I am a masters runner. I repeat, I am a masters runner.
What's the big deal i thought, I have run for years, age is only a number right? Well not exactly. I can't speak for everyone, but as I get older my body is definitely responding differently to training. I have noticed it is so much harder to maintain my speed, and my strength and recovery doesn't come as easy in previous years. That can really screw with your mental game..and to be honest it has mine. However, I still have this yearning to hit some running goals. I still believe I can do this and understand training include modifications to my normal routine. Throughout the spring and summer I will share those with you.
In the past few weeks after hearing from other master runners, I have gathered a few new training ideas and resources to guide me. In May I am running the Santa Barbara Wine Country half marathon and then I would like to follow that up with a trail race (possibly a 22k) at the end of May. I had a hunch (or at least a hope) some of my performance issues could be tied to nutrition. I am not one for supplements, but I was curious if adding specific foods or vitamins could help in any way.
A few weeks back I mentioned I had gotten some blood work done to determine if there was anything I could add nutritionally to enhance my training. There are a few companies that offer athlete blood screens, and I chose to use the services of Athlete Blood Test. This company was referred to me by Oiselle, as some of the pros have used their services and seen great results from their recommendations. The process was very easy, you just go to the website, pick which testing option you would like to purchase (they vary depending on your training needs, or you can create your own). The company then provides you with a lab (or in my case numerous ones) that are nearby where you go to have your blood drawn. The blood is tested and the results sent back to the docs at Athlete Blood Test a few days later. In about a week, I received an email with my results and recommendations.
The test results are broken down into various categories, based on the testing option you choose. I chose the Gold Panel which includes tests for blood count, hydration levels, metabolic panel, micro nutrients status and training tolerance (which includes hormone testing) and a lipid panel. I know based on recent physicals my blood count levels and lipid panels would be fine and within range, but I was excited to find out about the other categories of testing. What I really liked about ABT’s type of testing, is the results were rated against the “normal range” and the “ideal range”. The normal range is the range most labs use based on the general population. The ideal range is the ranges ABT has calculated base on gender, age, and training.
How did my results break down? As I thought, overall I was pretty healthy and quite few of my results were in the normal and ABT ideal range. However, there were a few bio markers that were not.
For example, my Vitamin B12 and Folate levels were in the normal range, but were low according to ABT ideal ranges for me and my training needs.. Based on the feedback from ABT, these deficiencies could be causing the early stages of fatigue I am experiencing in my training. Another deficiency that was within the normal range, yet not high enough for my training needs was Vitamin D. As I expected by hormone levels were unbalanced as well…mainly testosterone. One thing I found very interesting is the correlation between Vitamin D levels and testosterone. ABT’s report explained low testosterone could be the source of my inability to maintain my strength levels and the DOMS after a hard strength or hill workout. It was recommended that by increasing my Vitamin D levels it will help adjust some of my testosterone, and could help with my recovery. The other thing to note, if I don’t raise my testosterone levels I have a higher risk of injury as I increase my training levels.
Based on the test results, the docs at ABT provided me with recommendations for supplements and additional nutrition needs to boost my performance and improve my training abilities. There was even a recommendation of a green smoothie each morning to boost my intake of veggies high in folate, see...easy as that.
Overall I really liked the product and test results I received from ABT, and felt it was well worth the cost. In my recent physical exams my doctors have struggled to find ways to advise on how improve my training as they consider a good majority of my blood levels in the normal range. ABT was able to give me the information I need to make modifications in order to achieve the performance I desire. My recommendations are very manageable. I have purchased the suggested supplemental vitamins (only 3 so not too bad) and will structure my diet to include more green veggies (and as my training increases, more iron) each day. They said it would take about 3 weeks to a month to start seeing a difference, and I will keep you all posted on my progress.
In order to better maintain my progress, and make sure I am holding myself accountable to my training, for my upcoming spring/summer races I will need to do more weekly meal prep and journal my workout results. These are two areas I have been seriously lacking this year, and tracking these new findings is just the motivation I need to get back to the grind. I have also been advised to not amp up my strength workouts too quickly in order to prevent injury. As much as I love strength training, slow and steady build up is the plan for now.
That’s all for now, there is a green smoothie to blend, veggies to roast for this week’s meal planning, and strength sessions to plan.