Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Supplementing Your Recovery

Everybody is still upright and mobile after our epic long run on Sunday. Sunday was quite deceptive for many people, because despite it being cool and relatively overcast, the humidity was above normal and a bunch of folks... well, they seemed to forget about drinking water! And despite knowing that they were going out for 29K and three hours, some folks had NO water and others only had one or two gels. And these same folks wondered why the last few miles were tough. Even those who were well stocked with provisions didn't seem overly concerned with consuming them.

Despite their difficulties, I had to tell them it was better to experience them now, rather than during the actual marathon itself. The chat last night at the clinic was all about the mental preparation for the marathon, and how our coming long runs are dress rehearsals for the same. You have to respect the race and you have to respect the distance. And if you're going to do that, you have to start by respecting your body. You have to be well-fueled and well-watered during the race, and well-fed and well-recovered before the race.

Which brings me to supplements. A lot of people ask me what kinds of supplements I take. So here they are, with the following provisio - I have consulted with my friendly family physician about most, if not all of these - and everybody should do the same.

- Every day I take an aspirin. As does just about every cardiologist I know, and given my father's medical history, trust me, I've consulted with a few. An aspirin is just my basic anti-inflammatory, cardiac insurance policy. And because I suffer from chronic pain, I find that an aspirin a day seems to be enough to cover my basic aches and pains. I haven't had to take a prescription pain medication or muscle relaxant since October, 2004. I take two after my Sunday long runs. Running, and being fit, is the best pain management regimen I can recommend.,,181165_185990,00.html

- I take two Centrum Forte High Potency Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral Supplements a day. Given the stress of my weekly mileage and training, I'm just trying to cover the bases, A-Z here, on the vitamin and mineral front.

- Vitamin C - 1,500mg per day. Vitamin C, it's good for you! Linus Pauling says so.

- Calcium and Magnesium supplement. I find that once I am running 40 miles plus per week, especially in the summer, when I am sweating a lot, I will occasionally get muscle cramps, mostly in my calves. My physician recommended magnesium citrate and that ended the problem. (note - I also pay extra attention to my calves in my stretching) The supplement I take also contains Potassium, Zinc, Manganese and Vitamin D. All good stuff for bones. And there is recent evidence that a diet high in calcium helps your body regulate it's weight by assisting in fat burning.

- And for the stuff between the bones, I found that all my joints and connective tissues recovered more quickly and felt better when I started on a regular regimen of Glucosamine Sulfate with Chonditrin (it took me the better part of a year to be able to pronounce that). There is lots of good research to back this up, particularly in double blind studies with sufferers of acute arthritis.

- Omega 3 Oil Supplements, three per day. I take a mixture of salmon oil, flax oil and borage oil, 3600mg per day. Honestly, I have no idea what borage oil is, but everyone swears by the Omega 3 oils, as antioxidants and as natural anti-inflammatories.,1525,992,00.html

- Green Tea, three per day. - After reading all the recent research I started taking 625mg of Green Tea Polyphenols and Catchetins. See my previous Blog on Green Tea.,,8004-4018584,00.html

- Herbal Compound, two per day - After doing a lot of research I take a Herbal Compound that is a mixture of naturally occurring compounds that studies have shown to be good for you. The compound is a mixture of cayenne, ginger, ginseng, garlic, white willow, curry, etc. The premise is that these compounds are antioxidants, are good for boosting your immune system and assist your body in recovery.

Caffeine - I have two cups of coffee every morning. It helps kick-start my motor, and research has shown it helps kick-start fat burning. Further research has also shown that caffeine DOES NOT dehydrate you when performing endurance events.┬žionId=621&subSectionId=317&parentSection=299&which=1

On a final note. Supplements are NO SUBSTITUTE for eating well and following a training program that allows your body to recover after you stress it. I find it a real struggle to eat what I know to be appropriate amounts of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables in my diet. That confession being said, I do try my best.

On the protein front, I try to eat salmon and fish at least two or three times per week, lots of chicken and I have cut back on my consumption of red meat.

I AM trying to make my carbs as complex as possible, and I AM avoiding fats where I can. I DO try to choose good fats, fish oil, olive oil and fats in nuts and other vegetable sources.

I had been avoiding dairy for a few years, but have been trying yogurt again.

Hard training for a marathon requires me to think about my sleep, and I have finally accepted the fact that my Sunday morning long runs mean that I am going to sacrifice my Saturday nights. That's the price you pay for doing what you love. Nothing is for free.


Blogger Kathleen said...

Hi Vince

I was reading your supplements page, and was remembering our conversation on "muscle cramps" the other night. I remembered later that night, that through out last year's marathon training and race I was taking a calcium and magnesium supplement, to try to ease the muscle cramps I get in the long runs.. it didn't really work for me. Today I was just seeing the "god" of running (Kenji), and he's thinking it is a "imbalance" thing, I'm twisted, go figure! thanks for your advice, though I think I will start back on those supplements. Also and interesting thing, I've been told by some (chinese medicine doctor) in the past that the glucosamine HCL is the better form to take glucosamine in... after reading on the following web pages, it looks like it is the better product to buy, for quality and quantity of glucosamine.
Take a look at these websites:

What do you think?

3:06:00 PM  

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