Bibrave Product Review: Ekiden Coaching

Disclaimer: I received a trial of Ekiden Coaching as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.

Running Coaches. I’ve never had one in the however many years I’ve been running. When we were offered the chance to try out Ekiden Coaching, I was interested in trying it out. With just coming off of studying for my Internal Medicine Boards where my running was bare minimum and with working every other week, minimum 80 hrs, it seemed like something that would help me get ready for Honolulu in December.

Ekiden was started by Peter Duyan who was at a whole number of active sites before starting Ekiden. He’s joined by Mario Fraioli, the Head Coach, who was at Competitor Magazine prior to Ekiden and has worked with a number of high profile coaches and athletes. The idea? Help athletes reach their goals. Since not everyone can physically meet up with a running coach, they brought it online.

How It Works

  1. When signing up, choose how long of a program you’re looking for depending on what race you’re looking at training for
  2. Fill out their multi question questionnaire. Everything from training, to what you’re looking to improve and what your goals are
  3. Look out for an email about what’s coming next
  4. You’ll get a call from your coach, then your plan is adjusted for you!
  5. Weekly training updates on line and daily texts coming your way!

My Experience

Pre Coach Jenny

The first few weeks were a little rocky, not going to lie. Ekiden is still new, Just started over the summer, so there were some kinks that needed worked out. I filled out all the online info and signed up like I was suppose to and then I didn’t hear anything. There were behind the scenes stuff that in turn, led to some of us not hearing anything. After a little frustration and things being reworked, I finally got assigned to Jenny M.

My first week however, she was out of town on vacay. I can’t fault anyone for taking vacations, so Mario ended uploading a schedule for me. In a sense, it was nice just because it gave me something to go off of and to figure out if it was something that I liked and wanted to continue. What I learned (more of confirmed what I already knew), is I like something mile based and not timed based. No two people are the same and some people love the time thing. I’m not one of them.

Post Coach Jenny Conversation

After I was finally able to connect with Jenny, things were finally going in the right direction. With my job, I work at least a week straight and (mostly) get a week off. In the weeks I work, long runs don’t happen. If you’re at a hospital 14 hours a day, getting up 3 hrs before you work for a long run isn’t going to happen. What we were able to work out is more of a macro plan for me, with the goal being for me to adjust around work as needed. If it means long runs get pushed to during my off week, that’s what ended up happening and I would send a message to Jenny. How you might ask? Either through the online message function or the text messaging capabilities of Ekiden. The other bonus is that she adjusted things based off prescheduled races (read Surf City 10 Miler a few weekends ago). Right now I’m in the mist of training for the Honolulu Marathon so I think we’re going in the right direction.

Thoughts

I’m still on the fence about running coaching in general (and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with Ekiden). I’m trying to figure out if it’s right for me, but I think seeing things through to Honolulu will definitely help things. I think Ekiden is definitely going in the right direction and spot on for a lot of people. The communication part of things when it comes to getting coaches assigned needs a bit of tweeking just so people aren’t left in the dark (some of us had 2 weeks of coaching before others even had a coach). Love the idea and can’t wait to see how this grows!

Want to try Ekiden: get a free month when you sign up for 3 months with Bibrave 16

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Race Review: Surf City 10 Miler

It’s been 3.5 years since I’ve been to the land of Surf City and in my training quest for the Honolulu Marathon and the need for a weekend get away, I headed off to Huntington Beach for the Surf City 10 Miler. It’s put on by the same people who run the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon in February (which I’ll also be at!).

I left Friday Morning after a whole 4-5 hours of sleep. The joys of working until 1 am and not falling asleep until 2! Being 15 minutes from the airport is a godsend. I flew into Long Beach Airport (by way of Oakland) and drove about 30 minutes to my hotel and was thankful to miss LAX. After checking in, I headed out for a run to stretch the legs and enjoy the 70* weather, this a stark contrast from gusty winds and 40-50* weather in Spokane

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Weekend in Cali

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After a shower, I was off to dinner at wine bar down the road and then some time exploring. I may or may not have found a road runner sports and 2 pairs of running shoes…

Saturday, I went to the Expo and picked up my bib and shirt. Surf City is the only race I’ve done where you can get away with having a race expo outside without issues.

A good amount of vendors there, including a running shop where I got a pair of shorts, a pair of spandex and a pair of capris for $70 total (less than the total of the capris!). After finding lunch, I relaxed at the hotel before heading off to church to some some prayers an OSU win and good running weather. What’s better is they also had race day pick up!

