If you aren’t familiar with InsideTracker, it is a blood testing company that provides you a detailed breakdown of how your body is doing based off your current nutrition and training intensity/volume. You can read the longer review here on Mud Run Guide. They offer several different plans at several different price points, that when combined with your fitness goals that is inputted into their software provide specific recommendations for improvement. The hardest part is figuring out when to get tested. Here are a couple of options and why you may want to consider each one:
Training Build Up (before racing): One of the benefits of getting the test in the off season is you’ll be able to get a read of how your normal training volume is effecting your body. Testing early in the year allows you to adjust your nutrition and training to help maximize future performance for later. If you wait until the end of the year, it may be too late to adjust your diet/training for this year’s race season.
Post Ultra-OCR: If you are like me, you run Ultra-OCR (races where the winner finishes in 5+). This type of volume takes a large toll on your system and requires time to recover. Taking a test after an Ultra-OCR can help you track your recovery to bring you back into top racing shape. I used InsideTracker for my 48 hour Endure The Gauntlet and shared some of the experience here. If you are planning on multiple Ultra-OCRs a year I would highly recommend doing this between events so you can better track your recovery and peak your performance for the next ultra. If you need more Ultra-OCR tips you’ll also want to pick up Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible (now in digital and hard copy).
Mid-Season: If you don’t race Ultra-OCR but your race schedule is full of awesome events like those in Mud Run Guide’s OCR Bucket List, you are still going to want to be performing at your best. This is a good mid-season snapshot of what is actually going on insider your body. You can try to guess how you feel inside but “blood don’t lie” and InsideTracker gives you hard numbers for how you are feeling.
Pre-OCR World Championships (aka Major Event): The biggest event of the year is no doubt the OCR World Championships (this year’s is in Stratton, Vermont). To ensure you are in top form it would be a great time to get tested leading into the big event for any last minute fine tuning. InsideTracker is very quick with results but I would give yourself enough lead to be able to make any final adjustments. Personally I like to do a minimum of three weeks in advance so I have time to adjust my nutrition and modify my taper by taking more rest if needed.
Overall, there is always a good reason to get tested by InsideTracker. Based off how much you want to spend and how many times a year you want to get tested you’ll have to pick which is most important. For me it’s around recovery from major Ultra-OCRs, for most of my Conquer The Gauntlet Pro teammates it’s leading into events like the OCR World Championships. Regardless I have yet to take a test and then regretted it afterwards. Finding out what is going on inside your body is always valuable, even if it just confirms what you are doing is ensuring you are on the right path.