InsideOut client Becky Paige... Unleashes in UT at Ironman 70.3 St. George
Caroline Kavanagh | Jun 10, 2019
Becky's comment after the race... "I have never felt so good during the run section of a triathlon - EVER!" My comment as I watched her live run splits posting via the Ironman website... "SLOW THE HECK DOWN!" Obviously the opposite of what you would expect to be saying, as you cheer an athlete on, but she was running so fast.... roughly 15 minutes ahead of the second place woman. She just kept going..... and going..... and going..... and going....... FAST!!!!!! Becky never slowed down which is atypical in an endurance event especially of this length! She ran the second fastest overall amateur female run split of the day for the half marathon in a blistering 7:10 min/mile pace. Remarkable! Or more like, sensational to say the least! Oh and... she's 48 years young.... just saying :)
First I'll recap Becky's race then I will explain the role Metabolic Efficiency Training had in optimizing her performance. Becky's early season opener, Ironman 70.3 St. George went like this...... St. George, Utah did not disappoint! Stunning natural surroundings in the Southwest on a challenging hilly course set the stage. The one-loop, 1.2 mile swim, took place in the beautiful blue water of Sand Hollow Reservoir. The water temperature on race morning was 62 degrees with no warm up swim permitted. A bit of a shocker as Becky's first open water swim of the season, but she hit the cold water with gusto and just start racing! Settling in after the first turn buoy she did her best to find some "good feet" to draft. Out of the water in second place and right on the heels of the first place woman she cruised in with a super smooth pace of 1:23/100yds in 29:22 minutes. Fast for sure but actually not one of Becky's better swims :)
A speedy transition out of her wetsuit and into the saddle in 3:38 minutes. Still chilled from the brisk water, and now cold, Paige exited transition and rode out and around the back side of the reservoir into the City of Hurricane, then back towards St. George where she quickly took over the first place position. With rolling hills in the first half of the bike leg her body temperature quickly warmed on the dynamic course. Her focus initially on the bike was nutrition but with her intake needs being minimal her main focus was racing. A valuable asset, as the technical back half of the course headed through St. George and along a flat fast section before she tackled the signature climb up and through Snow Canyon State Park. Becky "felt solid and in control the entire ride as she continued to remind herself to stay steady and not push her limits, as the run course was going to be one of the MOST CHALLENGING she has EVER done!" Needless to say, she still managed to gain a substantial lead, gapping her nearest competitor by at least eight minutes. She completed the 56 mile course in 2:43:24 with a 20.58 mph average. Extremely solid riding! Another quick transition (3:00 min) and off for the final leg... just a half marathon ;)
As she got out onto the run course she felt her legs were "ready to go" as she began to tell herself to "slow down!" Her coach (the legendary Ironman World Champion, Karen Smyers) had suggested she break down the run into four-mile segments and then "go-for-it" to the finish. Becky found her "run groove" right away and her flow never dissipated as she navigated the course and the challenging climb through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and along the bluff line. Again, nutrition needs were minimal and her run paces were only wavering in accordance with the terrain. As per her coaches instructions, at mile eight she hit her "GO NOW' button, and "ran like an axe-murderer was on her tail!" She grabbed some simple sugars with just 2.2 miles to go and in her mind this was her rocket fuel. Absolutely! She took flight and averaged a 6:28 min/mile pace for those last few miles! Becky's run was the second fastest amateur female run split in a time of 1:33:23 which is a 7:10 min/mile pace. She absolutely scorched the course! A perfectly executed race on all levels, both physically and nutritionally.
Becky's overall 1st place victory was a sub five hour time of 4:52:46 and ahead of second place by sixteen minutes! The other perk? This race win qualified Becky for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships this September in Nice, France. Yes competitors, take heed, she will be racing in France this Fall :) I am champing at the bit to see what she will do as these summer months unfold as this was just her season opener. Going forward, I won't be shouting at my computer telling her to "slow down." She's got the lungs, the legs, the wings and the true spirit of a champion!
By The Numbers: Total Distance: 70.3 miles (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)
Total Time: 4:52:46 (elevation gain 3,536ft) Total Calories Consumed: ~690
Huge congrats! What does Metabolic Efficiency Training have to do with Paige's race success? Becky Paige began her Metabolic Efficiency Training journey only a mere five months prior to her 70.3 St. George race. Her goals were to optimize performance, hone her race fueling and maybe tweak her body composition, all in prep for her 2019 race season. We started in late November with an incremental metabolic assessment to get a clear picture of how her current nutrition was influencing her metabolism. More specifically, her carbohydrate and fat oxidation percentages across varying exercise intensities. Prior to testing she also provided a few sample days of her daily nutrition from which would be the framework to make adjustments coupled with her test results.
