Mile Hive Challenge: Prepare, Perform and Recover with Honey Stinger

In part one of our three part series, Rick Prince, Founder of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy, runs us through three of the 6 main variables to train for longer endurance events. Whether it's your first marathon or 40th 100k, these tips and tricks are tried and true to set you up for success. 

Still want to sign up for the Mile Hive Challenge on July 23-25? Learn more here.

Honey Stinger's Mile Hive Virtual Event 2021

Preparing for any athletic endeavor requires quite a bit of preparation to perform at or near one’s potential. However, when preparing for an event such as the Mile Hive Challenge where the goal is to push past your prior best athletic accomplishments, the need to prepare properly and intelligently is of paramount importance.

When discussing being athletically prepared, there are six main variables:

1. Endurance

If your goal is to go farther than you have before, you need to be sure that you’ve put in the training to go the distance. Whether you’ve done a 5K before and your goal is a 10K, or if you’ve done a 100K ultrarunning race and are now targeting a 100-mile ultrarunning race, you need to be prepared.

One common theme when training for a long-distance event is the long (insert: ride, run, swim, etc…). This is especially the case with marathons. It is commonplace for marathon training programs to have one day a week allocated to a long run and moreover, that in order to be successful on race day, a runner must be able to run a set number of miles in one shot (usually, 20-22 miles). The error in this perspective is that a singular run is much less important than the total amount of time spent running during a program. Therefore, the goal should be to focus less on a singular long endurance day and more on increasing the overall volume of a training program.

 2. Intensity

For events that are relatively short (ex: 5K running race), integrating intensity into a program is a given. However, for longer events, athletes often forgo or greatly reduce the level and frequency of intensity-based workouts in favor of those focused on endurance. This is a critical mistake.

While it’s true that the overall intensity is typically lower the longer an event is as compared to a shorter event, training intensity is still important. Here’s why…

A high level of fitness makes everything better - better able to clear lactate from muscles (what produces the muscle ‘burn’ sensation), better able to tolerate environmental factors such as altitude and heat and of course, able to perform at a higher intensity.

3. Nutrition

It goes without saying that optimal nutrition is important not just for athletic performance but for overall health. However, in respect to training for an endurance sport event, there are several things to consider from a nutrition standpoint

  • Nothing new on race day: It is fairly common and a critical mistake for athletes to try new foods or drinks on race day. Anything that is ingested on race day… as well as the days leading up to a race must have been tried in training to ensure that it does not cause GI-related issues. Moreover, an athlete should be confident that the fuel that they are putting in their body is enhancing their performance.
  • Consume enough carbohydrates: While there is a lot of talk about low carbohydrate diets – especially from the perspective of being able to burn fat more efficiently, there is a trade-off with performance. In order to fuel an endurance athlete for any distance, carbohydrates are a necessity. For example, Honey Stinger Performance Chews are an easy to eat and portable energy source that contains 37 grams per serving. So, whether you’re fueling with a few Honey Stinger Waffles (21g – carbohydrates) as a pre-race snack to top off your glycogen stores, or you’re eating Performance Chews mid-race to keep your energy at an optimized level, carbohydrates are your friend!
  • Trial nutritional strategies during training: This goes hand-in-hand with the ‘nothing new on race day’ theme. It is just as important to learn what you can and should eat on race day, as it is to learn what you shouldn’t eat. Sometimes, this is only learned the hard way in training. Keep in mind that just because a fuel doesn’t upset your stomach, doesn’t make it the right fuel. For example, fuel should taste good and thus be psychologically pleasing. Also, for long races such as ultramarathons, it is easy to suffer from food fatigue. In these cases, having several fuel sources that you can switch to that you know won’t upset your stomach and are pleasing to eat is important.
  • Have a race day nutrition/hydration strategy: Knowing what you’re going to fuel with the days leading up to a race, during the race and post-race are important for success. You don’t want to leave anything left to chance when it comes to nutrition. Maybe it is setting your watch to go off at set intervals reminding you to hydrate/fuel… or maybe it’s figuring out what hydration products will be offered at ‘water’ stations to determine if you want to rely on that or bring your own. Regardless, to maximize the chance for success (and enjoyment!) on race day, the more detailed and trialed a fueling plan is, the better your chance of success will be.