DIET
Make sure that every meal and snack has a lean source of protein. If you're having trouble finding that, then opt for powder blends, such as Enervit Sport Whey Protein.
Polyphenols in fruit, vegetables, spices, and cocoa beans are also loyal allies to the endurance athlete. If your diet doesn't include enough of them, then Enervit Sport Just Flow will ensure you're covered.
So, that's the advice, and now it's up to you to put it into practice! Why not start right away on the path that will lead you to become a better athlete!