Five months later....
Becky came back into the InsideOut Lab to do bike to run assessments prior to her first race of the season (70.3 St. George). She would use the data obtained from this second set of tests to not only see how her revised nutrition plan was working but to also provide fueling intake numbers that she would begin to practice in training and then implement come race day. In highlighting Becky's Metabolic Efficiency Training (MET) progression from her first assessment to her most recent test result one can glean some insight into the MET process and nuances. The benefits for Becky translated into the performance gains she was looking for as well as improved body composition and a fueling strategy that worked! Shown below are the first pages of Becky's metabolic assessment reports and are titled "Metabolic Efficiency Point" (MEP). These particular graphs show energy expenditure from fat and carbohydrate at increased intensities. They also indicate whether an athlete does, in fact, have a Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP) and if so, the heart rate and intensity at which it occurred. It is from this unique information that adjustments to nutrition and training are made based on the athletes goals and current phase of training.
The complete assessment reports also include training and race fueling intake ranges, targeted fat-burning as well as nutrition suggestions based on the clients current daily foodstuff. For this article, I am only featuring the first page of each of Becky's run reports. Before any assessment there is a warm up period of about 10-15 minutes in which time the athlete is "hooked-up" to the metabolic cart with headgear and mouthpiece via long tubing. During this warm up, expired breath is measured (respiratory exchange ratio - RER) through the analyzer, and carbohydrate and fat oxidation is viewed as it scrolls upward on the computer screen. This warm up period helps to establish the starting pace of the assessment. ............................................ Becky's Assessments: ............................................
Assessment #1 Client: Becky Paige Date: Nov 27, 2018 Age: 47 years
RESULT: Initial Assessment shows no MEP. Primary focus at this time – daily nutrition in order to stabilize blood sugar.
Becky's first assessment (above) showed no metabolic efficiency point. This is more common than you may think, even for those athletes who are quite lean! What does this mean? Simply put, she was burning a higher percentage of carbohydrate versus fat even at a relatively low heart rate and intensity. This would be her starting point from which she would make improvements.
Five months later...
Becky came back to the Lab for bike to run assessments to establish fueling intakes for her upcoming race season and to get a second glimpse into her substrate oxidation. .............................................
Assessment #2 Client: Becky Paige Date: Apr 2, 2019 Age: 48 years
RESULT: Assessment shows MEP occurred at an estimated heart rate of 151 beats per minute (bpm) and an estimated intensity of 7:31 min/mile pace. Below this heart rate and intensity, he was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.
Colossal improvement. Actually, the most dramatic enhancement I have seen to date! Not only does Becky now have a metabolic efficiency point (#2 graph above) but it is hovering at a heart rate that allows her to reap the full benefits of metabolic flexibility. Her body is no longer relying heavily on her bodies limited carbohydrate stores for aerobic based activity nor will her exogenous carbohydrate needs be so high as to potentially hinder or divert an inordinate amount of blood flow away from the working muscles, to the gut for digestion, during training and more importantly for Becky, racing. This means the opportunity for enhanced performance. After this second set of assessments Becky began practicing in training her race day fueling strategy and her 10-30% intake ranges. The goal being to fine-tune and hone her now simplified approach so come race day there would be no surprises. The other benefits that Becky experienced all fit inline with the goals she stated back in November.... and then some. I inform new clients that daily blood sugar balance is achieved at each meal and/or snack throughout the day and if implemented consistently the body responds in favor. Our bodies are naturally looking to keep us in balance and in applying the nutritional principles of MET this process takes hold and the extra weight (fat) simply falls away. The process works not due to restrictive "dieting" but rather a feeling of satiety coupled with steady energy levels that take hold and this is the impetuous that keeps clients progressing. Nobody WANTS to diet! And who doesn't want to feel good? Becky reported her energy levels and recovery times were strikingly improved and as an added benefit she also lost ten pounds. Remember she mentioned "maybe" lose a little belly fat? Well her body composition underwent an upgrade ;) She looks amazing but more importantly she feels fantastic. In the end it is how we feel that dictates the success of any program or approach. All the credit goes to Becky and her diligence in implementing the basic principles of Metabolic Efficiency Training. It works. It is a lifestyle shift in a way of eating that is easy and sustainable. Just ask Becky! The perks for Becky have already proved themselves and I cannot be more impressed with her application of the MET principles. Her season opener 70.3 race is simply icing on on the cake (no food pun intended ;)
Congrats again to Becky Paige! A++