Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Myth Buster : A short fitness session will compensate for Hollidays extravagances

Supposedly a 45 minutes of "Intense" exercising will compensate for the craziness of food over-consumption  during Holidays feast, or maybe less ?

Average : 4500 Calories

"A quarter of those surveyed thought they could burn off the calories by working out for two hours…when it would actually take a 130-pound woman more than seven and a half hours of running or more than 15 and a half hours of brisk walking to torch 4,500 calories. Also, 60 percent of respondents said they planned to go for a walk. Other people said they'd shop or get busy in the bedroom later to blast away fat. Hmm, not gonna cut it."


"seven and a half hours of running".
Not even true, if you consider cardio zones, the different "calories" types or body storage (carbs, fat) as well as the basics of timing of the training itself. It would be accurate if you were running DURING the feast and we considering pure calories output/input without internal storage considerations. Which is only true in the case of some ultra-runners.

Let's do some math:

If the dinner itself is around 4500 Calories, it is likely your food intake for the day will be around 5500, including breakfast and a light lunch or snack. which is likely 4000 too much overall for a day.
Then, How do you burn 4000 calories, i,e. more than 1 pound (0.5 Kg of fat) ?

Using as a reference my 10K race, and I was not fooling around, in 50 minutes, averaging 8 min/mile, I burned 600 Calories with an average HRM of 155 bpm.


Unfortunately in this training Zone, I am burning 90% of Carbs and 10% of fat, Carbs that I will have to re-compensate by the daily intake at -at least- 80%, lets assume 200 Calories of burned/race.

In short, I will have to race a 10K every day for 40 days to lose the weight excess of one meal.

Now, using a long run, Lets say, 20 miles, 1500 Calories at 125 Bpm, I am around 50/50, i.e. 750 Calories of fat per long run.

In this case, I will have to execute "only 5 times" a 20 miles/4h run  to compensate.

Piece of cake. Specially, when we are talking of people who would have hard time running 30 minutes on their own. Sorry, jogging. Even, walking.

It is way easier to lose weight by controlling the food intake than to burn it through exercise. It helps, of course, but except if you are training for a marathon, you are not gonna cut it. 

The only way to compensate for Holiday excess is a strict diet for at least one to two weeks after or before. Exercising "intensively" BEFORE the diner will help to empty your carbohydrates storage and the food intake will directly compensate partially.

The other way is to eat less, drink less and go vegan.
But that's not for everybody, I guess ;)
Not just yet.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Old news for a new toy

For my birthday, Well, Almost for my birthday, as the release date has been delayed over and over, I got a new toy. Thanks to everybody who contributed a bit, by the way.

The Forerunner 220

I used to run with my cell. Well, it is bulky, the GPS is always more sensitive and the battery could not handle runs longer than a couple of hours. Those watches are awesome. Paired with a Heart Rate Monitor, you got all information you need for serious running. They have a built-in accelerometer that give you cadence and stride and compensate roughly when the GPS is not available (heavy cloudy days, runs in the forest, treadmill, etc..).

I discovered the correct training zones, and now focus on running by the heart rate, instead of a perceived effort. It helps to save energy and balance your needs and expenditure for the longer races.

Actual review:


(ps: No, you cannot check your emails and facebook on the watch. Not yet.)

More data for the geek in you

20 Miles Run with Maui in perspective

Now, I cannot run without technology. How pathetic ;)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The last of the long runs

I was a bit anxious for this one as well. 20 miles is quite long and I was feeling again my usual right hip psoas pain. To the point I iced it yesterday night, a first in a while. I picked a new route, which will bring me to the start of the Crater road. Starting at 6AM, the only issue is the relatively important elevation, which will slow things down. 

Halaekala Hwy, in the early morning.
Very few traffic
Kula and his historical garage
We should go check this place someday
At the foot of the volcano, a cute lodge.
22 Miles to go, and all going up.
Not today
As usual, the magnificent view of the  Kihei shores
Kekaulike Road, Kula
Kekaulike Road, Kula,
with funny picture quality

Cobb Street, going up.
Hard to realize on this picture, but after 2:30 of runs,
it was like a wall.
Run summary

Overall, the run went very well. The overall pacing do not seem too bad, related to the climb (+1500ft up and down) which kills my legs both ways (in fact, I prefer going up than down, at this point). I keep my heart rate always lower than before, between 110 and 130, which is the low part of the cardio zone, and high part of the fat burning zone. More on this later.