Sunday was race day and I was up bright and early. After getting ready, I drove from the hotel to the race start (so much for Uber or Lyft being up and ready at 630 AM). I was to the start by 650 and we were off running at 7 AM. There was the option for the 10 Mile, 10K or 5K. The course itself is out and back with parts that are similar to the Surf City Marathon/Half Marathon. Even though it was cloudy, it was still humid out. Fairly flat with the beach and ocean as your scenery. I thought the water stops were every mile, but they were spread out further than expected (at least for me). shortly after 5 miles, we hit the turn around and were coming back. About 7 miles in, we joined up with the 10K runners and with 1.5 miles, we were picking up the 5K runners. I don’t mind starting first, but part of what I had issue with is the weaving in and out of walkers for the 5K/10K. 10.25 miles later, another run was in the books

The post race bling was awesome, as to be expected for anything Surf City. Post race, food, chocolate milk and water was available. The expo was still up and running.  I walked through briefly prior to heading back to the hotel for a shower and then to find lunch.

I flew to Spokane Sunday night and had fun getting through Long Beach Airport Security. The race medal led to my bag being checked. It got wiped down and set off the alarm that TSA uses to test for whatever they test for, which led to everything getting searched and me getting a full body pat down. Lesson learned, take the medal out of the luggage, just to be safe.

Marathon training continues and Surf City played into weather conditions for Honolulu in more ways than one!

 

Bibrave Product Review: Generation UCAN Bars

Disclaimer: I received a sample box of UCAN Snack bars from  Generation UCAN as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.

Nutrition and fuel is always something we as runners fight with. We’re always looking for something specific and everyone’s different with flavors, palates, textures, you name it. No one likes buying a whole lot of one thing because of the fear of what’ll happen if you don’t like/tolerate/can’t stand what you bought.

I was given the chance to try Generation UCAN’s snack bars and ended up with Chocolate, Cinnamon and Peach

High profile runners (think MEB) have been using Generation UCAN for sometime and people have been fan of these for a number of reasons.

The snack bars are meant to curve cravings, slowly release sugar into the body instead of quick bursts and help maintain energy. Me personally, I’ve been across the board with what to use while running. I’ve done Paydays, gels, Stingers, you name it, so UCAN snack bars seemed appealing. Part of how UCAN Snack Bars work is they have a super starch that is meant to help with sustained energy and sugar levels throughout the work out. Instead of eating 200-250 calories of your favorite candy (Paydays or Reece’s, this is what you get out of the UCAN Bar (all stats are per bar)

 Calories: 170-190

 SuperStarch: 10-15 grams

Sugar: 5-6 grams

Fiber:  4-5 grams

 Protein 5-6 g

When some of the other nutritional bars are up on sugar and not a lot of fiber and with no super starch, this looks pretty good!

So far, I’ve eaten myself out of the chocolate and cinnamon bars. Wrappers are appealing to the eye, the bars are fairly simple. Other flavors include peanut butter chocolate, coffee and peach

So far, I’m a fan of the chocolate. It runs sweet, but I tend to enjoy sweet things more. I tried this for my last half marathon 2 weeks ago. I ate about half the UCAN snack bar before hand and saved the rest for afterwards. I felt like half a bar lasted about 6 miles for me, but then again, I could have eaten it too close to the start. I didn’t think to bring any on the run with me. I didn’t have texture issues with the chocolate one while eating it. It can be a bit heavy on the flavor side though to some. When I went back to eat the rest of the bar post race, it was partially melted, so these bars don’t necessarily handle heat well.

I’ve also thrown these in my pocket while at work, since I’m not always guaranteed lunch at work (shocker). During one twelve hour shift, I tried one of the cinnamon bars. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the cinnamon. Part of it had to do with what I thought was too much cinnamon in it. When I first tried it, the first thing I thought was it would be perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays. I couldn’t eat the entire thing in one sitting because there was too much cinnamon in it. I also thought the cinnamon bar had a texture that was slightly off.

Overall, here’s my thoughts on UCAN. Food reviews in general are difficult because everyone is different with how they review them and what their criteria are for liking or not liking.

  • super starches work!
  • UCAN has good flavors, I just think things need to be tweaked a bit to get the right amount of flavor/taste in each bar
  • Personally, I use before or after a run, not during (don’t think they travel well during runs)
  • Low sugar, good amount of protein and fiber

We’ll be chatting it up between pros, bib rave and UCAN on October 11, 2016 at 9 pm EST/6 pm CST, so please join us! In the mean time, go shopping and enjoy 15% off with BIBRAVE

Follow Generation UCAN:

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