A few months back, I decided that in order to really field test various running and fitness products, I have to pick a race or meet that really bring out the best out of the products and myself. So I decided to test out my over 4 years of running and training exclusively with minimal shoes at the recent 2014 Bay Area Senior Games (USATF). Before I started transitioning to minimalist running shoes in 2010, I cannot even run a mile without lower back pains, knee pains, and plantar fasciitis - I was wearing 12mm heeled and cushioned traditional running shoes with orthotics. I have written a book, The Minimalist Runner, about how my journey started in 2010. Fast forward to 2014 - exclusively minimal shoes (road, trail, casual, dress), running 6 days a week, injury-free and pain-free, natural running form, short strides, midfoot strike, and low to zero drop wide toe box running shoes.
With all the tools (shoes, nutrition, gear, running form) in my toolbox, I signed up for six events: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, Long Jump (LJ), and Triple Jump (TJ). I normally participate in 3 or fewer events but since I turned 55 this year and in a new Masters/Seniors age group (55-59), I wanted to see what events I should focus on in the years ahead. Last year at the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland, OH, I represented the State of California in the 400m, LJ, and TJ. My performance was good and I was even more motivated for the next National meet: 7th in LJ finals and 4th in TJ finals. Did not make it to the finals in the 400m though...
You can read the full report of my Bay Area Senior Games performance on the Wear Tested web site.
OSMO Nutrition for Hydration
One product that stood out and made a big difference for me during the track & meet is from OSMO Nutrition. Before discovering OSMO Nutrition, I've only used water and GU energy gels for all my meets. As athletes, we are always looking for nutrition that will improve our performance, or at least, not degrade performance, and worst yet, prevent the “bonk” that comes from competing hard and not refueling the body. I'm not one to experiment with different products but since my meet is going to be tough, I needed any help I can get. It may not help me but what have I got to lose?
At OSMO, they want to enable people to lead healthy, active lives and feel and perform better than they ever have. Thus they develop products that work with the body’s systems to optimize athletic performance. The magic formula is developed by Dr. Stacy Sims, who worked at Stanford University as an environmental exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist specializing in recovery, and nutritional adaptations for health, body composition, and maximizing performance. With all the science, we are all unique and it may or may not work for me. Best test is to put it into practice. And I'm glad I did!
I pre-loaded (hydrated) the night before and an hour before my first race with OSMO Nutrition Preload Hydration for men. The Preload formula is supposed to maximize sustained power, boost anaerobic performance, and reduces muscle fatigue. It takes a while to get used to the saline after taste but using cold water or adding ice cubes might help minimize that. During competition, I used OSMO Active Hydration for men. The Active formula is supposed to increase power output, endurance, and reduces cramping. Loved the blackberry flavor!
I can honestly tell you that I never felt dehydrated or have any muscle cramps, and did not feel overly tired during my competition. I did feel some muscle fatigue but that is because I'm not ready physically as I lacked training. To prove to myself that this is not a fluke, I did a trail recovery run the next day without Preload or Active (just water an hour before) and I already felt dehydrated after 2 miles!!! And it's too late to refuel after that...
I did not get a chance to try out OSMO Acute Recovery for men. It is supposed to speed recovery, optimize training adaptations, and rapidly restore glycogen. But I highly recommend trying them out. By the way, there is also a version just for women and formulated differently than the men's version - different formula for different bodies.
Why have an average performance when you can maximize your performance outcome every time? Go with OSMO Nutrition and be on the medals podium as much as possible!