Sunday, April 11, 2010

Got your Spirulina?

Argh. It was a tough long run this evening (5 miles according to the schedule but I forgot my watch and failed to start where the mileage markers start. So I just ran what distance seemed sufficient which could be 4.5 miles or could be 6.). Actually it was a tough training week all together. It did not help matters that Aunt Flo stopped for a visit nearly sapping the life out me (that is a joke by the way which originated off the Cosby show in the 80s for you youngins). :-)

Even with a full day of rest on Sunday and Tuesday, I still had inadequate recovery following the 50 minute run last Saturday. I was trying to catch up all week and it just did not happen. When I got back into it Wednesday I threw too many things into one day with a 4.2 mile hike with a 1200 foot elevation gain, one hour of weights on the legs, and a 40 minute run. Thursday I had to run again but was so relieved that the mileage for the day was 3 miles instead of 4!

Another contributor to my fatigue is my inability for the past couple weeks to get consistent and quality sleep. It is common for me to be interupted within 2 to 4 hours of sleep by having to use the bathroom - sometimes as often as 3 times within a night of trying to get a solid 5 - 6 hours of sleep. I have started taking melatonin but can only seem to pull off about 5 straight hours of sleep. So I am definitely going to have to work on that to get into a biorhythmn schedule.

Aside from the sleep, seriously though I am feeling drained. Of course I have to remember that it has only been 5.5 months since I had a MAJOR brain surgery on 4 tumors unlike when I was training last spring with the advantage of 1.5 years post surgery. So you have to wonder if perhaps that has something to do with my fatigue.

Anyone out there run a half marathon so soon after surgery?

I am desperate to increase my energy levels and efficiency. I felt the drag on the big climb this year when I thought for certain I would do well. Being sick I felt played a big part in hindering my performance but now I am starting to wonder if something else is at play here. I think I am in definite need of exploring additional supplementation and endurance sports nutrition to get waken those energy levels I once had.

It took the following article to prompt me to recall that I was using Green Vibrance last year with Spirulina (not the tastiest but it certainly helped!). So this evening I unburied it out of the back of the refridgerator and added a nice healthy scoop to some spicy V8. Hopefully that will do the trick! I am also considering investing in a book on endurance sports nutrition to attain better efficiency but I am a little undecided on which to get.

Any suggestions?

Now for the article - Got your greens lately? ;-)

Sports Science Update: New Superfood Enhances Running Performance
by Matt Fitzgerald
January 06, 2010
Algae superfood is shown to increase fat burning and antioxidant protection during prolonged running.

Spirulina is microalgae, powdery and brilliantly green, that is touted as a “superfood” because of its nutrient profile, which includes a lot of protein, vitamin B-12, the essential fatty acid GLA, beta-carotene, iron, and other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. It is sold in powder and capsule forms as a nutritional supplement to be added to smoothies and such.

While it is not often claimed that spirulina affects exercise performance, a team of Greek researchers went ahead and investigated the effects of spirulina on running performance. Nine moderately trained male subjects received either supplemental spirulina or placebo daily for four weeks. Before and after this intervention, all of the subjects ran on a treadmill at 70-75 percent VO2max for two hours and then at 95 percent VO2max to failure. The whole experiment was then repeated with subject who received spirulina the first time receiving placebo the second time and vice versa.

On average, subjects were able to run more than 30 percent longer after spirulina supplementation (about two minutes and 40 seconds with spirulina versus 2:03 without). Researchers also found that spirulina supplementation increased fat oxidation and reduced carbohydrate oxidation during the two-hour run and reduced oxidative stress and increased antioxidant activity after exercise.

It is possible that spirulina supplementation enhanced performance in the high-intensity portion of the workout by reducing carbohydrate use and thus leaving more carbohydrate available. But spirulina’s antioxidant affects may also have played a role in boosting endurance at 95 percent VO2max, as free radical build-up in the muscles during exercise is an underappreciated cause of fatigue.

The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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