If you aren’t familiar with InsideTracker, a company that tests your blood for various biomarkers to improve health and performance, check out my review of them here. Normally, when you do a major ultra-event, it will take you out of the competitive environment for a month, then a month to build back up to racing level (something I recommend in my book Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible). However, thanks to InsideTracker, I was able to bounce back sooner and here is how you can use their knowledge to recover quicker for your own racing.
The major takeaways from my pre-Endure The Gauntlet results showed that my testosterone was below optimal and my cortisol was high. This told me I was in a state, or nearing a state, of overtraining. Instead of doubling down on mileage leading up to my 48 hour OCR, I went more aggressive with my taper (i.e. did less training), to show up on event day well rested. Reading through some of the articles provided by InsideTracker and taking note of some of the dietary recommendations (I still ate similarly, but increased the frequency of food they recommended).
The first thing I noticed and loved, was they plotted both points on the results screens. This allowed me to clearly see if I was improving or degrading. After 48 hours of OCR in some incredibly hot conditions, I figured my body would be a complete disaster. The blood test was four days after the event and since that time I had done absolutely nothing physical. Instead of trying to hop back into training or do some easy exercise to flush the blood, I literally did nothing but go to work and spend time with my family.
End of Season:
Seeing the results of my blood work after the event helped in two major ways. First, it provided me a way ahead. Despite decimating my body, here is what I should be doing to continue to make progress in the next two and a half months before my biggest event of the year World’s Toughest Mudder. Second, it cleared a major mental roadblock. After endurance events, my brain is telling my body that it should be tired. After seeing some of my biomarkers return to normal so soon after the event, I knew I should be able to perform in the near future. While the results didn’t show I was fully recovered (reference inflammation markers), my testosterone was better and most of my other values (the other 30+ I didn’t take screenshots of), still showed me in an optimal zone.
I'm sure you are wondering if this knowledge helped me perform after such a major event and the answer is absolute. My post Endure the Gauntlet races were a huge success including the biggest win of my career, 1st place Team at World's Toughest Mudder 2018: Team Atomik (with teammate and fellow MRG writer Wesley “Dr. Redtights” Kerr). If that doesn't show you that InsideTracker can help you better understand your body and bring you results, then I don't know what will.
How You Can Use This?
If you haven’t read my initial review of InsideTracker, please do. The statements I made in that article still hold true. I stand by the belief that InsideTracker is for everyone, from the elite athlete looking to perfect their fitness, all the way down to the guy or girl getting off the course for their first event.
If you fall in the middle of those two categories and are similar to many readers of Mud Run Guide that like to do multiple major events in a year, then you’ll find enhanced success with InsideTracker. Before, after or between major events, it can help you adjust your training, increase taper or increase workload so you are performing at your best on event day. With race fees that can be $200 for a 5k OCR all the way up to $800 for a 24 hr OCR, rather than leaving it to chance InsideTracker will give you the results that say you are ready to race again or should maybe hold off on that event until next year.
If you have a personal trainer than great, he will love the additional data to fine-tune your programming. There is also a great option that allows you to digitally send your results to trusted friends, doctors or personal trainers so they can help guide you on your path to success. If you don’t have a personal trainer then don’t worry, InsideTracker makes it easy to understand.
Overall, I found success with InsideTracker this year. I recommend you try out their services too. For those looking for presents for upcoming holidays or birthdays for the OCR athlete that has everything, give them the gift of knowledge this year. I think you’ll find that knowledge is power and power brings results.
Picture of my arm was taken by me