Over last weekend I finished this book “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll, a life story of a crazy awesome endurance athlete who transformed his life and promotes veganism (not for any ethical beliefs, but because of how it makes his body feel and perform). Rich Roll tells his life story growing up, his family, alcoholism and sobriety journey, his slipping into food to cope later as an adult, his relationship with his amazing hippie wife Julie, his career as a lawyer for the Hollywood industry, and how on the eve of his 40th birthday when he was trying to climb the stairs in his home had to stop halfway barely able to catch his breath, he had a moment of clarity that he had to change it all or die young of heart disease. He tells the story of his journey to health, experiments with food, coaching he received for endurance training, and how he went on to complete the UltraMan triathlon a few times, which is the IronMan triathlon but longer. He tells the story of doing 5 IronMan triathlons in 7 days on 5 different Hawaiian islands with a one-armed fellow endurance athlete.
About his training, he explained Z2 training or building your aerobic engine and duration. The worst thing you can do when training for an endurance event is to train every day balls to the wall. You’ve got to slow down to improve. Wearing a heart rate monitor, his coach told him to never let his heartbeat go above 140 on a run or 130 on a bike. Going this chill he was doing his runs at a 10+ min mile pace initially, but over time he got up to 8 min mile pace with the same heart rate, drastically improving his endurance for marathons, triathlons, and all kinds of crazy events. Some days sprints, some days rest, but most days just that slow Z2 training.
There is an appendix full of nutritional info I’m still processing.
Here’s my favorite excerpt from the book, which pretty much sums it all up: “In my case, I had to become introspective about why I ate the foods I did and take an honest inventory of the motivations behind my unhealthy food choices. I had to be honest about how I used food to cope with, deal with, or escape from reality. And so I implore you to do the same: get in touch with your inner workings and explore your psyche, your motivations, and your pain. Develop an understanding of the emotions that drive your unhealthy cravings so that they can be confronted, processed, and ultimately overcome.”
P.S. the irony of posting this after posting about eggs & cheese is not lost on me 🙂