Streaking Runners

Having a running streak is excellent motivation to get out the door to get your run in. All of us have days where we’d probably like to stay in bed that extra hour, but we know that we need to get our run in. So, having the streak makes it easier. And, all runners know that the hardest step on those days is the first one out the door.

Running every day keeps you healthier. Personally, I have had few colds in my life and rarely anything worse. One year, I came down with a case of the shingles. I still made myself run a mile each day – and was over them in a week. I firmly believe that running got the nasty stuff out of my system a lot quicker.

If you think you may have an inner streaker in you wanting to get out – there are some things that you want to remember. First of all, you need support of your family. My husband knows that I’m going to get my run in each day even if nothing else gets done. And, he’s alright with that – and supports my running in so many ways.

Being a streaker doesn’t mean running flat out, long distances every day. You need to take easy days, also. There are days where you may just run a slow mile or two when you are recovering from a longer run or speed work. These “rest” days are very important.

Also, you need to listen to your body. This is truly the way to keep running through life, if you’re a streaker or not. If your body is telling you to take an extra easy day – make sure that you do it.

Now, I know that everyone is not cut out to be a streaker. But, I know that I enjoy my running each day – and can’t remember a day when I didn’t get the run done. It works for me – keeps me healthy, energetic, positive and full of life.

Bear Pepper Spray

Bears are naturally curious animals, but are not normally aggressive. They get a little bit more aggressive when they’re hungry. Some people say they’re hungry all the time and that may be more true than not. But in the fall before they hibernate and in the spring time when they come out of hibernation they can be particularly hungry and particularly aggressive.

Up in the high country where they live the condition of their natural habitat determines to some extent how hungry they are and how aggressive they are. So for example if it’s particularly dry and much of their natural food is nonexistent they may turn more aggressively towards other sources of food at lower elevations and campgrounds.

If you see a bear and a bear sees you at the same time the best thing you can do is speak softly to the bear, never turn your back and back away slowly. Never run away from a bear.

If a bear sees you and starts advancing towards you try to make yourself appear as large as you can. That may startle the bear and scare him away. If it doesn’t scare him away curl up in a ball and offer no resistance.

Many people think that a handgun is effective against bears. The fact of the matter is in studies done by fish and wildlife experts show that if you are attacked by a bear and use bear pepper spray chances are 90% in your favor that you will win that battle.

I would never recommend going into the back country without an EPA approved bear pepper spray. Always look for the EPA’s seal of approval on a can of bear spray and only use sprays that are designated as bear pepper sprays. That indicates a minimum amount of spray in the canister usually at least 230 grams and a minimal amount of OC (oleoresin capsicum) which is the main ingredient in all pepper sprays. Bear Pepper Spray has a range of 35 feet and is EPA approved.

The other problem that people have is they don’t know how to use it. First of all, always carry it in a hip holster so it is readily available. When the bear is about 40 feet away and is advancing towards you start creating a wall of mist with the spray so when the bear advances into it he will smell it with his extremely sensitive nostrils and be repulsed by it.

Bear pepper spray is the most effective deterrent against bear attacks. Never go into the back country without it, especially when you’re fishing, camping or hiking

Rock Climbing Helmet

Your safety is paramount when out climbing and a helmet will help to protect your head should you suffer a fall. Climbing is a risky activity; loose rocks could fall from above so make sure you are protected.

The outer shell of a helmet is usually made from a thermo-plastic or ABS type material which is durable, strong and yet lightweight. The inner layer is made of foam or has an interior webbing system to offer shock absorption. Most helmets offer excellent ventilation through numerous slats to keep you cool. Some feature clips to enable you to attach a headlamp for night time climbing, or those early Alpine starts.

The difference in inner design indicates how the helmet absorbs an impact. Ones that are supported by a foam band are generally lightweight but less durable, such as the Petzl Elios, and the foam will take the blow. A helmet supported by an interior webbing system has a strong shell and is often heavier; the shell will absorb the blow.

Helmets are available in different sizes, but those used by Outdoor Centres tend to come in an adjustable single size. Many offer various methods allowing you to adjust the size easily to give you a perfect fit. Women specific helmets are smaller and offer a precise fit. Some are also hood friendly for when climbing in colder conditions.

When choosing a climbing helmet it is important to consider the weight as this can make a big difference to you, especially on longer climbs. Lighter helmets are usually more expensive owing to the more sophisticated materials and methods of construction used. Be sure to pick a helmet that is comfortable and durable. Choose wisely as picking one that doesn’t suit you will distract you from what you are there to enjoy.

Helmets should meet international standards so make sure that the one you intend to buy conforms to one of the following: UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization).

When purchasing a helmet, it should fit snugly. Once the chinstrap is fastened there should be very little movement. Try various brands and types to ensure you find the perfect helmet for you – after all it could save your life!

Diet for Climbers

We all want to climb harder. We train and refine our technique at the gym day after day: climbing, hangboards, cross training, anything we can do to get stronger. However, I think many of us overlook one of the most important aspects of training… what we eat! It is something I have only recently started to take seriously in my own pursuits. With many of us living off of fast food and beer, we have been selling ourselves short of our full climbing potential.

