No two marathoners are a like! What should I eat and drink…

What to eat and drink to fuel a runners body is one of the most important topics for a runner to figure out.  There is some controversy as to what works best.  I think the controversy comes from it being very individual based on the runner.  What works for me won’t necessarily work for you.  I think the most important thing when deciding on what works (and what doesn’t) is to start with the basics and experiment with different things.  Speak with fellow runners for what works for them and experiment with different approaches. The following are a few guidelines to help.

Hydration
8-cups/day of liquids is not enough for an endurance runner. We lose ~500 ml of fluid/hour of running. If not replaced performance will drop off. Endurance athletes should be drinking ~250 ml of liquids every hour during the day and ~500 ml of fluids during a run.

By liquids I mean water and electrolytes.  Drinking just water can lead to an electrolyte imbalance during performance by peeing and sweating.  We must replenish not just water, but also electrolytes.  The main electrolytes I am talking about are calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium.  Most sports drinks contain a combination of these.  I prefer a more natural source such as coconut water.

Nutrition
A typical runner will be able to store approximately 2-hours (24 KM/15 Miles) of glycogen (Latta, 2003).  If you plan on running longer than that you will need to eat during the run or you run the risk of hitting “The Wall”.  Hitting the wall has been described as,  feeling like:
“…an elephant had jumped out of a tree onto my shoulders and was making me carry it the rest of the way in.”—Dick Beardsley, speaking of hitting “The Wall” at the second marathon of his career, the 1977 City of Lakes Marathon.
In order to avoid this the runner should be consuming 30-60g of carbohydrates (200 calories) every 45-minutes during a run.  This could be a banana (~100-Calories) or energy gels/chomps. The point is to experiment and find what works for you and then refine it.

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In a nutshell
 

Nutrition

Hydration

Pre-Run (1-2 hours prior) Low GI breakfast/snack 500 ml of fluid
During the Run 30-60 g (200 calories) every 45-minutes 500 ml of fluid every hour
Post Run 4:1 ration carb:protein within 30-min of finish Drink, drink, drink
Beardsley, D., & Anderson, M. (2002). Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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The first in a long time…

Image courtesy of Mother Jones
Image courtesy of Mother Jones

This is the first blog post in a very (very, very, very) long time! I’ve struggled with finding making time for writing. It seems that there is always something else I would rather do than write… even laundry or dishes. In fact, for some reason I view writing as a punishment. It’s not fun for me to write. Let me correct that slightly: I find that I’m constantly criticizing myself while I write. I’m quite critical and have the mistaken believe that the first draft of anything should be perfect. The content should be perfect, the structure should be perfect and the grammar should be perfect. Yes, there are a lot of “should’s”! One small resolution I have is to use “should” less often. Being overly critical and using “should” is debilitating to my writing process. I know that the initial draft of anything isn’t perfect, but it’s a battle I have constantly in my mind. Couple my difficulty writing with the goal of finishing my PhD dissertation this year and I realize I’m in the metaphorical position of ‘being between a rock and a hard place.’

If I’m to submit my thesis this year I will need to confront this conundrum and push along with my writing – even if not perfect. That’s the reason for this blog. By telling you all, and myself, that this blog is not perfect and that the writing/content/grammar is not perfect I am giving myself license to write more freely and with the proposition that it WILL NOT BE PERFECT! THERE WILL BE MISTAKES!

I do gladly accept any and all suggestions on how to get beyond this mental struggle of perfection – and how to get away from this damn rock and, it’s companion, the hard place!

Ponderings on ecosystems, collaborations, the future and all the blank spaces in between

Once again it has been a bit of time since I last posted.  I’ve been focusing on work for the past month, but have continued to think about my thesis topic.  It seems that my thesis topic has found it’s way into my everyday consciousness.  I guess this is a good thing.  I’ll take this to be serendipity that my thesis topic is of genuine interest to me.  As I look at the world around me and all the various players, it is becoming clearer to me that we live in macro and micro ecosystems.  The global world is certainly an ecosystem and we are all components of this ecosystem.  As I type this I am sitting in a coffee shop.  The coffee shop also seems to be an ecosystem with various constituents. Interactions, relationships and connections are the common denominators among the different ecosystems.  The constituents may change, but there will always exist the interaction, relationships and connections (albeit in different forms between different constituents).

