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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The strange case of the elite triathlete who sometimes spews 400m from the finish of a 10km race

An inspiring photo of two talented and very quick track runners;
Lorraine Moller tracking a runner I knew well but her name
escapes me for a moment. How embarrassing  - please help!
Beautiful running form, strong and so well fed.  Enduring!
No stick insects here!
"Hey Gary
I have been on the supplements for a month now. Bounced back rather well from sickness, as you thought may happen.
Training has been ticking along fairly well.
Ran a 10km today, first one apart from in a triathlon. Did a 38 so ok place to start, and didn't blow up. Only thing is that I was sick just before the finish line. This happened in a race last year too, and have been close to it in races over summer. This never used to happen so I am just wondering if you know any reason this might be happening? I eat breakfast 2-3hours before I race so maybe I'm not digesting my food well enough?
In terms of the race, my time was 38.20 by my watch. I started the first 1km a little fast, however the last 9km were all within 2-3seconds of each other so didn't slow at the end or anything. Felt strong the whole way through until that last 400m when I had to stop to spew, then felt great again. After the race I bounced back a lot better than I have in a while. 
For training over the last three weeks, I was sick for one week/easy training and then the next two weeks looked like this:
Saturday Bike Race Plus 40 km steady Run 30 min  off the bike last 10 min fast
Sunday Run 2 Hours with last 20 min up tempo
Monday Bike 3 hours with 10 x 3 min efforts on hills Run 20 min off bike
Tuesday Run 90 min with 5 min efforts at 30-40-50-60-70 and 80 min Bike 60 min easy spin and Run 30 min steady in afternoon
Wednesday Bike 2 hours steady Run 30 min steady Bike 60 min spin in afternoon
Thursday Run 60 min 15 min steady 15 min at race pace 15 min easy 15 min at race pace Bike 60 min steady
Friday Free Day  
The week before I was sick was fairly similar to above as well. There was no taper for the race.
Hopefully this gives you some insight, just ask away if you need anymore details.
Smoothies have also been going down a treat, so yummy!!
Before the race all I had was porridge with blueberries - that was two hours before. And drank water before. Nothing during the race!"
38 min for 10km is impressive for a female runner!
The feeling nauseous to the point of spewing near the end of a race may be due to a combination of factors creating the perfect storm:
  1. Not fully digesting food prior to the race:  This may be improved on by eating a little earlier bearing in mind that pre-race nerves may slow digestion as compared to digestion during more relaxed mornings.  Digestion may be enhanced with a digestive aid that contains ox bile and pancreatic enzymes.  This: is what I recommend: Take one to two tablets with meals.
  2.  Lactate build-up during the race: This is undoubtedly the case.  Running as fast as you are will result in the gradual accumulation of lactate in the blood.  When it exceeds a certain level in the blood, nausea will arise and the muscles will begin to tie up.  What you are experiencing is even common during marathon running with the runners experiencing nausea, faintness and vomiting at the finish, or shortly after.  Lactate is formed in the exercising muscles.  There is a delay of at least several minutes in the release of lactate from the muscles into the blood stream.  Some is reconstituted into glycogen by the liver, but this is not sufficient to prevent the gradual build up of lactate in the blood.  The fast start was paid for later in the race by the overwhelming nausea.  The solution is this:  More anaerobic and pace work (running - not cycling) if that fits with your training phase.  Start slower and wind into the race.  You'll probably do a better time if you do this.  The 2nd half of the 10km should always be a few seconds faster than the first.
  3. There are some nutritional measures you can take to help buffer lactate build up.  My experience is these measures, when carefully applied, may give the athlete from 10%-20% gain in peak performance. These dietary measures are legal, healthy and remarkably effective.  You will need to come and see me to discuss this to determine what is best for you.

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