She Blinded Me with Science!
Now that I am beginning to get serious about my entry in the Marathon des Sables 2013 and running 6 days per week (…as of last Friday), I have managed to acquire a 4-phase, 12 month training programme specifically geared towards the MdS! Carefully designed by Nic Jarvis, each phase of the programme is 12 weeks long and rather than the emphasis being on speed, the programme is governed by heart rate zones, MAP, MEP and SAP.
But the real je ne sais quoi of this programme, is that each day of the 6 in the running week corresponds to a percentage of the marathon that I will be running on-that-day in the Sahara.
Sounds good so far… but what the heck do MAP, MEP and SAP stand for? According to Ingo Logé (Exercise Physiologist Clinical Nutritionist, Chek Practitioner and the owner Of Fitness Forever Personal Training In Palm Desert, California…), who claims that a target heart rate zone can guide me to my “most energy-producing state;”
MAP = my Mostly Aerobic Pace (aerobic and fat burning.)
MEP = my Most Efficient Pace. “In this precise, precariously situated zone, you have the heightened awareness of a tightrope walker,” – Logé.
SAP = Speedy Anaerobic Pace “In this zone you feel noticeably challenged, in a state of greater stress and strain, with a sense of urgency and alarm!” (anaerobic sugar-burning.)
If, like me, you are struggling to believe that in heart-rate zone terms, the acronym SAP really does stand for, “Speedy Anaerobic Pace,” you can rest assured! I consulted ehow.com and an article appropriately titled, How to Run an Ultramarathon, and sure enough it does. I found further enlightenment on Chris’ Ultra Blog – thanks very much Chris!
So to work out your MAP, MEP and SAP…
180 – your age = MEP Upper Limit > 159 for me (call it 160)
MEP Upper Limit – 10 = MEP Lower Limit > 150
MEP L.L – 20 = MAP L.L > 130
MAP L.L + 20 = MAP U.L > 150
MEP U.L + 20 = SAP U.L > 180
SAP U.L – 20 = SAP L.L > 160
So, what about my poor body with all this pavement-pounding? Well, firstly I’m running off-road and along the beach as much as possible – which I really enjoy a) because it’s authentic training (It’s not called the Marathon of the Sands for nothing!) and b) because it’s beautiful when the tide is out and the waves are gently lapping the shingle. Aww…
However, as recommended by my pal Matt Judge, I have started taking a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement. Both substances can be found lurking in the Joint Care section of all good health-care stores and I have felt a remarkable difference to my knees. When I do squats they no longer snap, crackle and pop and when I’m out running, they don’t winge!
The US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative medicine did a study of the benefits of Glucosamine + Chondroitin and its intervention in the pain relief of osteoarthritis sufferers. Here comes the science:
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are natural substances found in and around the cells of cartilage. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that the body produces and distributes in cartilage and other connective tissue, and chondroitin sulfate is a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage retain water.
According to Wikipedia, Glucosamine is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons (or, less commonly by fermentation of a grain such as corn or wheat), whereas Chondroitin sulphate is extracted from cow or shark cartilage. Hmm. Still, Runners’ World is an advocate as are 79.8% of their surveyed runners! I managed to find it in liquid form along with aloe vera, thanks to Forever Freedom, who have:
“…married the rich nutrients of stabilised aloe vera gel with glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, methylsulphonylmethane (MSM), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tocopherol (vitamin E)…” in a “tremendous combination drink!”
Second on the supplement list is (sustainable, Antarctic Ocean) Krill Oil, which I opted for over the standard Cod liver oil, simply because the capsules are half the size. Apparently, Krill Oil is twice as effective as Cod liver oil and has the best source of uncontaminated Omega-3 EPA & DHA, blah blah blah… I did mention that the capsules were smaller didn’t I? And finally I wash that all down with a few drops of Echinaforce in water, for a little immuno-boost.
After all that jargon, I will leave you with Thomas Dolby’s eighties hit, ‘She Blinded Me with Science!’
Now all I need is a heart rate monitor, so that I can jog to my MAP, MEP and SAP zones…