At this pace, running that long is no more a real issue, and I am now confident I will be able to push it to 26 miles. 
I was very tired, though, coming back home ;)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Readjusting Weight : Strava vs Garmin

Losing weight is all about approximations.
Dieting is not.
Approximation of calories eaten, consumed, burned, of weight lost, muscles builds, etc..
Keeping a weight log of calories, sport activities, weight and waist size is critical to readjust time to time, and kills some wrong ideas.

Couple of last months weight log

First, I pretty fast realized I would not reach my weight goals before the marathon. There is two parts of that. I cannot limit the intake too much in a high training period. And I am building muscle, which weight more than fat. However, there is some signs that I have become leaner. Waist size decreased. Overall shape. But this doesn't show in the graph.

obviously something happened early December that skewed my numbers. In fact, I did switch to Strava as a running log.
And use the website as a Calories Burned reference.

Yesterday, I double checked on the Garmin Connect system.
Based on Strava I have burned in the last 6 weeks a deficit of 7000 calories on top of my daily deficit (300), which bring us to a theoretical deficit of 20K calories, i.e. more than 5 pounds.
Well, obviously, something in wrong.

Based on the Garmin Website, I actually built a deficit of Only 1300 Calories.
Now, If you extrapolate a bit, you can imagine that I might not burn anymore 2000 Calories / day at rest, but , let's say, 1900.
Some math, and voila, I would have only build a total deficit of 10K calories, i.e. less than 3 pounds. Add the muscle build from the strenuous activity , and you have a picture way closer from reality.

As a conclusion, I decided to not change any weight goal for now, but to use the Garmin Connect calories calculation / approximation for my needs.

Some references:


Calorie calculations for runs require that you enter your weight. Strava will use your weight and the elevation data and distance of your run to estimate calories burned. If you're having trouble getting calories calculated for your Runs, check or reset your elevation correction by following the instructions on Elevation Correction for your Activities. Calories for runs are a function of speed (grade adjusted), weight, and moving time. Multiply these together with a scaling factor, and that's the estimate.


It then combines this data with heart rate information from the ANT+ heart rate strap. Specifically, it evaluates the time between heart beats (beat to beat) to determine estimated MET (Metabolic Equivalent), which in turn is used determine actual work expenditure.

In short, no methods are accurate, but personally, I do believe that calories consumption have to be related to effort and effort is directly related to cardiac activity.
In my case, there is no doubts that Strava is way too generous on the expenditure, I have seen more than 1500 calories difference on a single long run.

Well, If you want to feel good and eat cheesecake, might as well stick with Strava ;)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Back in business...

Surf is pumping as a Christmas gift. And it is windy too.
Could not stay too long with my broken gear, just in case I had to go out with the paddle board.

Christmas gift in advance of a couple of hours,
got an amazing deal on a all carbon paddle.

Piece of Art,
Extra light

Full carbon

Made in Oregon, but by a native Hawaiian Dave Chun.

At KIALOA We Live Like We Paddle

Cannot wait to try it out !

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lost Pictures

Last week, we got the "pro" shots from the Fun Christmas Race, that I ran with my daughter.
Nice pictures.

We are gonna Rock this race !

Mom ! Where are you ?

Last sprint !

Look at those legs !!! ....
I could not believe it myself ;)

I really like to share those moments with my family, and running along my daughter is an unforgettable experience. I hope we will find other races like this one.

Pfffff  ....Maui is hot...
Even in the early morning !!

"There is a start and finish, and in between you just run. That’s when you find out who you are and what you’re made of."

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Road to recovery

Running long is cool, but If you do not pay attention to your recovery, You will not do it often.
Myself, I usually feel very tired after the run, and all along the day. Now, I am stretching just after the run for half and hour. It is helping, but not magical by any mean. At least, after this, I can go back on my bike which seemed totally impossible an instant before.
I used to take some Ibuprofen, but now the pain is bearable, proof that either, I hydrate and eat better, or my body adapts to the stress of the run.
I can still feel a light headache and obviously, very sore muscles. Tension in the back and shoulders, too.

Calves after the long run.
Blood fed.

One technique for the day after the run, to ease recovery, is do to a quick slow run. Mostly to get the blood flowing.

After run snacks.
Notice the 30g organic protein bar ;)
Proteins are key elements in the rebuilding of the muscle. If you do not eat lots of meat, you are back to whey protein supplements, usually in energy bar, or vegan sport recovery substitute, like Vega. Intake of carbs to refuel the muscles is important too. Coffee is not advised - it is a diuretic - but, well, it was the morning after all.

Stretching the back... hard.

