Managing Time and Expectations

So in the podcast the other day, we discussed setting intentions and managing expectations.  I have realized that ranking priorities will often lead to things getting pushed back or not done at all.  As I am preparing for the rapidly approaching ultra races, I have had to learn where to fit in training and keeping a flexible, open schedule.  This same approach we can apply to our nutrition.  If you are following a macro protocol, make your goals soft as you are learning the process.  For example, if you want to keep your carbs under 25g per day, allow yourself a 10g buffer.  What I'm saying is don't let your overall goal be jeopardized by a smaller goal.  If you go over by a few grams, it's not going to impede your overall progress.  This is something that my wife is learning as she has decided to go keto.  As she is trying to stay under a number of carbs, she is sacrificing calories to stay under that number.  This will lead to other problems down the road.  So I convinced her to go over by a couple grams, but she was able to get an additional 400 calories and she isn't really putting her goals in jeopardy.  Also, she isn't checking ketone levels, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to adhere to a diet to get you into a state that you aren't checking to see if you are in.  Just the decrease in carbs will make a huge impact.

So as you move into becoming more active, the same principle applies.  If you are active, that will be ok if you miss a day at the gym or on the trail and even if you have a day where you aren't that active, you will be ok if you get after it the next day.  So when I talked about having to reschedule my longer run with my son because of weather, I wanted to make sure that I got those miles in.   

So it is officially winter in Detroit or at least for the next couple of weeks and getting out in the weather is unavoidable.  It also is a chaotic time of the year, so balancing everything going on in your life can be tricky.  For me, I try to fit my training into the openings that I have in my schedule.  I had a meeting get cancelled, so I found myself with an opening in my schedule, so I took advantage of it.  We were coming off the tail end of a snow storm and it was in the mid-20's outside, but I already pushed this run once because of weather, so I was pretty motivated to get it in.  I had also  planned for the occasion that I might have some time to get miles in at work, which helped.  Being that I am a few weeks before the race, I also know that I need to work out some issues before the race as well.  

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Specifically, I wanted to figure out what best to wear so I don't become a popsicle and how I should fuel and hydrate during an extended run.  I won't go into the particulars of my plan, but I will say that testing your equipment and plans is very important.  (Sidebar: This is also true with understanding how our bodies react to what we eat and our macro ratios in everyday life.) 

In terms of what I learned- Merino wool is amazing, it is the base layer that I will be using because it can still keep you warm when it's wet.  I've always heard the advertisements, but I'm finding that it really is worth the cost.  Also, you can get it for relatively cheap if you get previous years styles.  It also doesn't stink.  In a more disgusting experiment, which my wife does not approve of, I have been wearing that merino shirt everyday when I train and exercise and I'm not washing it.  Merino is advertised for not getting "stinky" if it isn't washed after numerous days of wearing, so a few days in and so far, it actually doesn't smell that bad. 

The second lesson learned is make sure your on the road snack is stored in a place where it won't freeze.  I was experimenting with a low carb, high fat nut butter type snack, but it froze during the run, so that made it very hard to eat and run.

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Third lesson is bring a lot of water.  I had brought three 500ml hydroflask water bottles with me and they were gone by mile 10.  Keep in mind that it was around 26 degrees when I did this run in several inches of snow.   After the run, I weighed myself and I had lost 8 lbs...this is not a by-product of ketosis, but sweating.  That's all water, so be mindful that even if it is cold out, you still need to be mindful of your hydration status.  

 

The last lesson is make sure your gear is good to go.  My running vest lacks some water proof pockets, so phones/electronics needed to be in Zip-lock bag.  It also rubs a little in the neck, which I had to make some padding adjustments.  And lastly, because I was soaking wet, my sleeves rubbed the face of my Garmin (or at least this is what I think had happened) and it stopped my session 2/3 of the way through my run.  I had to start it back up, which wasn't a huge deal, just more of an inconvenience.  

So to wrap this up, be realistic with your expectations.  Allow yourself some flexibility with exercise or training regimens and with your macros as well.  Keep your expectations firm, but plan to be flexible.  Start to think about things that could affect your expectations (dietary and exercise) and plan on strategies to work around them.  More importantly, prepare yourself to take advantage of the times that opportunity presents itself...like a cancelled meeting and you have some extra time on your hands.  These are the hours that we tend to waste online or on social media.  Take that gifted time and be proactive, that way when you have to be reactive (snow day and kids are home from school or you have to work late), it won't derail you from your goals and expectations.