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On The Trail of Something – Part 2

The first week of The Trail of Something is under the belt and it was a good one. As mentioned in the initial post, Week 1 plus the remaining 5 of this first cycle are aimed at building baseline fitness, strength and skill related to trail running. My nutritional focus has been, and will remain, lower in carbohydrate and fat, with a slight increase in protein and a large increase in vegetables. This is aimed at boosting recovery and assisting loss of fat mass.

The first week also provided the opportunity to get the baseline testing done which included multiple body composition measures, a heart rate recovery test, a 2 hour distance trial and a maximum hear rate test. The heart rate tests were based on methods used in research to assess these, adapted to be practical and easily reproducible. I have had an inkling that my max heart rate is higher than the generalisation of 220 – age, but alas it is spot on. Although as it is my birthday in 2 weeks it would be interesting to see if my maximum heart rate suddenly dropped by 1 beat per minute!

Below are two awesome routes from this week. This first one starts at Kirstenbosch top gate, up to the contour path and across to Cecilia Forest and back. It is a nice, fairly gentle run. It is R 45 to get into Kirstenbosch but if one belongs to the Botanical Society this would be more economical with the free entry.

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This route begins at Rhodes Memorial, starts out fairly flat and then goes straight up the mountain along Woodcutters to the contour path. It is a lot of climbing and there are points where loose rock make good footwear and a sharp eye essential. The trail ended at Cecilia Forest parking lot where some tired legs needed a lift back to Rhodes Mem!

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These bad boys are getting me over them rocks and I must say, as my first decent pair of trail shoes they make a big difference for comfort and ease of running, fitness aside!

Adidas Kanadia

My nutrition on the trails currently is limited, in line with the shorter durations of the sessions. My long, steady morning runs are started fasted and if anything I will take a little carbohydrate mouthwash or use a carbohydrate containing bar to suck on in place of a mouthwash from the hour mark on. I find this particularly beneficial and necessary if I am fasted from the night before. This component of training at moderate intensities with low glycogen levels aligns with research that supports an enhanced physiological adaptation, particularly in terms of proteins that impact fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Naturally this would not be wise for any high intensity or measured performance session. I did however use this as part of a control for my heart rate recovery test which will be repeated as the weeks go by to assess training status.

My recovery nutrition does not skimp on protein and provides moderate carbohydrates according to the training load of the session. At the moment it varies between a mix of my homemade recovery drink for protein and carbohydrates, Dynaforce Sport for a lower energy electrolyte replacement or a decent meal like this grilled vegetable omelette.

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