Stretching the psoas, even tighter

But this morning, I found that the sun salutations really helped. A long series stretched all the sore muscles and I began to feel my body moving again. I just got back 30 years in 10 minutes, before it, I was limping like a retired war invalid. Add a 45 minute swim on top of that, and I feel ready to tackle tomorrow's easy 5 miles.

As you can see, this is winter in Hawaii. I have a sweatshirt in the early morning ;)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Could have been the last one of the long runs...

As I am closing week #13 of my training plan.
However, I have one bonus week. I need to check if this is better to have 3 weeks of 'Taper' activities instead of 2, or add another long run, maybe 20 miles ?

Anyway, this one was fun.
I tried to keep a marathon pace, around a stable heart rate of 120. I was getting tired toward the end, but at least I did not fade that much this time.

Early morning, but those guys were already very noisy.

The light was incredible this morning


Clouds streams

This is the fence I jumped a couple of weeks ago
Those Ka' Ohana O Kahikinui are not cool.
not at all.

No Sign Hunting.
It is dead already.

South shore. Amazing.

The place is crappy,
but the view is magnificent.

Maui Vineyard Tourist Attraction
Except to get wasted at the Wine Tasting,
Doesn't seem to be worth it.

Long run Summary.
Hey, I did a Half Marathon in less than 2 hours ;)

Gosh, I feel tired now.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


This last set of big waves have not be gentle with my gear. I broke 2 leashes, one paddle and had numerous dings on the board itself.
I guess the dings and pokes are synonyms of good sessions.

Broken Leash, Broken Paddle...

Now that I think about it, what is wonderful about the body is that you don't need Duck Tape. Time, patience and correct workout are the magic key for recovery.
In fact, I just realized that I was not feeling my psoas pain ***at all*** when I was running my **small** courses, i.e. One hour. The pain just disappeared those last few weeks and I did not even notice.
Where is the time when 30 minutes runs were a torture?

The body is a wonderful machine indeed.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wave Day

Yesterday, the ocean was furious and send us triple overhead sets.

Hookipa, furia

Hookipa, East side

Sets are cleans,
but humongous

The inside at Paia Bay, full of spongers

Sunset at Paia Bay

As expected, the surf was exceptional this morning. Got up at 6AM, loaded Puffy with the paddleboard, and got a wonderful session at Kanaha.

And no, it is not always the case, where lack of wind and good swell coincide.
I guess it was an early Christmas present.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Race day !

Today, we get up early and we go for a race. Molly gonna hit a 1Mile race and I am on the 10K.
Overall, very casual ambiance for this fun Christmas race organized by the local running club, VIRR.

Molly did great, finishing her Mile by herself while I was continuing on my own as well.

Where are we ?

Almost in ...

So fast already !

Really nice morning, simple and fun, Aloha spirit.
We will be back.

48:59 for 10 kilometers
A new personal record.
And it was climbing hard !

Pot luck to close the event

Friday, December 13, 2013

18 Miles - 3 times the Makawao Forest Run - Breaking the 3 hours frontier.

I was apprehending this one a bit, because last week was really tough. (more on this later). I knew by deciding on 3 full laps of this trail I was on for at least 3:30. Ended a little bit more than that. And any run that last more than a couple of hours still remains a little scary.

Forest Trail Run

After the first lap, I though "this is insane". I was on for only 1 hour and 10 minutes. This is a big hill to climb. I could not really imagine being able to go three time around this. Funny is that I crossed 3 times some people walking their dog. 3 hours is the average time it takes you to walk over there slowly. They should have think I was crazy. Running laps forever ;)

Welcome to my backyard

I had some people commenting that running that long is boring. Well, do you consider a forest walk in the afternoon like boring? It is quiet, resting and mind reinvigorating. Running that long becomes just an long trail walk. Following the advice of my training book, I dropped the music for the long runs. It helps to focus on the actual act of running, get you in the flow more easily and overall, transform this activity in a long meditation act.

Fall ... Slippery and leafy

It ended to be way easier that last week long run, even if I ran one hour more. The pacing was way slower, certainly around 12min/mile, which corrected for the elevation will give me certainly a 10min/mile on flat.
Hard to say as the GPS is not working very well because of the trees. (It eventually reported a **only** 14 miles run). But regarding my heart rate, it was an effort similar to a 10min/mile pacing.
Why does that matters ?

Just means that I feel way better running longer but slower than the opposite. Kind of make sense, but, well, until you experience it, you could still think that the sooner you get over it .....
Anyway, based on this assumption, I am revisiting my marathon pace from 9 to 10min/mile, at least on the start and a 4:30 finish goal time.
Which is **only** 50 more minutes to run that I did.