With the correct diet you can climb harder, last longer, and have an overall feeling of good health! Climbing is obviously a physically demanding sport and thus requires the correct sustenance to perform optimally.

A diet that provides everything you need for healthy living is the most important aspect of a good diet. Many of us, myself included, starve ourselves of some forms of nutrition while simultaneously trying our best to eat as much of some other substance. This can even be true in our never ending quest for more protein; depending on the source you may be getting some of the amino acids you need while completely avoiding some of the others that are just as important. (More about that later)

Another aspect of a strong climbing diet is the type of food we eat. There is nothing worse than being out at the crag and having your energy reserves depleted. It is important to consume food that is not only going to give you energy, but give it to you long term, and with the best ratio of good stuff to bad stuff. My morning routine before hitting the tanks used to be a sugar free RedBull (you know because the sugar free part made it healthier) and a Cliff bar; while this gave me some great energy early in the day, it left me wanting as the day went on. For long term energy you want to consume complex carbs!

  • Complex carbs: Unlike simple carbs, containing only one or two sugars, complex carbs consist of three or more sugars linked together in a chain. These complex carbs take the body longer to break down due to their complex structure. Because of this, the energy provided by complex carbs lasts longer and tends not to spike your blood sugar–no spike, no crash. Complex carbs also carry more nutritional value than their simple counterparts; rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Complex carbs can be found in a variety of foods, including vegetables, whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereal grains like brown rice.
  • Protein: It’s the end all of the athletic diet. Ask any athlete about their diet and the answer will always be, High Protein! However, there is a good reason for this protein obsession. Proteins are the building blocks of life, and more importantly muscle. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and build new ones. When protein is digested amino acids are left behind. Your body needs these amino acids in order to build proteins necessary to drive the building of cells and functioning of organs.
  • Fats: Obviously climbing is a strength to weight ratio game, but don’t be scared of good fats. Your body needs fatty acids to function properly. These can be found in nuts, olives, avocados, and some fish. Try to avoid saturated fats–these are fatty acids, which at room temperature are usually solid. Imagine that in your bloodstream… These fats can contribute to raised cholesterol. Saturated fats can be found in margarine, oils, fatty meats, and dairy products.
  • Trans fats are a subtype of unsaturated fats that are not found in natural foods but are instead a byproduct of the production of hydrogenated oils. These are the fats that lead to atherosclerosis, which is when plaques of cholesterol adhere to your blood vessels, blocking blood flow. Atherosclerosis then leads to hypertension and heart disease, the number one cause of death in Americans. There is NO “healthy” amount of trans fat.

You may have heard that coconut oil is a superfood. As a small- and medium-chain fatty acid, it is absorbed directly in the small intestine and doesn’t strain the liver. It can be a rapid source of energy, but there’s debate as to how effective it may be. If you’re really in need of a RedBull, try a spoonful of coconut oil instead!

  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): HFCS however, is never a rapid source of energy. Once HFCS is ingested, the body actually uses energy (ATP) to store it–the body does not create energy from HFCS immediately. HFCS is actually stored as triglyceride (a fat); you want as few triglycerides in your body as possible. The only way this could possibly be helpful is if you consumed a large amount of HFCS and were then subsequently stranded on a desert island, accessing the stored energy only as you starved to death.
  • Hydration: An important and many times overlooked aspect to a healthy diet (especially a diet geared towards climbing) is hydration. Hydration is a key component to strength and stamina. When out at the crag is it extremely important to have enough water, especially considering the 30 pack you probably killed last night (we call that Negative Training).

Energy For Long Distance Runs

You need to take in carbs during your runs. The rule of thumb is that you need to take in 100 calories after your first hour on the roads. Then, you need to take in another 100 calories every 30-45 minutes after that. Luckily, there are several products out there that are convenient and can help you accomplish this.

Energy gels popular among many long distance runners. They are absorbed quickly after you take one. And, most of them are generally 100 calories, so it’s easy to know how much to take. All you have to do is to open them and take them in. No chewing – just a gel-like consistency. CarbBoom is my favorite of the gels – I love their Orange-Vanilla flavor. The only downside of gels is that sometimes if the package doesn’t open correctly, you may get a little sticky. But, overall, gels are great for a shot of convenient energy when you need it.

Recently companies have come out with even more convenient energy products. You can get Jelly Belly Sport Beans. Who know eating jelly beans would be a good thing? These are very convenient and not messy at all. They also have electrolytes in them to help replenish what you are losing as you sweat.

Another new product that is out on the is are made by PowerBar. Not too long ago on a long training run, I tried them. At first, the consistency was kind of weird – but then, I realized that they were kind of like a gummy bear. And, then a “blast” of gel from the inside. I tried the Raspberry Flavor – yum.

PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts come in a nice little foil pack that is resealable. So, it makes them great to tuck into a pocket to take more out of on super long runs. I really like them as I sometimes fight with the gel packets trying to get them open. So, these work great.

Whichever one you decide on – it’s important to take in some calories on the run. You need the energy to get through your run and feel strong at the end. And, whatever you decide, try it out before race day. You don’t want to anything on race day that may upset your stomach. Take what you are accustomed to.