In the May/June 2011 EDUCAUSE Review, Diana Oblinger quotes Stephen Laster in saying that, “information technology—at its core—is a people business.” (Oblinger, 2011, 4)  While I agree with this statement, I believe it is missing a crucial component:  Technology is only a “people business” in that it facilitates interactions, relationships and connections between people. Quoting Laster again, Oblinger argues that the educational arena is forever being changed “as digital natives change forever the nature of being ‘in class,’ and as technology advances our notions of community, connectedness, collaboration, and learning.” (Oblinger, 2011, 4)

I like to think that taking a holistic perspective and looking at things from an ecological point-of-view is forward thinking and will help to move education and learning forward.  I believe that learning should be transformative – that includes education and educational processes.  In the same issue of EDUCAUSE Review, Jonathon Richter writes about the future of learning technologies:

We need a common and inspiring vision of the future — something to aim for beyond our riches, beyond our power struggles.  We need something that, against all the odds we’re facing, will give us hope and strengthen our resolve to keep working toward a better place.  Future vision is the only thing that has ever built, and held together, good civilizations.  Schools, in their collective mission to prepare people for their future, are collectively yearning for some future focused glue as well.” (Richter, 2011, 58)

Indeed, we need to look at education as transformative and in a holistic and ecological way is essential in moving forward, especially as we become more interconnected:  “Because we live in this fast-paced, INTERCONNECTED, and complex world”  (Richter, 2011, 58)

Oblinger, D.G. (2011) Current Issues, Collaboration, and the Common Good. EDUCAUSE Review, 46(3), pp.4-6. Available at: [Accessed June 13, 2011].
Richter, J. (2011) In Search of Future-Focused Learning Technologies. EDUCAUSE Review, 46(3), pp.58-59. Available at: [Accessed June 13, 2011].

Transformational magazine reading

So, here I am in the Canary Islands for some rest and relaxation.  For several weeks prior to leaving on holidays, I stressed myself trying to put together things I would need for PhD work.  I finally decided that I would bring my laptop (which houses 99% of my PhD material) with me, but that I would not have a pre-set task-list in my mind.  My hope was to give myself a break and let any sun-induced (Vitamin D) inspiration come my way.  True to form, I am usually my biggest obstacle and the thoughts and motivation started flowing once I stopped thinking.  I’m not going to write elaborately here, I am on vacation after all.  I am, however, going to jot down a few thoughts in note form.  Most of these came from my unashamedly guilty-pleasure of reading pop and travel magazines (specifically a travel magazine that had devoted the issue to religion around the world) while on vacation.  While these notes are not an indication of my thoughts or personal convictions on religion and spirituality, they are in some ways related to my thesis topic and the topic of this blog: connections and the spaces between things.

One article talks with Andre, who handles development training and conflict interventions within the regions of Gaza.  Andre talks about spirituality being an emotion that connect people together.  “Spirituality is emotional in essence, but there is a key parameter involved: it’s nearly always related to human contact.  Whether you know that person or not, within a spiritual moment, something happens that transcends you and me both.”  I think it is important to point out that spirituality does not necessarily have to be religious.  How many times have seen a movie, or listened to a song, or heard a speech that particularly made an impression on you.  Did you not feel a sense of shared understanding with the people around you or a new found connection/interest with the topic and/or people?  For me there have been many times that I have been listening to an academic speaker and the speaker has said something that was completely new to me.

I believe Meyer and Land (2003) may refer to this new found (even transformed?) interest or connection as a ‘threshold concept’.  “As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view” (1).  Thus, new connection or threshold may lead to a change of perspective regarding subject, and more importantly, the world and people with whom we interact.  “Such a transformed view or landscape may represent how people ‘think’ in a particular discipline, or how they perceive, apprehend, or experience particular phenomena within that discipline (or more generally)” (1).  Transformative learning thus may lead to a changed perspective and how people may experience a particular phenomena.

So, what about the same type of connections, relationships, and links in our social media learning environments?  Do we forge new connections that take us to a new threshold?  Do they transform our way of thinking?  Do they transform our way of learning?  Do they transform us?  Some directions to these questions will hopefully emerge over the next year (and a bit) as I conduct my thesis research.

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Meyer, J. H. F. & Land, R. (2003) Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. IN Rust, C. (Ed.) Ten Years On, 1-16. Oxford, OCSLD.